Boris Johnson left red-faced in 'shambolic' TV blunder about NHS hospital investment

Boris Johnson left red-faced in 'shambolic' TV blunder about NHS hospital investment

Boris Johnson appeared on BBC's Look North yesterday, ahead of the Tory party conference this weekend.

During his appearance, he spoke about a "massive investment" into Leeds General Infirmary, a teaching hospital in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

It's part of a large hospital funding initiative, according to the PM.

But when he was asked the simple question of how much money it actually cost, things went a bit haywire.

Following Johnson's bragging about the investment in Leeds, interviewer Phil Bodmer asked: "How how much are you spending in Leeds?"

Boris Johnson appears to completely ignore the question, instead saying: "...And there will be a stream of funding over the, as I say, over the next four or five years."

Bodmer then tries again, asking: "But how much will Leeds get, can you tell me?"

At this point, Johnson bends down and appears to take a sheet of paper from the ground to check his facts, but even then fails to answer the question, saying:

Leeds, I can tell you, Leeds, er, General Hospital, Leeds, sorry, Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, is getting a... centralising and the children and adult services at the Leeds General Infirmary pathology services at St James's and University Hospital Trust.... and University Hospital Trust. It will be a big, big investment in Leeds hospitals.

Right then.

Unimpressed, Bodmer replies: "But you can't say how much," and appears ready to move onto his next question.

Johnson however, decides to plough on in a bizarre display of awkward desperation, perhaps forgetting he's actually on TV.

Abandoning his cheat sheet altogether, he goes on:

No, I can't give you the... give me the number somebody! Give me... who's got the number for Leeds? Give me the number for Leeds!

I'm so sorry, I don't, I don't, I would, I would if... someone will supply you the number. Before you leave this room someone will supply you the number for Leeds! 

At this point the interview moves on to talking about lockdown restrictions, but people have been quick to pick up on the bizarre blunder and mercilessly mock the PM for his reaction.

Maybe next time it might be worth either learning the numbers, or planning a graceful way out of a question you don't know the answer to. Just a thought.

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