Politics

Boris Johnson New Spin Physician Says The Prime Minister Is ‘Not A Full Clown’

Boris Johnson “is not a complete clown”, his new spin chief has declared.

In his first interview since taking over as the No.10 10 director of communications, Guto Harri also revealed the prime minister had saluted and said “I Will Survive” when interviewing him for the job.

Harri was appointed to the job on Saturday following the dramatic departure of his predecessor, Jack Doyle.

He was one of five of the PM’s top aides to quit Downing Street in the space of 24 hours.

Former BBC journalist Harri, who worked with Johnson while he was mayor of London and quit GB News last year after taking the knee live on air, arrived for his first day at work on Monday morning.

In an interview with Welsh language website Golwg, he said he met the PM at 5pm on Friday and said: “Guto Harri reporting for duty.”

He said Johnson replied: “What am I doing, I should take the knee for you.”

Harri went on: “Then I asked ‘Are you going to survive Boris?’ And he said in his deep, slow and purposeful voice and started to sing a little while finishing the sentence and saying ‘I Will Survive’.

“In an inevitable way that invited me to say ‘You got all your life to live’ and he replied, ‘I got all my love to give’, so we got a little blast from Gloria Gaynor!”

He added: “There was a lot of laughter and we sat down to have a serious conversation about how to get the government back on track and how we are moving forward.

“Everyone’s attention is on recent events that have caused a lot of hurt, but in the end, that’s nothing to do with the way people voted two years ago.

“He is not a complete clown, but he is a very likeable character.”

A Labor spokesman said: “Britain faces a combination of spiraling bills, rising prices and Tory tax rises.

“But the PM’s new team have decided to kick off their much-vaunted ‘reset’ with yet more clown show nonsense.

“It’s already clear that another round of deckchair shuffling in Downing Street hasn’t changed the fact this Tory government is utterly incapable of getting on with its job.”

Along with Harri, Johnson has also appointed minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Steve Barclay, as his new chief of staff in bid to persuade wavering MPs that he is serious about shaking up Downing Street.

Andrew Griffith, who was elected as the MP for Arundel and South Downs in 2019, will replace Munira Mirza as No.10 new’s head of policy, while David Canzini, an associate of Australia polling guru Lynton Crosby, is poised to become a political adviser to Johnson.

The culture and operational side of Downing Street was strongly criticized by senior civil servant Sue Gray in her report into Downing Street parties during the pandemic, which she blamed on “failures of leadership and judgment” in No.10 and the Cabinet Office.

Harri acknowledged the “appalling hurt that all the talk about these parties has created” and that “there are questions about his ability to continue as prime minister”.

“He has to persuade his party and people on the ground that he is holding the man who got a comfortable majority as recently as two years ago,” he said.

Harri’s own past criticisms of the prime minister did not go unnoticed by Johnson’s former aide-turned-enemy Dominic Cummings, who posted on Twitter: “So our new boss is a pro-Remain lobbyist who’s said the PM is “sexually incontinent”, “ hugely divisive”, “destructive”, “dragging the country down”, & picked “wrong side” in referendum. GREAT’.”

Harri hit back by tweeting an article he wrote for GQ magazine in which he predicted that Cummings would be sacked within months.

Following Gray’s highly critical report, Johnson announced a shakeup in the operation of No.10, including the creation of a new office of the prime minister and a new permanent secretary to lead No.10 — a post that could be filled by Dame Emily Lawson , the head of NHS England’s vaccination programme.

The prime minster hopes that the changes will persuade critical Tory MPs not to submit a letter of no confidence in his leadership to Graham Brady, chair of the influential 1922 committee of backbenchers.

If Brady receives 54 letters from his colleagues, Johnson will face a vote of no confidence.

HuffPost UK has reported that at least 12 Tory MPs are understood to have submitted a letter to Brady, while many more have been highly critical.

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