‘I think you need to mute’, PM tells Angela Merkel at G7 virtual meeting

Emma Bowden and Harriet Line

Boris Johnson had to ask German leader Angela Merkel to put herself on mute after she inadvertently interrupted his remarks to a virtual meeting of G7 leaders.

As with many video conferences throughout lockdown, the Prime Minister’s address from 10 Downing Street did not get off to a smooth start.

While French president Emmanuel Macron was around 15 seconds late, the German chancellor appeared to forget to put herself on mute and could be heard in the background of the Prime Minister’s opening remarks.

G7 virtual meeting
The Prime Minister joined the virtual meeting from Downing Street (Geoff Pugh/Daily Telegraph/PA)

“Can you hear us, Angela?,” Mr Johnson asked, before adding: “I think you need to mute.”

Mr Johnson kicked off the meeting by waving at those on screen, saying it was “great to see all of you” before beginning the discussion.

Later in his remarks, Mr Johnson urged the G7 leaders to work together on “building back better” from the pandemic – using this to make a quip about US president Joe Biden.

He said it was a slogan that Mr Biden has used, adding: “I think he may have nicked it from us but I certainly nicked it from somewhere else – probably some UN disaster relief programme.”

Mr Biden could be seen laughing on the video call on the screen inside the Cabinet Room.

The Prime Minister also expressed his hope during the meeting that the G7 leaders would be able to meet “face to face” for the summit in Cornwall in June.

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