Boris Johnson’s Conversation with Sue Gray in a Meeting That Never Happened | John Crace

Boris Johnson: Hello. This is not Boris Johnson.

Sue Gray: In that case I’m not Sue Gray.

Johnson: Excellent. I would like to make an appointment with you…

Gray: Go ahead then. I have my calendar open.

Johnson: Actually, I’d like you to put the phone down and then call me back in a few days with a time and date.

Gray: Why? It seems completely pointless.

Johnson: So I can pretend it was you who asked for the meeting. That way it seems like I’m not trying to interfere with your report. Which of course I am not.

Gray: Evidently. Well, actually I’m going to tell the truth…

Johnson: Why would anyone want to do that?

Gray:…that’s you were the one who asked for a meeting.

Johnson: No need to play politics.

Gray: You are kidding me. You can save that nonsense for the Daily Mail. And for your useful idiots – think Nadhim Zahawi and Simon Clarke – who are sent into the media round to tell your “true story” about our meeting that will fall apart in hours.

Johnson: I’ll take a chance…

Gray: mmm. I wonder who everyone will believe. Me or you and your ministers? That’s a tough one. Are you sure you don’t want to think again? Thought not. So what do you want?

Johnson: The thing is… the Met just told me they’re about to complete their investigation into the No. 10 parties and that I’m going to be almost completely free from it.

Gray: How did you manage that? Did you pay a bribe?

Johnson: I didn’t have to! Although Tory donors all lined up to reach out if needed. As it turned out, the police weren’t all that interested in the investigation once they were told to fuck off and stop bothering me. Just had to write “no comment” on my questionnaire. So I got away with just that one fine for the party that was barely a party and the Old Bill just fined a bunch of junior employees to make it look like they’d done something.

Gray: Now what?

Johnson: We need to talk about timing…

Gray: No we don’t. Because we’ve already agreed on the times. When the police have completed the investigation, I will publish the report shortly after.

Johnson: Not those times. The timings of some of my performances at the parties. To make it look like I just walked in. Like you would for a work event. Which the parties certainly were.

Gray: You really don’t get it, do you? I cannot be noble.

Johnson: Come on, Sue. Be a sport. give me a break as President Macron would say. In any case, don’t post any of the photos where I get mad at the troops. Especially not those of me raising my glass and toasting Lee Cain. It was just my luck that my face was the only one in the photos that wasn’t blurry.

Gray: I think you’ll see ITV News already got their hands on it.

Johnson: And what about the others? Surely we can make a deal about it? I don’t mind if you post pictures of No 10 staffers, but I’d rather you keep me out of it. And certainly not the one where I make vodka shots and break Wilf’s swing. Carrie still doesn’t know it was me. I told her it was Party Marty. And if you could avoid the ones where people throw up, that would be a help. We don’t want the public to think it was one long Ibiza rave during the lockdown.

Gray: You don’t get it, do you? You disgust me. You lie to the country and parliament and get away with it time and time again. And you’ll probably get away with it again. The police may be a coward, but I’m not. So I’m going to publish everything. The photos clearly show that you have attended multiple parties in Downing Street and the public deserves to know the truth.

Johnson: Anyone can be attacked by six bottles of wine, a bottle of gin and a bowl of chips. So don’t be like that. We’ve all had a drink…

Gray: We don’t actually have that.

Johnson: Okay, so can you tone down some of your comments in the introduction? Make it sound like there was clear, level-headed leadership at No. 10 and it was just a few junior employees breaking the rules. Over and over. And the only reason it kept happening was that I was so busy going to work events that I didn’t notice. In fact, we all worked so hard that no one can blame us if it got a little lively. I’m sure the same thing happened in hospitals where the doctors and nurses threw back the hand sanitizer.

Gray: Are you ready?

Johnson: Not quite. It is believed that there will be pitfalls in all this. So if you could finger Simon Case for me it would be a big help. Although it is clear he will join the Lords or something when the dust settles. Just like you, if you play your cards right…

Gray: We’re done now.

Johnson: Just for the record, this meeting never happened.

Gray: It will leak for sure…

Johnson: In that case it is a public meeting that was of such high quality that the contents must remain secret.

Gray: Goodbye, Prime Minister.

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