Guto Harri: who is Boris Johnson’s new No.10 comms chief - and why he quit GB News after taking the knee on TV

Guto Harri replaces Jack Doyle as head of communications. (Credit: Getty)Guto Harri replaces Jack Doyle as head of communications. (Credit: Getty)
Guto Harri replaces Jack Doyle as head of communications. (Credit: Getty)

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The former GB News presenter has joined Boris Johnson’s team

Boris Johnson has appointed Guto Harri as his new head of communications.

The Prime Minister was rocked last week by mass resignations within his Number 10 staff, with Mr Johnson losing Jake Doyle as head of communications in the process.

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Mr Johnson has brought in new staff to fill the roles, with Mr Harri, a former GB News presenter, replacing Mr Doyle.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new head of communications in Downing Street.

Who is Guto Harri?

Guto Harri is a former journalist, broadcaster and strategic communications consultant from Cardiff.

The 55-year-old worked as a journalist for 18 years at the BBC, leading coverage of Welsh election programmes.

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Between 2008 and 2012, he served as director of external affairs for Boris Johnson while he was Mayor of London.

In May 2021, it was announced that Mr Harri was to join broadcaster GB News as a co-host of a weekly news programme.

However, by July 2021, Mr Harri had resigned from his GB News role.

Why did Guto Harri leave GB News?

On 13 July 2021, Mr Harri caused controversy on the channel after he took the knee live on air.

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The presenter did so support the England Football Team’s decision to take the knee as an anti-racist symbol before matches at the Euro 2020 championships.

Mr Harri was swiftly suspended by GB News bosses who said that he was failing to maintain the channel’s editorial standards.

Shortly after bosses suspended the presenter, Mr Harri resigned from the his role on the network.

In his resignation letter, Mr Johnson’s new head of communications said that GB News was “becoming an absurd parody” by encouraging cancel culture among far right audiences.

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Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who presents a show on the channel, said in response to Mr Harri’s on air gesture that he “will not be taking the knee for anyone”.

Mr Harri questioned in his resignation letter why his gesture was seen to be in breach of editorial standards, while Mr Farage was not reprimanded for his comments.

What did Guto Harri say when he arrived at Downing Street?

Mr Harri began his job as head of communications for Downing Street on 7 February.

He turned up to Number 10 with a Tesco bag in hand, joking with reporters that it contained “mineral water and healthy snacks” for staff.

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The gesture marks a change for Downing Street, with the drinking culture at Number 10 coming under fire amid the revelation of partygate scandal.

Mr Harri also told reporters that he had asked Mr Johnson directly is he could have survived if he lied to parliament.

In a bizarre response, the Prime Minister allegedly sang lines from the Gloria Gaynor hit “I Will Survive”.

When asked if the claims were true, Mr Johnson laughed it off but did not deny it.

A message from the editor:

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