The switchboard operators at 10 Downing Street are well-known for their precision and professionalism, as they dutifully connect callers to the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister to senior officials, dignitaries and foreign leaders around the world.
But it appears that they had an uncharacteristic slip-up the other day. The Daily Mail’s Sebastian Shakespeare reports that when a senior civil servant in a major Whitehall department recently rang the line and asked for Gavin Barwell, Theresa May’s chief of staff, they clearly were misheard by the Number 10 switchboard.
After a short pause, the senior civil servant, no doubt expecting to discuss important matters of state, was instead connected to Take That star Gary Barlow. It’s easy to confuse the pair after all.
Mr Steerpike can only hope that both the official and the confused Gary Barlow had a little… patience when they realised the mistake.