Jonathan Ashworth holds on to his umbrella and grabs a light during an interview on Sky (Picture: Sky News)
Labour’s Jon Ashworth has won plaudits for powering through an interview in the middle of a howling gale.
Appearing on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme to talk about vaccines, the shadow health secretary lost his umbrella and was nearly hit by a light but carried on regardless.
Speaking from the street in his Leicester constituency, Mr Ashworth was plagued with problems from the outset.
The cameras cut to him sheltering under a Sky News branded umbrella as the torrential rain which has hit large parts of Britain this morning lashed down.
He gamely tried to answer the presenter’s questions but had to break away mid sentence as a strong gust of wind blew his umbrella inside out.
Ms Ridge is heard exclaiming ‘oh no’ before Mr Ashworth demonstrates his lightning fast reactions by grabbing a light which came toppling towards him.
He said: ‘The equipment is falling over, the umbrella is gone. This is going to be one of those clips that will go viral no doubt.’
Despite being offered the chance to take a quick break, Mr Ashworth instantly regains his composure and carries on with his answer about why he feels vaccines shouldn’t be made mandatory.
TV interviews have increasingly had to take place in odd settings during the pandemic with broadcasters limiting the number of people coming into the studio.
Twitter users relished the moment of light relief in a programme otherwise filled with talk of the coronavirus crisis and in-fighting in Number 10, Downing Street.
Alex Andreou said it was a ‘perfect metaphor for politics in the UK this week’ while the Daily Mail’s deputy political editor John Stevens said it was the ‘highlight of the show’.
Colleague Angela Raynor, Labour’s deputy leader, tweeted: ‘Collapsing lighting equipment, brolly blown inside out, despite the wind and rain nothing stops my colleague @JonAshworth from casually continuing his interview after this setback.
‘Good job he didn’t have a hat on, that would have been blown down the road too!’
Jonathan Ashworth did well to hold on to his umbrella as a gust of wind interrupted his live interview (Picture: Sky News)
He then demonstrated his lightning fast reactions by grabbing a light before it hit him on the head (Picture: Sky News)
Other colleagues and journalists praised the ‘smooth handling’ of the situation by Mr Ashworth with many commenting on his ‘safe pair of hands’.
The politician was appearing on the show after Labour called for social media accounts promising anti-vaccination content to be censored.
Labour has pressed the Government to introduce legislation, the Online Harms Bill, that would include financial and criminal penalties for social media platforms that allow misinformation to spread.
He was speaking after drugs company Pfizer announced its vaccine candidate for coronavirus is 90% effective but the World Health Organisation warned of a ‘vaccine hesitancy’.
Mr Ashworth said: ‘The Government need to do three things… have strong public health messaging – people will have legitimate questions about the vaccine and strong public health messaging should… allow people to get their queries answered.
‘Secondly, mobilise our NHS and our public health infrastructure and resource them properly so we can get the vaccine out quickly.
‘But thirdly, deal with some of the dangerous nonsensical anti-vax stuff that we’ve seen spreading on social media which erodes trust in the vaccine.’
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