LONDON — Well, that’s one way to deal with an annoying inquiry.
A senior aide to Boris Johnson calmed him down by jokingly offering to order a drone strike against Sue Gray, the government official who was leading the “Partygate” probe into lockdown-busting gatherings in Johnson’s government.
Speaking to a Global podcast about his brief spell in No. 10 as Johnson’s director of communications last year, Guto Harri said his boss was “literally hysterical” on the night before Gray published her damning report into the saga.
As Johnson prepared a parliamentary speech responding to its findings, Harri recalled Johnson getting “more and more angry, uncharacteristically sweary and cross, the more he thought about the impact of this and what Sue Gray had done to his premiership.”
Harri then floated an unconventional plan to soothe the frayed prime minister, saying to the then-PM: “Look at me. Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to order a drone strike. We’ll take her out. We’ll take Sue Gray out. But right now, right now, this very moment, you need to finish a speech that you are giving to parliament tomorrow.”
The former aide, who spent seven months as No. 10’s top spinner in the dying days of Johnson’s premiership, stressed he “was not serious about recommending that course of action.”
Johnson’s spokesperson has said the former PM doesn’t recognize Harri’s account of his premiership as detailed in the podcast, and clarified that Johnson had no part in creating the series.
Gray’s report and the ongoing stink of the Partygate scandal dealt a serious blow to Johnson’s premiership.
Johnson is currently subject to a parliamentary probe over the affair, and he has since taken potshots at Gray after she left the civil service to take up a job with Labour leader Keir Starmer.
According to Harri, Johnson was happy to lambast Gray at the time too.
Harri said Johnson referred to her as “the total psycho” and as someone who planning an “orgy of pain, abuse and humiliation” at Johnson’s expense.