Westminster lobby ‘totally baffled’ by Guto Harri’s Welsh language press briefing
The Westminster lobby appears to have been a little confused by Guto Harri giving a press briefing in the Welsh language.
The first move by Boris Johnson’s Director of Communications in his new job was to give an exclusive interview to Welsh language news site Golwg360.
In response to the move, Welsh speaking BBC journalist Elliw Gwawr tweeted: “Am enjoying that the lobby in Westminster is totally baffled that Guto Harri has done an interview in Welsh”.
The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg described it as an “interesting first move in the new No 10 Comms plan.”
Laura Kuenssberg said:
It's an interesting first move in a new No 10 Comms plan… https://t.co/tI9rAiomio
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) February 7, 2022
Torcuil Crichton, the Westminster Editor for the Scottish news organisation the Daily Record, said:
— Torcuil Crichton (@Torcuil) February 7, 2022
CNN journalist Luke McGee said:
Guto’s secret agenda is to force more people to read Welsh, I reckon. Give loads of interviews we have to read exclusively in the language https://t.co/IyyNtt9Hjg
— Luke McGee (@lukemcgee) February 7, 2022
‘Take the knee’
Guto Harri told Golwg360 that Boris Johnson offered to take the knee and sang ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor in a meeting in which he appointed the Welsh speaking broadcaster as his new Director of Communications.
The embattled Prime Minster has been engulfed in turmoil following a series of reports about parties being held in lockdown, which has led to calls from several Tory MPs for him to resign.
In a move to save his premiership, following the resignations of a number of key aides, he has turned to Welsh broadcaster Harri, who was his director of external affairs during his tenure as Mayor of London.
The tongue in cheek offer from Johnson to take the knee appears to be a reference to Harri’s brief stint with right wing television channel GB News.
The former BBC journalist left following a blazing row over him taking the knee on air during a debate about racism directed at England football players.
Harri told Welsh language news website, Golwg360: “I went in to see the Prime Minister at 5 o’clock on Friday after filming Y Byd yn Ei Le in Barry, and I went in through the Cabinet Office in Whitehall in order to avoid being seen in the street and went through the narrow corridors in Downing Street to his office.
“Even though I hadn’t seen him in the flesh for some years, we picked things up where we had left them in terms of the tone of our friendship.
“I walked in and I made a salute and said ‘Prime Minister, Guto Harri reporting for duty’, and he stood up from behind his desk and began taking the salute but then he said ‘What am I doing, I should take the knee for you.’
“And the both of us were laughing. Then I asked him ‘Are you going to survive Boris?’. And he said in his deep voice, slowly and purposely, but starting to sing a little and finishing the sentence by saying ‘I Will Survive’.
“In an inevitable way he was inviting me to say ‘You’ve got all your life to live’ and he answered ‘I’ve got all my love to give’, and so we had a little blast of Gloria Gaynor! No one expects that, but that’s how it was.”
“There was a lot of laughing and we sat down to have a serious discussion about how to get the government back on track, and how we are going to move forward.
“Everyone’s attention on the recent events has created a lot of pain, but in the end, that doesn’t have anything to do with the way the people voted two years ago.
“He isn’t a total clown, but he’s a very likable character.
“90% of our discussion was very serious but it shows that he’s a character and that there is fun to be had. He isn’t a diabolical man in the way that some people mischaracterise him.”
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