Therese Coffey's Famous 8am Alarm Goes Off During Yet Another Interview

“I think that alarm was saying, ‘I’ve had enough of that,'" host Nick Robinson joked.
Therese Coffey on BBC Radio 4's Today programme
Therese Coffey on BBC Radio 4's Today programme

Therese Coffey’s phone went off yet again during a morning interview on the Today programme on Tuesday.

The deputy prime minister and health secretary was trying a serious point about government policy, when she was interrupted by her own alarm live on air (for the second time in five weeks).

Speaking to Radio 4′s flagship Today programme, Coffey was defending the indecision around whether to increase benefits in line with inflation or not.

She began: “Our principles are well set out, we’ve already spent money to support people with the cost of living particularly focused on the lowest-income in society.

“I appreciate at times the machinery in government can be boring, but no definite statement can be made about changes to benefit rates otherwise we’d up getting into all sorts of legal cases as well.”

It was around this point, a couple of minutes before 8am, that she was interrupted by a peaceful, twinkling noise – although the cabinet minister carried on regardless.

“There is an element here about what we are trying to do to support people in this regard...”

Her interviewer then stepped in to point out the obvious.

“Therese Coffey, your phone is going off. At least, I think it’s your phone,” Justin Webb pointed out, laughing.

“It’s not Dr Dre this time,” Coffey replied (while the alarm continued).

The health secretary’s alarm raised eyebrows back in early September, when it went off at a similar time – around 8am – during an LBC interview. Except, back then, a song by Dr Dre blared out in the studio – a detail which really pleased the internet at the time.

But on Tuesday, Webb just laughed and replied: “You have a different ring for every interview! Therese Coffey, thank you very much.”

“OK, thank you, goodbye,” she replied. It was only once the interview had concluded that Coffey’s alarm stop being transmitted across national radio.

“I think that alarm was saying, ‘I’ve had enough of that,’” Today co-host Nick Robinson added.

He wasn’t the only one to suggest this, judging from social media, although it is customary for all interviews to conclude just before the 8am news bulletin anyway.


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