Boris Johnson’s previous denials that he has no links with controversial far-right figure Steve Bannon have been thrown into doubt, after video emerged of the latter detailing their close relationship.
In footage obtained by The Guardian, Bannon is recorded in a London hotel room in July 2018 saying he helped write Johnson’s resignation speech when he stepped down as foreign secretary.
He says: “I’ve been talking to him all weekend about this speech. We went back and forth over the text.
″Talked to him initially over the phone then it’s just easier to go back and forth on text. It’s just easier. I’ve been telling him one of my recommendations is that he gave one of the most important political speeches of 2016. Was his closing speech, a three-to-five-minute speech in June 2016, his closing argument on national TV for the Leave campaign ... And it was magnificent.
“And all I was telling him all weekend was just to incorporate those themes. Those same themes. Basically, he was saying that June 23 was independence day for Great Britain. Their independence day being like our July 4.”
The US right-winger worked on Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential election bid but resigned from the White House a year later.
Bannon was Chief Executive of the alt-right Breitbart News before joining the White House during which time it published headlines like this.
The clip will be embarrassing for Johnson who in April of this year said any links between himself and Bannon were “a lefty delusion whose spores continue to breed in the Twittersphere” in response to accusations from Labour’s David Lammy.
Bannon has also previously dismissed the idea he has been working with Johnson, saying in October of last year: “I know Boris, I don’t think he needs advice.”
After the row over Johnson comparing Muslim women in face-covering veils to letter-boxes and bank robbers, Bannon urged him not to “bow at the altar of political correctness” by apologising.
He said Johnson had “nothing to apologise for” and would be “a great prime minister”.
The latest revelation comes as pressure builds on the Conservative leadership favourite to answer questions about police being called to his partner’s home on Friday.
On Saturday, Johnson declined to explain to Tory grassroots what went on at the south London flat in the early hours of Friday morning, saying the party faithful did not want “to hear about that kind of thing”.
Johnson’s campaign for Number 10 was rocked by the revelations that officers were called to the home he shares with partner Carrie Symonds by a neighbour who claimed to have been “frightened and concerned” after hearing shouting, “a loud scream” and banging coming from the property.
A poll carried out after the reports emerged suggested Mr Johnson’s support among Tory voters had dropped by more than half, while among the general electorate it indicated he had slipped into second place behind rival Jeremy Hunt, the Press Association reports.