Boris Johnson would have axed Rishi Sunak as chancellor if he’d stayed in office – Guto Harri
Guto Harri, who served as No 10’s director of communications under Boris Johnson, suggested that Rishi Sunak would have been reshuffled out of the chancellor job if the ex-PM had stayed in office.
Speaking on LBC, he said that there was a “fundamental disagreement of policy between the two of them”.
Mr Harri said: “The tension between them was building. Boris was desperate to give something to the party, did not want to put up corporation tax. He didn’t want to cut taxes. He did want to bring the bread and butter benefits of Brexit to ordinary punters.
“Rishi was reluctant to do all of that. So frankly, to cut to the chase, if things hadn’t turned out as they did last July, I think over the summer we’d have had a reshuffle and Rishi would have been offered a different job should we say.”
Asked if Mr Johnson was preparing to move Mr Sunak from the chancellor job, he said: “Yes. But the chancellor beat him to it in a way and brought the whole show down.”
He added that he now thought it was not realistic for Boris Johnson to return to power imminently, but suggested that there was a possibility it could happen after the next general election.
Mr Harri also revealed that the former prime minister and the King who had a “bit of a showdown” over the government’s controversial Rwanda policy.
He has alleged that Mr Johnson confronted the King, “essentially squaring up” to him, for describing the Rwanda asylum policy as “appalling”.
“They did have a bit of a showdown, but for the reason that the man who is now King criticised what was A, extremely popular government policy, B, very central government policy and C, on the eve of the two of them going to the very place at the heart of the story, Rwanda.
“So it wasn’t a fight. Obviously they didn’t square up to get in the ring. But Boris, rightly, challenged the unelected royal at the time.”
Asked on LBC about his claim that the King was “busted”, he said: “The impression I got is that Prince Charles at the time was squirming, trying to deny he’d said this.
“If you are the prince, or you’re the prime minister, you’ve got an army of people who can go out there and ring newspaper editors and say this is not true, take it down, and they will if it’s not true.
“So the fact that the story was allowed to stand and could not be denied meant that he had actually described government policy as appalling.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.