'I Will Survive!': Kneeling BoJo Serenades New Downing Street PR Chief
14:47 GMT 07.02.2022 (Updated: 15:18 GMT 28.05.2023)
PM Boris Johnson's new head of communications quit his job at GB News last summer after being suspended for kneeling live on air in support the England football team, who had adopted the Black Lives Matter gesture during the delayed Euro 2020 tournament.
The new Downing Street PR chief has already sung the praises of his boss Boris Johnson — after the prime minister gave him a rendition of disco classic I Will Survive.
"I walked in and did a salute and said: 'Prime Minister, Guto Harri reporting for duty'," Harri related. "He stood up from behind his desk and started taking the salute but, then he said 'What am I doing, I should take the knee for you,' And we both laughed."
Harri famously quit his job as a presenter on new conservative-leaning TV channel GB News last summer after he was suspended for bending the knee live on air in support of the England football team's deference to the US Black Lives Matter movement. GB News called his use of the gesture "an unacceptable breach of our standards" and said "we let both sides of the argument down by oversimplifying a very complex issue."
The spokesman then asked the embattled PM: "Are you going to survive, Boris?"
"He said in his deep, slow and purposeful voice, and started to sing a little while finishing the sentence, saying 'I Will Survive'," breaking into chorus of Gloria Gaynor's 1978 hit.
After prompting Harri to say the song's next line "You've got all your life to live," BoJo picked up with "'I've got all my love to give' so we got a little blast from Gloria Gaynor!" he said. "No one expects that."
Turning to the 'Partygate' scandal over alleged office merry-making by Downing Street staff during the COVID-19 lockdowns, Harri admitted that Johnson had work to do to restore trust and head off a leadership challenge after at least nine Tory backbench MPs submitted letters of no confidence in him.
"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 said.
"He is aware of the appalling misery that all the talk about these parties has created, and has shaken people's trust in Government and politics in general, and there are questions about his ability to continue as Prime Minister," Harri added. "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's not all that clownish, but he's a very likeable character," the new PR man insisted. "90 per cent of our discussion was very serious but it shows that he is a character and that he has fun. He is not a vicious person as some misrepresent it."
7 February 2022, 12:09 GMT
Harri arrived at Number 10 for his first day on the job carrying a shopping bag of snacks and mineral water for his new underlings — a far cry from the cheese and wine the PM's have been accused of guzzling in their offices during the lockdowns.
Political gossip site Guido Fawkes' regular cartoonist Rich drew the comparison between BoJo's Welsh spin-doctor Harri and his Welsh dog Dilyn.