Guto Harri reveals on his podcast Unprecedented that Boris was ‘hysterical’ night before publication of Sue Gray report

25 May 2023, 00:47

Guto Harri claims Boris Johnson was "hysterical" amid Partygate.
Guto Harri claims Boris Johnson was "hysterical" amid Partygate. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Jenny Medlicott

Boris Johnson became “hysterical” during Partygate inquiry and repeatedly referred to investigator Sue Gray as a “total psycho”, his ex-media chief has claimed.

Guto Harri, who served as Mr Johnson's head of communications in his final months at No10 in 2022, has revealed how Boris Johnson behaved amid the Partygate inquiry.

Sue Gray, a senior civil servant at the time, was tasked with leading investigations into the Partygate scandal.

Speaking in his latest episode of Unprecedented, Mr Harri said of Boris' attitude towards Ms Gray: “He expected her to be tough, but he also thought that she'd be fair. And that changed pretty soon after I'd arrived at No. 10.

“He started referring to Sue Gray as 'the psycho' or 'the total psycho', someone who was planning an 'orgy of pain, abuse and humiliation.'

“On another occasion, she was the 'destroyer of the nation' trying to do us in. This whole thing he said is 'shot to s**t’.”

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player

Mr Johnson faced a fresh round of accusations yesterday.
Mr Johnson faced a fresh round of accusations yesterday. Picture: Alamy

He also revealed the tensions in Downing Street the night before the report was published, as he said: “In calmer times Boris joked about Sue Gray, telling people that ‘he'd be able to move on once he was acquitted of genocidal war crimes’.

“But it all came to a head on the eve of the publication of her report, when he would have to go and present this in Parliament and face the music in a big, big way.

“And there was only a handful of us in the room – I think four or five – a speechwriter, helping to craft what he was going to literally say in Parliament, a couple of private secretaries to check on everything, and me.

“We were struggling to make any progress because he was 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.”

"And at one point where he was literally hysterical, I think the old days we'd have recommended a slap, or a bucket of water thrown over someone, and all I could think of was, 'Look, Boris. Boris, look at me. 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. And your political career depends on that speech.”

Sue Gray, who led the Partygate inquiry, was repeatedly labelled a 'psycho' by Mr Johnson.
Sue Gray, who led the Partygate inquiry, was repeatedly labelled a 'psycho' by Mr Johnson. Picture: Alamy

Read more: Boris Johnson called Macron 'Putin's lickspittle', former No10 comms chief Guto Harri reveals

Read more: Boris Johnson believed Partygate was a stitch-up by ‘psycho’ Sue Gray, claims former media chief Guto Harri

Mr Harri’s comments come after Boris Johnson faced fresh accusations of alleged lockdown breaches on Tuesday, although Mr Johnson has described the allegations a “stitch-up”.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said: “The assertion by the Cabinet Office that there have been further COVID rule breaches is totally untrue.

"Lawyers have examined the events in question and advised that they were lawful.”

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