Emily Maitlis Laid Into Boris Johnson's Former Aide Over Ex-PM's 'Culture' Of 'Lying'

·3-min read
Emily Maitlis did not hold back in a brutal interview with Guto Harri for The News Agents
Emily Maitlis did not hold back in a brutal interview with Guto Harri for The News Agents

Emily Maitlis did not hold back in a brutal interview with Guto Harri for The News Agents

Emily Maitlis did not hold back during an interview with Boris Johnson’s former aide, Guto Harris – and introduced a brutal Donald Trump comparison.

Johnson has been in the news again this week, despite being ousted from office last July, over new claims he broke Covid lockdown rules at Chequers.

While he has dismissed them as “bizarre and unacceptable” allegations, the official Covid inquiry has threatened the government with legal action if it does not provide the ex-PM’s WhatsApps from around that time.

The hosts of The News Agents podcast, Maitlis and Jon Sopel, were discussing the latest headlines around the former PM with his one-time aide Harri, when they all locked horns over Johnson’s reputation.

As the former head of comms for Downing Street, Harri, blamed Johnson’s support for Brexit, claiming: “Brexit was massively divisive and Brexit was the start of this allegation that he was a liar.”

He said that “no one” thought Johnson was a liar before the EU referendum.

However, Jon Sopel cut across Harri and said: “Hang on hang on, he got fired by Michael Howard for lying.”

Howard was the Tory leader who sacked Johnson in 2004 over supposedly not revealing an extramarital affair he was having with a Spectator columnist at the time.

Maitlis added: “He got fired by the newspaper as well.”

Johnson was sacked in 1988 by The Times for allegedly fabricating quotes from his godfather, a historian, which were then printed on the front page.

But Harri was dismissive of these incidents, saying: “Yeah, for spilling about an affair and he made up quotes, I’m sure he’s not the only person to have done that.”

He continued: “In a career as public and as high profile and political as his, they’re two quite minor charges.”

Instead he suggested Johnson was still a strong politician, by pointing out how Johnson was elected as London mayor, after an “ominshambles government” because he delivered on his promises.

But Maitlis brought the conversation back to lying with a timely anecdote.

She said: “The first time I interviewed Donald Trump, he lied to me about having the biggest ballroom in New York.

“And I let it go, because I was like, ‘who the fuck cares, it’s a ballroom.’

“And in 2020, he lied about winning an election he lost and it created a riot and the attempt to overturn democracy.”

“There are lies that don’t really matter and lies that matter,” Harri interjected.

Maitlis pushed on: “There are consistent patterns of behaviour.”

Johnson’s former aide continued: “We’re not going to agree on this.”

But Maitlis hit back again: “You went to work for a man you knew was a consistent liar. I wouldn’t say Brexit was divisive – it was worse than that.

“He continually misled this country. You went to work for a man you knew was lying and misleading and had lied to the Queen about the prorogation of parliament, and had lied about partygate, who had throw Allegra Stratton under the bus, I mean there’s always buses with Boris.

“You knew that was the culture in which you were working.

“And people can feel rightly furious that this stuff is still going on and still coming out.”

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