September 23, 2021

Boris Johnson aide rebuked after handing PM coffee in a disposable cup


‘This has Glenn and Terri written all over it!’: The Thick of It fans go wild as Boris Johnson’s aide hands PM plastic coffee cup only for colleague to snatch it away like a scene from BBC comedy

  • Boris Johnson was handed cup of coffee by aide this morning after TV interviews
  • But drink was in a disposable cup so another aide snatched it away from the PM 
  • The Thick of It compared the advisers to show’s bungling duo Terri and Glenn

By Jack Maidment, Deputy Political Editor and Rory Tingle For Mailonline

Published: 08:12 EDT, 1 October 2019 | Updated: 15:39 EDT, 1 October 2019

The Thick of It fans went wild today as Boris Johnson’s aide was filmed handing the Prime Minister a coffee cup only for a colleague to snatch it away like a scene from the classic BBC comedy. 

The awkward exchange at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester sparked off a stream of amusing tweets, with one comedy buff writing: ‘I know everything is like The Thick of It these days, but this has Glenn and Terri written all over it.’

The quip was a reference to special adviser Glenn Cullen and civil servant Teresa Jessica ‘Terri’ Coverley, who bicker constantly during the show and repeatedly bungle basic tasks. 

Mr Johnson later made light of the incident on Twitter, posting a photo of himself with a mug alongside the caption: ‘I got my coffee in the end.’  

The Thick Of It fans were in hysterics today after two of Boris Johnson’s aides were likened to Terri and Glen from the hit TV show (pictured) 

Boris Johnson later made light of the incident at today’s  Tory party conference on Twitter, posting a photo of himself with a mug alongside the caption: ‘I got my coffee in the end’

The awkward exchange at the conference in Manchester sparked off a stream of amusing tweets

The incident began when Mr Johnson, apparently parched after taking part in a series of broadcast interviews this morning, was given the hot drink by his press secretary Rob Oxley. 

Best The Thick Of It moments

Number 10 ‘enforcer’ Malcom Tucker advises minister Hugh Abbot to keep up with the times, by saying: ‘You’ve got 24 hours to sort out your policy on EastEnders, right? Or you’re for the Halal butchers’.

After character Ben Swain appears on BBC Newsnight, Malcolm slams him on his use of hand gestures by saying: ‘All these hands all over the place! You were like a sweaty octopus trying to unhook a bra.’

Malcolm pokes fun at a pair of rival advisors by saying: ‘Laurel and f***ing Hardy! Glad you could join us. Did you manage to get that piano up the stairs OK?’

During a meeting with junior government adviser Ollie Reeder, Malcolm becomes enraged when he sees him putting his feet on the furniture. He says: ‘Feet off the furniture you Oxbridge t***, you’re not on a punt now.’

Fuming at MP Geoff Holhurst, he says: ‘You’re so back-bench, you’ve actually f***ing fallen off. You’re out by the f***ing bins when I put you.’

Another hilarious quote from the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship, is when Malcolm refers to a minister on the phone as ‘about as much use as a marzipan dildo’.

The Prime Minister could be heard thanking Mr Oxley for the beverage as they walked through the conference centre in Manchester.

But the cup was barely in Mr Johnson’s hands before Shelley Williams-Walker, Number 10’s operations chief, snatched it away from the PM.  

The trio continued to walk as a seemingly puzzled Mr Johnson raised his hands in the air, apparently in bemusement at what had just happened. 

Ms Williams-Walker reportedly said ‘no disposable cups’ after she took the drink away from the premier as she then proceeded to try to get it out of the shot of the TV cameras. 

Mr Oxley appeared to look sheepish in the immediate aftermath of the incident. 

Mr Johnson is not the first Cabinet minister to have got into hot water over disposable coffee cups in light of the Conservative’s new emphasis on green issues.

Michael Gove, who in his previous role as environment secretary had led the charge against single-use plastics, was criticised last year for drinking from a disposable cup during an appearance in front of a select committee.   

Disposable coffee cups have become a symbol of everything that is wrong with the UK’s so-called ‘throw-away society’. 

The last government rejected calls to impose a ‘latte levy’ to persuade people to use their own re-usable cups when buying take-away coffee. 

The PM’s press secretary Rob Oxley handed Boris Johnson a coffee in a disposable cup as they walked through the conference centre in Manchester today

But Number 10’s operations chief Shelley Williams-Walker was quick to spot the potential for bad press as she snatched the cup away from the premier, apparently in a bid to protect his green credentials

Ms Williams-Walker reportedly told Mr Oxley ‘no disposable cups’ as a bemused Mr Johnson looked on

Terri (second left) and Glen (second right) are pictured with main character Malcolm Tucker (front) in a scene from The Thick Of It 

But numerous coffee shop chains have introduced their own charges which people must pay if they fail to provide their own receptacle for their drink.

Mr Johnson has been on a mission to continue bolstering the Tories’ environmental credentials since he took office in July. 

His most recent pledge saw the government promise to introduce the toughest trophy hunting rules in the world. 

Who are Rob Oxley and Shelley Williams-Walker? 

Head of operations Shelly Williams-Walker 

Having previously worked with the foreign secretary at the Foreign Office, Shelley Williams-Walker was brought in to Boris Johnson’s team to lead its operations.

Along with Lucia Hodgson, she is one of the few women in the higher echelons of Team Boris. 

She has managed to stay relatively out of the public eye since being appointed to the operations team and hasn’t posted on social media networking sites such as Twitter since February.

She had previously however posted links to news articles of Johnson laying flowers at the scene of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov’s murder in 2017 and seemed to have been in attendance with him during the campaign trail for the general election in 2017.

Rob Oxley, Downing Street’s press secretary, was appointed to his role on 24 July this year after jobs with Priti Patel, Michael Fallon and the Vote Leave campaign. 

He previously worked for James Starkie, who was a former advisor to Michael Gove and Dominic Raab.

Most recently he worked with online food delivery retailer Deliveroo, but he has also served as an advisor for Home Secretary Priti Patel and ex-defence secretary Michael Fallon.

Alongside his Team Boris colleague Lee Cain, he was a press officer for the Vote Leave campaign, masterminded by Dominic Cummings.   

Pictured: Rob Oxley, Downing Street press secretary  


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