Two months after Boris Johnson described his alleged relationship with Steve Bannon as a “lefty delusion”, The Observer produced damning evidence which suggested he was lying. It produced a video, filmed the previous year, in which Donald Trump’s former chief strategist talked freely about his connections with Johnson. Bannon said in the video: “Today we are going to see if Boris Johnson tries to overthrow the British government. He’s going to give a speech in the Commons. I’ve been talking to him all weekend about this speech. We went back and forth over the text.”
From a copy of The Daily Telegraph Bannon refers to in the video, it appears to have been filmed on 16 July 2018. It is worth noting that Bannon appears to be wrong about the date of Johnson’s resignation speech; it took place two days later, not that day.
LBC’s Nick Ferrari asked Johnson about Bannon’s claims two days after the Observer story. Johnson replied: “This is the biggest load of codswallop I have ever heard.” Ferrari put it to Johnson that Bannon texted him regularly. Johnson replied: “Absolutely not. Complete codswallop. I met Mr Bannon in the White House when he was chief of staff to the president as you would expect, in the course of my duties as foreign secretary.” Under pressure from Ferrari, Johnson conceded that “Bannon texted me on a couple of occasions trying to fix a meeting. I texted back to say that meeting wasn’t possible.”
Nigel Farage is on record as stating that Bannon knows Boris, he speaks to Boris. Steve speaks to virtually everybody.”
Johnson could not give a straight answer on the nature of his relationship with Bannon when asked by journalist Matthew d’Ancona. D’Ancona wrote: “I noted that — characteristically — his initial outright rebuttal quickly softened to a claim that he had not spoken to Bannon in 2018 ‘as far as I can remember,’” wrote d'Ancona in Tortoise. “And then to a recollection that the American had indeed ‘texted me asking me to appear on his show and I said I couldn’t’. So which was it?”
Either Johnson or Bannon is lying.