It was not quite the grand switching on ceremony that Downing Street had anticipated for its Christmas lights.
A Labour MP has admitted she unwittingly turned on the lights early after mistaking the switch for a doorbell. Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, attended a meeting at No 10 last Wednesday but said that, when the door failed to open, she pressed a grey button nearby.
The door then opened at the same time as the Christmas tree lit up, an hour earlier than scheduled.
Ironically Boris Johnson’s first attempt at switching on the festive lights was unsuccessful in front of an audience of children who sang carols.
After a countdown, footage posted on social media showed the prime minister pressing the switch only for the lights to flicker on for a second before turning off again. The lights remained on after a second press of the button.
Harris told BBC Radio Wales: “I got to the door and I’m waiting for the door to open and it doesn’t. I think ‘that’s odd, I thought the door automatically opened’.
“So I looked on the wall and there’s this grey box, so I think it’s a doorbell, so I press the grey box – the front door does open – but the Christmas tree lights came on at the same time. I get inside and I say ‘the tree looks lovely’ and they say ‘yes, the prime minister is going to switch them on at five o’clock for the carol service’.
“So I said ‘I think you’ll find I’ve already done that’, so I had to go back outside to turn the tree lights off, which was quite funny, especially when the prime minister did turn them on an hour later and they didn’t work the first time he tried it.”
Harris said she “cried laughing” with fellow MPs afterwards, adding: “I don’t know if the prime minister will be very happy that somebody beat him to it after the week he’s had.”