Boris Johnson's 'Cut' Gesture Was 'Joke In Response To Nick Ferrari's Hand Motioning', Presenter Says

The gesture seized on by people on social media was in fact Johnson mimicking host Nick Ferrari, LBC presenter says – not an indicator to stop.

In today’s world of multi-platform multimedia, it’s crucial for politicians to remember where they are and how they’re being viewed.

And social media briefly went wild when Boris Johnson appeared to have forgotten this golden rule on Friday, making a “cut” gesture during awkward questioning in a radio interview with LBC – that was also being streamed live on video.

But all was not as it appeared. The presenter interviewing him, Nick Ferrari, subsequently said the gesture was “sign language between me and my producer to signify he needs to stay quiet in my ear”.

The prime minister was answering callers’ questions when he was confronted by host Nick Ferrari over his government’s plans for social care.

Earlier this week Johnson pledged to an extra £1bn so that people wouldn’t have to sell their homes in order to pay for the care they need as they get older.

Ferrari: “But you said a couple of weeks ago that people should never be in a position in which they have to sell their homes to fund social care.”

Johnson: “That’s right.”

Ferrari: “Well, what have you done about that? How much would it cost so that no one would have to sell their home?”

Johnson: “We need...”

Ferrari: “You don’t know, do you? The PM has been asked how much this will cost and, quite frankly, you don’t have a clue.”

Johnson: “The exact details haven’t been thrashed out yet.”

Ferrari: “But how can you promise it if you don’t know if we can afford it?”

Johnson: “I’m certain we will be able to afford it. We will bring forward an affordable plan in the lifetime of the next government so that nobody has to sell their home to pay for the cost of their care.

“But the precondition is we take the political toxin out of this and we work together as politicians to get a plan.”

At this point Johnson made an aggressive slashing gesture at his throat. The footage released only showed Johnson, leading viewers to conclude the prime minister was attempting to get Ferrari to stop questioning him on the topic.

The prime minister’s pledge of an extra £1bn a year for social care is said to fall short of what is required, PA Media reports.

Sally Warren, director of policy at the King’s Fund, said the Conservatives’ funding pledge for social care – which was already announced before the manifesto unveiling earlier this week – is “a couple of billion pounds short a year” of what the sector needs.

Pressed on what happened to the plan the prime minister said was “already prepared” to fix the social care crisis, culture secretary Nicky Morgan told the Today Programme: “Well, I think there has been work going on but it’s not in a stage yet in order to be launched.” She added: “The second part of our campaign is about unleashing Britain’s potential.”

CLARIFICATION: This article was updated to reflect Nick Ferrari’s version of what happened.


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