Boris Johnson was visibly flustered when grilled about why he didn't wear a face mask while sitting next to 95-year-old Sir David Attenborough at UN Climate Change Conference COP26 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UK Prime Minister was momentarily speechless when CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour confronted him about the controversy, after maskless photos of him seated next to "national treasure" Attenborough prompted outrage online.
"He's 95-years-old, he was wearing a mask and you weren't," Amanpour said to Johnson.
"It's all over the place," she added.
After an awkward silence, a stammering Johnson attempted to defend his decision, telling Amanpour: "I've been wearing a mask in confined spaces with people that I don't normally meet and I think it's up to people to make a judgment on whether they're at a reasonable distance from someone and whether they're with someone they don't normally meet."
"That's the approach we take," he added.
Johnson's response was quickly condemned online by his political opponents, with Labor MP Jonathan Ashworth tweeting: "And your judgement Boris was utterly irresponsible."
Another Labor MP, David Lammy, chimed in: "If Boris Johnson puts himself first - even before a 95-year-old National treasure - how is he going to put the planet and the people of the UK first?"
Amid the criticism against Johnson, some UK media outlets pointed out that other photos taken at the COP26 event showed that Attenborough didn't wear a mask the entire time, and at one point neither the Prime Minister nor the natural historian were masked.