UK's Boris Johnson sang 'I will survive' to new communications director Guto Harri

Prime minister makes several new appointments to Downing Street amid wave of resignations

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been dealing with a number of crises as he attempts to hold on to power. Getty Images
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sang I Will Survive during his first meeting with his new communications director Guto Harri, who was appointed at the weekend to help reset his flagging premiership.

The prime minister has weathered a number of scandals in recent weeks, including the publication of a report on “partygate” that found an unacceptable level of alcohol consumption at Downing Street while the UK was under stringent lockdown measures.

Mr Johnson's team has also been hit by a series of senior resignations, while the influence of his wife Carrie Johnson on policy within No 10 has come under increased scrutiny from the media, leading to accusations of “misogyny” from her supporters.

Mr Harri, who was appointed on Saturday, said in his first interview that he and Mr Johnson had launched into a rendition of Gloria Gaynor's hit song after he asked the prime minister if he could survive.

A former BBC journalist who worked for Mr Johnson when he was mayor of London, Mr Harri 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,” Mr 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.”

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

Mr Johnson made other new appointments to his team at the weekend, with Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay becoming his chief of staff.

The Times reported No 10 was hoping to announce the return of Dame Emily Lawson as the new permanent secretary this week.

Dame Emily, who currently runs NHS England’s vaccination programme, was seconded to Downing Street’s delivery unit — a team in charge of ensuring the government delivers on its policies — in April last year before returning to the health service in October.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Sajid Javid branded the attacks on Ms Johnson “misogynistic” following revelations made in a soon-to-be published book by billionaire Lord Ashcroft.

Mr Javid said: “I just think as a general rule, a politician’s partner — any politician, any party — should be off limits.

“It’s the politician that has chosen to have a public life … I think the, this whole focus on Carrie Johnson in some of these reports, I think it’s very undignified and very unfair.”

Updated: February 08, 2022, 3:54 AM