Boris Johnson sang 'I Will Survive' in his office to new comms chief Guto Harri
Boris Johnson sang ‘I Will Survive’ in his office to greet his new communications chief, it has been reported.
The prime minister broke into song when welcoming Guto Harri to Downing Street following a string of resignations after the fallout from the Partygate scandal.
Former BBC journalist Harri has been hired by the embattled PM to steady his ship and pacify Conservative MPs left angry by condemnation of the culture of No 10 exposed in the highly damning Sue Gray report.
Harri's appointment came after Johnson lost five of his Downing Street aides in the space of 24 hours on Thursday and Friday, as more MPs sent letters in calling for a vote of no confidence in their leader
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Harri told Welsh-language news website Golwg360 that Johnson quoted Gloria Gaynor’s famous song as the pair met in No 10 last week: “I walked in and did a salute and said, 'Prime minister, Guto Harri reporting for duty' and 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. 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'.
"I inevitably invited him to say, 'You've got all your life to live' and he replied, 'I've got all my love to give', so we had a little blast from Gloria Gaynor.”
Harri said “there was a lot of laughter” between the pair, but that they then “sat down to have a serious conversation about how to get the government back on track and how we are moving forward”.
He added: “Ninety per cent of our discussion was very serious but it shows that he is a character and has fun. He is not a vicious person as some misrepresent it.”
He said about Johnson: “He's not all that clownish, but he's a very likeable character.”
Harri's appointment was meant to reduce the number of unwelcome headlines coming out of No 10, but there were further embarrassing over the weekend when it emerged he had written in 2018 that Johnson was now "dragging us into a place where we think that we can joke about suicide vests and that we can be sexually incontinent".
Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner was left unimpressed with Harri’s anecdote, tweeting: “Did I mention that there are no serious people left to serve?
“They think it's all just one big joke don't they.”
An initial report last week into Downing Street lockdown parties from senior civil servant Sue Gray said there had been a "a failure of leadership" at No 10.
This sparked a slew of resignations and new appointments, with Harri replacing Jack Doyle as director of communications.
Johnson was criticised last week for his refusal to apologise for a slur made against Sir Keir Starmer over the failure to prosecute Jimmy Savile, causing one senior aide to quit.
Several members of his own party have called for the prime minister to step down.
A spokesman for Boris Johnson refused to confirm whether the exchange between Johnson and Harri took place. He said: “I’m not going to get into the details of private conversations, as you might expect obviously, they are old colleagues and they’ve known each other for sometime.”
Watch: PM's new communications chief arrives for first day at work