‘I think you need to mute’, Boris Johnson tells Angela Merkel at G7 virtual meeting

Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the Cabinet Room, Downing Street, London, hosting the G7 leaders for

Prime minister Boris Johnson in the Cabinet Room, Downing Street, London, hosting the G7 leaders for a virtual meeting to discuss worldwide distribution of coronavirus vaccines and preventing future pandemics - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson had to ask German leader Angela Merkel to put herself on mute after she inadvertently interrupted his remarks to a virtual meeting of G7 leaders.

As with many video conferences throughout lockdown, the prime minister’s address from 10 Downing Street did not get off to a smooth start.



While French president Emmanuel Macron was around 15 seconds late, the German chancellor appeared to forget to put herself on mute and could be heard in the background of the prime minister’s opening remarks.

“Can you hear us, Angela?,” Johnson asked, before adding: “I think you need to mute.”

Johnson kicked off the meeting by waving at those on screen, saying it was “great to see all of you” before beginning the discussion.


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Later in his remarks, Johnson urged the G7 leaders to work together on “building back better” from the pandemic – using this to make a quip about US president Joe Biden.

He said it was a slogan that Biden has used, adding: “I think he may have nicked it from us but I certainly nicked it from somewhere else – probably some UN disaster relief programme.”

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Biden could be seen laughing on the video call on the screen inside the Cabinet Room.

The prime minister also expressed his hope during the meeting that the G7 leaders would be able to meet “face to face” for the summit in Cornwall in June.

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