Boris Johnson encouraged Rees-Mogg to ‘pain in Sunak’s back’, claims ex-spin doctor

Boris Johnson has told Jacob Rees-Mogg to be a ‘pain in the back’ for Rishi Sunak amid a Brexit row, Guto Harri has claimed.

The former Prime Minister’s spin doctor said Mr Johnson had given Mr Rees-Mogg ‘carte blanche’ to ‘step on toes’ at the Treasury.

Mr Rees-Mogg, when offered the post of Cabinet Secretary, warned the Prime Minister that Mr Sunak had “gone native” on Brexit politics, Mr Harri claimed.

The spin doctor said: ‘He warned the Prime Minister that on Brexit he believed the government had come to the point where they were deliberately trying to keep the UK in, in what he called,’ the EU’s lunar orbit”.

“He warned Chancellor Rishi Sunak had ‘gone native’.”

Mr. Harri made this claim in his podcast memoir, Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street. He has previously joked that Mr Johnson wanted to ‘take out’ Partygate investigator Sue Gray with a ‘drone attack’ and claimed the former Prime Minister ‘opposed’ King Charles for having described the government’s Rwandan policy as “appalling”.

In the latest episode, Mr Harri said the Prime Minister wanted Mr Rees-Mogg to deliver a ‘massive kick’ to the Treasury.

Mr Rees-Mogg, he said, responded by joking about Mr Sunak’s short stature, saying he should “walk on a few little toes” in the department.

“Boris, after a chuckle, gave him carte blanche to be a pain in the ass for the Treasury and for Rishi Sunak. His words simply, ‘go for it,'” Mr Harri said.

He also said officials were initially “anxious” about how to present the government’s asylum policy in Rwanda to the public.

“I remember looking around the room and everyone was anxious, because the first thing that came to most people’s minds when you said, ‘We are sending people to Rwanda’ was a horrible and haunting of machete-wielding genocidal tribesmen crossing decades ago,” he said.

Mr Harri said “most people” had not realized the African nation had “leapfrogged” in recent years. Although he added that a key opponent of the policy remained in the Prince of Wales, now King Charles III.

“It’s not a good idea for an unelected royal to disagree with the elected government of the day, even though people might agree with the unelected royal,” he said.

Before a summit last summer in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, King Charles reportedly criticized plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

And Mr Harri said it took “a lot of back and forth” to avoid an awkward moment when the two met.

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