Guto Harri told ‘I will survive’ by embattled Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister is “not a total clown”, his new director of communications has said.

In an interview with the Welsh language news website Golwg360, Guto Harri, whose appointment to the role was announced over the weekend, said Boris Johnson is “a very likeable character”.

He also said the pair launched into a rendition of “I Will Survive” when they met on Friday afternoon, as the PM vowed to plow on with his premiership in the wake of the so-called partygate scandal.

Mr Harri took on the communications brief following a swathe of resignations among the Prime Minister’s aides.

READMORE: Guto Harri now has to answer his own difficult questions

He told Golwg360 that Mr Johnson quoted from Gloria Gaynor’s hit before settling down to a “serious chat” about getting the Government “back on track”, according to a translation.

The Prime Minister also reportedly suggested he should kneel before Mr Harri, in an apparent nod to a row over the former broadcaster taking the knee during an on air debate about racism in football last year.

Mr Harri said: “I walked in and I did a salute and said: ‘Prime Minister, Guto Harri reporting for duty’, and he stood up behind his desk and started to take a salute but then he said: ‘What am I doing , I should take the knee for you’.

The National Wales: Guto Harri stepped down from GB News after taking the knee on air.Guto Harri stepped down from GB News after taking the knee on air.

“And the two of us were laughing. After I asked him: ‘Are you going to survive, Boris?’, And in his deep voice, slowly and purposefully, while singing slightly he finished his sentence by saying: ‘I will survive’.

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“In a way I could not resist he invited me to say: ‘You’ve got all your life to live’, and he replied: ‘I’ve got all my love to give’, and so we had a little blast of Gloria Gaynor.”

Mr Harri added: “Nobody expects that, but that’s the way it was. There was a lot of laughing and we sat down to have a serious chat about how to get the Government back on track and how do we move forward.

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

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

Mr Harri, who previously served as a key aid to Mr Johnson while he was mayor of London, said “90%” of their discussion was “very serious”.

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He said the Prime Minister is “not the devilish man as some wrongly portray him to be”.

The newly appointed spin doctor also said Mr Johnson is aware of questions about his ability to continue in the top job.

He said there has been a move to reorganize No 10 with “professional people who are pragmatic and more experienced, and perhaps less ideological”.

He said Mr Johnson talks “ceaselessly” about “making a success of Brexit, bringing us out of the pandemic and all the problems that have been caused in the wake of the pandemic” and “making sure leveling up creates something meaningful”.

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The National Wales: The PM and Chancellor Rishi Sunak on a visit to Kent Oncology Center this week.  (Picture: PA Wire)The PM and Chancellor Rishi Sunak on a visit to Kent Oncology Center this week. (Picture: PA Wire)

Mr Harri added: “He’s aware of the awful hurt all the talk about these parties has created, and that it has shaken people’s trust in the Government and politics in general, and there are questions about his ability to continue as Prime Minister.”

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

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman did not deny that Mr Johnson and Mr Harri sang together.

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“I’m not going to get into the details of private conversations,” he said. “They are old colleagues and have known each other for some time.”

Asked about Mr Harri’s reported assessment that Mr Johnson is “not a complete clown”, the spokesman said: “I think obviously he is firmly committed to the Prime Minister’s agenda and delivering on the public’s priorities.”

Mr Harri has been brought in to give Mr Johnson “fair and frank advice” based on his “significant experience”, the spokesman added.

Separately, The Sun reported that Mr Harri previously lobbied the Government on behalf of Chinese tech giant Huawei.

On these claims, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “I have provided advice to the clients of a private company. That’s entirely legitimate, it’s in the public domain and obviously we would not exclude from Government someone with valuable experience and expertise.”

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A Labor spokesman accused the Prime Minister’s new team of “more clown show nonsense”.

“Britain faces a combination of spiraling bills, rising prices and Tory tax rises,” he said.

“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.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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