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10 Photos of Politicians Looking Stupid While Trying to Eat Food

Picture of Andrew Webb
Food & Drink Editor
Updated: 6 June 2017
The 2017 General Election has been weird in so many ways: from the fact it was even called at all (I’m looking at you, Fixed-Term Parliaments Act) to the fact it might not even give the Prime Minister the increased mandate she’d hoped for once the polls close on Thursday night.

But if there’s one constant, one North Star we can universally get behind in these end of days, it’s that this election, like so many others before it, has produced the traditional awkward eating moment for politicians.

Theresa May doesn’t like chips (2017)

When Theresa May visited the Cornish coast last month as part of her debate-dodging campaign trail, her handlers thought it would be a good idea for her to be seen tucking into that most British of foods, a portion of chips. Yet in even this most simplistic of tasks she still managed to look unusual. The same thing happened at a visit to the British Cheese Awards (see above). Is it simply that we don’t like to see our politicians as human beings requiring sustenance, or that maybe everyone looks weird eating?

She is, however, by no means the first politician to deliver a food faux pas, so psephology meets gastronomy in our round-up of the greatest gastro gaffes.

Paul Nuttall and the ice cream ‘Blue Steel’ (2017)

Where to start with this? Perhaps Nuttall is channelling his inner Derek Zoolander, or maybe he’s just had a lick of the ice cream and is suffering from brain freeze?

Paul Nuttall contemplates dessert
Paul Nuttall contemplates dessert | © Isabel Infantes/REX/Shutterstock

Ed Miliband’s bacon sandwich (2015)

You know the problem here? He’s been given back bacon rather than streaky for his bacon sandwich. You know how it is: you take a bite but then hit that long piece of rind, which you can’t quite bite through, so you advance a little more into the sandwich, hoping to hit the end of it. Result: you lose a general election, have to resign and give the world a meme for life.

Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith in the pub (2016)

Oh dear, Zac Goldsmith, my mum can hold a pint glass better than that. This pub photo is made all the worse because Boris Johnson actually looks like he’s going to chin the rest of his beer in another two gulps, whereas Zac looks like a scared schoolboy having his first ever. Result: lose the mayoral race, a by-election, and all credibility with the booze-loving British public.

Zac’s ‘excuse’ was that ‘beer doesn’t agree with him’; however, here is the wee scamp stocking up in 2006.

Zac Goldsmith buys beer at Tesco’s Kings Road (2006)
Zac Goldsmith buys beer at Tesco’s Kings Road (2006) | © Alan Davidson/Silverhub/REX/Shutterstock

George Osborne and his Byron burger (2013)

In 2013, the former Chancellor was too busy working on the budget speech to stop and eat, so sent an aide out to get something, and to tweet the whole endeavour. That something, we now know thanks to The Sun, was a burger from Byron Hamburgers, which, if it’s their cheapest option, is £6.75. The paper went on to point out that the McDonald’s version was just 99p. Turns out we weren’t all ‘in it together’ after all, and George’s real ‘Long-term Economic Plan’ was lots of highly paid consultancy and a go at editing London’s Evening Standard.

John Selwyn Gummer (1990)

In the 1990s, British beef, historically viewed as some of the best in the world, was riddled with BSE and consequently banned in many other countries. Agriculture minister John Gummer decided to show that it was perfectly safe, by feeding a British beef burger to his four-year-old daughter Cordelia at a boat show in Suffolk. Thankfully she’s fine; however, in 2007 a friend of hers did die from the human form of the disease, CJD.

Margaret Thatcher and McDonald’s (1983)

The Iron Lady meets the Golden Arches for two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun, and is having none of it. Look at the withering look of contempt on her face. You bite if you want to; the lady’s not for biting.

Margaret Thatcher pays a visit to McDonald’s HQ in East Finchley (1983)
Margaret Thatcher pays a visit to McDonald’s HQ in East Finchley (1983) | © Neville Marriner/Daily Mail/REX/Shutterstock

Cameron and Obama do ‘dude food’ (2011)

More Tory burgers in the form of this ‘cook-out’. Barbecue’s come on a hell of a lot in Britain; we are now finally starting to appreciate the finer points of working with smoke and fire. You can now get great barbecue all over London, just not at No. 10, it seems. Who, honestly, barbecues wearing a tie? Hell, who cooks anything wearing a tie? Needless to say, both these men are now out of office: one’s gone on to global statesman beatification; the other’s instagramming his feet.

David Cameron, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron serve military families at 10 Downing Street
David Cameron, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron serve military families at 10 Downing Street | © REX/Shutterstock

Cameron’s other hot dog (2015)

He’s ditched the tie but is now eating a hot dog with a knife and fork – and to think this man once had the nuclear launch codes.

Michael Gove drinking a glass of water (2016)

You would think it’d be hard to get this wrong, but Gove apparently did.

Alex Salmond feeding a woman a Solero (1999)

This particularly creepy image nearly sent BuzzFeed’s Scotland reporter Jamie Ross insane as he tried desperately to find out who the girl in the photo was, and more importantly why she was being fed a fruit-based lolly by the former SNP leader Alex Salmond. He never had closure, and to this day her side of the story remains a mystery.