UK PM Johnson sang 'I will survive' to new communications director

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the technology centre at Hopwood Hall College, in Middleton

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sang Gloria Gaynor's hit song "I Will Survive", according to his new communications director, before discussing his appointment to try to reset his premiership after a series of political scandals.

Guto Harri, who was appointed as Johnson's new director of communications on Saturday, said in his first interview that the pair launched into a rendition of the song after he asked the prime minister if he could survive.

Harri, a former BBC journalist who worked for Johnson when he was Mayor of London, told the Welsh-language news website Golwg360 that the prime minister is "not a complete clown" and described their meeting on Friday.

"I walked in and I made a salute and said 'prime minister, Guto Harri reporting for duty' and he stood up from back to his desk and started taking the salute," Harri said in comments translated from Welsh to English.

"We were both laughing. Then I asked 'Are you going to survive Boris?' And he said it in his deep voice, slowly and purposefully and started singing a little while finishing the sentence and saying 'I Will Survive'.

"He invited me 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 of Gloria Gaynor."

Johnson's premiership is in crisis amid anger over a series of alcohol-fuelled events held at his Downing Street office and residence during coronavirus lockdowns which followed other missteps.

The prime minister's spokesman refused to comment when asked about Johnson's conversation with his new communications director and if they sang the song.

"I'm not going to get into the details of private conversations. But as you might expect, they are old colleagues," the spokesman said.

(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill)