Siri heckles UK defense secretary in parliamentary debate


A British Member of Parliament has demonstrated the issues of having the ‘Hey Siri’ function active during meetings, by suddenly being heckled by his iPhone while addressing his peers in the UK House of Commons on Tuesday.

Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson was giving a statement to the House of Commons about the ongoing fight against the Islamic State, reports the BBC. During his speech at the despatch box, Williamson’s iPhone started to speak, interrupting proceedings while the MP moved to silence Siri.

Video of the incident suggests the “Hey Siri” command was triggered, most likely by Williamson’s mention of Syria or Syrian. Following the verbal prompt, Siri started to advise “I’ve found something on the web for Syria Syrian democratic forces,” then providing a few details before dismissal.

Speaker John Bercow commented “What a very rum business that is,” while other attended MPs quietly laughed at the situation. In response, Williamson apologized for the “intervention,” before noting “It is very rare that you’re heckled by your own mobile phone.”

Parliamentary rules do allow MPs to have mobile devices on their person during debates, but are required to disable ringtones to avoid causing a disturbance. While smartphones and tablets can be used to “keep up to date with emails,” they are not allowed to be used as a prompter for speeches or in debates themselves.

MPs are also urged to avoid spending too much time using such devices rather than discussing political issues. In 2014, MP Nigel Mills apologized for misusing his mobile phone during a Commons committee hearing, by playing Candy Crush Saga.

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