Britain’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson heckled in Commons by his own phone

Britain’s House of Commons can be a raucous place, but when Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson was heckled on Tuesday, it was not the Opposition benches responsible — it was his mobile phone.

He was addressing a quiet House on matters relating to Islamic State operations in Syria when a voice from his suit jacket’s inside pocket offered some extra helpful information.

Mr Williamson stopped speaking instantly, allowing his microphone to pick up his voice assistant saying “I found something on the web for ‘in Syria, Syrian Democratic Forces’ …”

As he remembered where he had put his phone, the Speaker interjected with “What a very rum business that is,” to a background of general laughter.

“I do apologise for that. It is very rare that you are heckled by your own mobile phone,” Mr Williamson said.

“On this occasion, it is a new parliamentary convention without a doubt.
“So if I may proceed, Mr Speaker, without the help and support of Siri …”

When the BBC tweeted the parliamentary video of the incident, one reply asked “Does that mean Siri has to go in Hansard?”.

The BBC deferred the question to ParlyApp, a Westminster-focused account run by journalist Tony Grew.

“It will likely be recorded as ‘interruption’,” ParlyApp replied.

“[An] MP can grab the Mace and throw it down on a bench and all Hansard will say is ‘interruption’.”

Other responses raised a more serious concern — the security implications of the Secretary of State for Defence having an actively listening microphone in his pocket.

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