Purr-gate: Blunder-struck Cameron’s top gaffes

Being in charge of the country is a tough and serious job. But our elected officials often seem to go out of the way to make things harder for themselves, and with hilarious results.

Through the sleights of hand dealt by fate and folly, politicians’ carefully planned policies or announcements can be derailed in minutes, careers can be dashed, and the public discourse can take unforeseen turns.

The latest blunder from the man at the top, David Cameron, was his skin-crawling account, and almost certain lie, recorded by Sky, of how the Queen “purred down the line”, after he informed her of the result of the Scottish Independence referendum.

The sordid comment was made in private, or at least somewhere where he thought he wouldn’t be heard, but it reveals a mixture of ingrained sexism, puerility and anecdotal hyperbole that politicians usually do their utmost to conceal.  

Did the Queen really purr down the line? Of course not.

“Your majesty, I’m pleased to tell you that following the referendum, the Union is still intact.”

“Prrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Prrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Prrrrrrrrrrrrr.”

“Hello? Elizabeth?”


So as Cameron prepares to put on his most remorseful face and stare down at his shoes to mumble an apology to the Head of State, we take a magical tour of some of his other ridiculous cock-ups.

Obama phone call

Cameron Phonecall

Part of the job as head of government is to talk to other world leaders. In no part of this is it necessary to have someone take a photograph of you looking earnest and concerned, and then broadcast it across Twitter. Cameron managed to spark his own online meme after his ill-judged photo of a phone call to Barack Obama hit the airwaves in March.

Cameron phonecall 2

Mandela v Little Ant and Dec

Cameron little ant and dec

During an address to parliament following the death of Nelson Mandela, David Cameron (or whichever skivvy has the unenviable role of manning the PM’s Twitter account), decided it was the right moment to tweet a picture of Cameron beside a reindeer and two children called Little Ant, and Little Dec. Unsurprisingly, people were quite offended.

Team Nigella

In April this year, Nigella Lawson was in court as part of a trial of two of her former PAs, who were accused of fraud. During the trial, Lawson admitted to taking various illegal drugs, including cocaine and marijuana. For some reason, David Cameron took the unprecedented decision to throw in his penny worth to the debate, by writing an entire column about it in the Spectator. Cameron said he was on “team Nigella”, and described the TV chef, and key prosecution witness, as a “very funny and warm person” adding that he was “a massive fan”.

The partisan comments stunned lawyers, and there were calls for the trial to be halted due to the “abuse of process”. Indeed, the trial very nearly collapsed.

Why was Cameron on the TV chef’s team? Perhaps because her father Nigel Lawson is no lesser figure than the former Chancellor of the Exchequer for the Tories in the 1980s.


Technology is so frequently the downfall of our leaders it’s a wonder they bother at all. During the Leveson inquiry it was revealed that Cameron was in very regular contact with Sun editor Rebekah Brooks, and would sign off text messages with the well-known acronym LOL. Of course, it is a well-known acronym for “laugh out loud”, not, as Cameron mistakenly held, that it stood for “lots of love”. There’s nothing like putting a “LOL” at the end of a serious message is there? Lol.

PM too sexy for his shirt

David Cameron Button Undone

Put it away Dave. At the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at the City of London in 2012, Cameron had an innocent “wardrobe malfunction”. Perhaps. Or maybe he was just giddy with power and thought: “Buttons? Screw it. I’m the prime minister.”

The strangest part though is his clean bare chest and stomach. Cameron has the midriff of a pre-pubescent. Could this be the biggest scandal of them all?

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Readers' comments (6)

  • "The sordid comment was made in private, or at least somewhere where he thought he wouldn’t be heard, but it reveals a mixture of ingrained sexism, puerility and anecdotal hyperbole that politicians usually do their utmost to conceal."

    Harry; if you want to write a funny piece aimed at thinking people you should start by moving on from a level of criticism that wouldn't pass a GCSE in politics.

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  • Hi Daniel Steel, thanks for your comment. Not sure exactly what you mean here though.

    Cameron's comment was pretty weird, and it certainly says something about him and the way he thinks.

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  • Harry
    That particular comment of yours was ludicrous. I saw the clip on TV. Cameron was certainly careless but in what way was what he said sordid, puerile or sexist? I also doubt his comment was a lie or hyperbole. It is hard to imagine the Queen being a separatist but I accept that I could be wrong.
    There are other problems with your piece too. You clearly don't like the guy but even so is it necessary to descend to playground insults? In what way does "the midriff of a pre-pubescent" rank as humour? Actually, assuming all men are covered in thick body hair seems a bit sexist to me.

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  • Hi Daniel,

    Thanks for replying. If you think the comment was not a lie or an exaggeration, then you believe the Queen actually, literally "purred down the line". Which is far more ridiculous than what I say.

    As for the other part - yes, I'm being a bit throw-away - but I am pointing out a true fact.

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  • Harry

    The use of purr was a metaphor, not a lie. I have heard it used before but searching online it would seem it is not quite as widely used as I had imagined. However I haven't made up that useage:

    A bare midriff may be true but what on earth is it's relevance to a semi-serious piece on politics? Your magazine doesn't strike me as wanting o emulate Viz?

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  • Anonymous

    David Cameron is human and makes mistakes just like the rest of us. Unfortunately for him he is always under intense scrutiny in whatever he does or says in private or not.

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