Lightsaber-wielding Labour politician filmed dancing with then-Mayor Boris Johnson says he’s a ‘party animal with Eton moves’ but warns the ‘totally selfish’ PM was ‘irresponsible and unfit for higher office’
A lightsaber-wielding Labour politician seen dancing with Boris Johnson in a recently resurfaced viral video says she has ‘no regrets’ about her shuffle with the Prime Minister – who she has described as a ‘party animal’.
Jennette Arnold OBE, 72, has revealed that her hilarious dance with the Conservative leader was part of a long-running attempt to bring Londen Assembly members from all sides together.
The viral video is believed to have been filmed at a Kersfees party for London Assembly staff in 2013, when Mr Johnson was the capital’s mayor and Mrs Arnold was a member.
But it has been circulating on social media in recent days – te midde van die voortdurende Nommer 10 partygate row – and has since racked up more than four-million views.
Today Mrs Arnold said the event was ‘good fun’ and she has ‘no regrets’ about dancing with the Conservative leader, who she described as having ‘Eton moves’.
However she said she is worried the video could distract from the ongoing ‘partygate’ ry.
Mr Johnson has been slammed for attending a bring your own booze (BYOB) garden event at Number 10 during lockdown and failing to tackle an alleged drinking culture at Downing Street.
The Tory leader insists he did not believe the drinks event to be a lockdown rule-breaking party.
But Mrs Arnold says the PM has a history of ‘total selfishness’ en ‘onverantwoordelik’ gedrag’ from his London Mayor days and that she believed back then he was ‘not fit for higher office’.
She also insists that the Prime Minister must resign for allegedly flouting his own Government’s rules.
Asked about the video she said: ‘This is so separate (to Partygate), so different and it’s so important there shouldn’t be a link.
‘There isn’t anyone in this country that during that pandemic period didn’t suffer because they were either directly related or knew somebody who was dying or who was isolated, and because they were obeying the rules they couldn’t get to them.
Jennette Arnold OBE, 72, has revealed that her hilarious shuffle with the Conservative leader was part of a long-running attempt to bring London Assembly members from all sides together
Today Mrs Arnold (op die foto) said the event was ‘good fun’ and she has ‘no regrets’ about dancing with the Conservative leader, who she described as a ‘party animal’ with ‘Eton moves’
Boris Johnson and Jennette Arnold OBE and members of the British Armed forces pictured outside City Hall in June 2015 for the annual flag raising ceremony
‘What concerns me is that it was brought back into the system at this critical time, and there was an attempt to use it to further enhance Boris’ partying ways.
‘My thoughts and my deepest sympathy are with those who, like myself and the majority of people in this country and across the world, we lost our friends, we obeyed rules and it is expected, it is just such a basic requirement of public life that if you make the rules, you have got to stick to the rules for goodness sake.’
Mrs Arnold, who was a London Assembly Member for Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest but stepped down at the 2020 City Hall election, says the video was filmed at a City Hall Christmas party in either 2013 of 2015.
The Labour veteran says it emerged out of a tradition of dancing with the mayor at City Hall Christmas parties as a way of bringing people closer together.
During one party, when she considered not dancing with Mr Johnson, staff goaded her into it by offering her a lightsaber – which was an actual Lucasfilm prop apparently given to the now-PM by the late Christopher Lee, who starred in the hit films.
‘It was a bit of fun at a Christmas party that we got involved in during his eight years,’ sy het gese.
‘I started it I think and then this one year I announced I would not be dancing with him and was saying to somebody that I had lost all patience with him and said I wouldn’t be dancing.
‘And then the staff went all panto-style “Ag nee” and somebody presented me with this lightsaber and said “You can have my saber if you’ll dance with him”.
‘And I thought, “OK” and we went over to the dance floor area and started to dance.
‘So for the staff it was great fun because it was a party and it showed that they had a mayor who would bring his known party animal style to the event, and they were able to laugh.
The PM looked very youthful as he danced to the lively strains of All Night Long at the bash
Mr Johnson looked to be having a whale of a time on the black and white checked floor
The funny film showed the PM dancing with Jeanette Arnold OBE in 2013 as she held lightsabre
Lib Dems target seats of Dominic Raab and other loyal MPs over partygate support for Boris Johnson as they seek to use ongoing crisis to gain votes in Tory heartlands
The Justice Secretary’s marginal Surrey seat is the first target for the party’s new ad campaign that will highlight backing for the PM over the string of illegal gatherings in Downing Street during the Covid lockdowns.
Mr Raab’s Esher and Walton constituency is a major ‘Blue Wall’ goal for the Lib Dems, with the party having cut his majority from 23,298 in 2017 aan 2,743 in 2019.
The leaflet quotes Mr Raab’s own words from an interview he gave last Wednesday after Mr Johnson admitted for the first time attending a drinks event in the No10 garden in May 2020.
In it he said: ‘I’m full supportive of this prime minister and I’m sure he will continue for many years to come.’
The Lib Dems are hoping to capitalise on anger among Tory voters in his seat and those held by other ministers and backbenchers who speak out in support of the Prime Minister when a report by civil servant Sue Gray is published.
‘En, natuurlik, if you have been in his presence, there is that about him… there is that, I can’t think of the words other than “party animal”, someone up for a bit of fun.’
While Mrs Arnold was complementary about Mr Johnson’s party-prowess, she was less so about his dancing skills.
‘I laugh now when I think of how he dances. It’s not just for him, I think there is a particular group of people who dance like that, which makes you smile.
‘Maybe it’s the Eton dance, maybe that’s what he was showing us. He was putting on his Eton moves, Ek weet nie.
‘You have seen it on dancefloors with groups of people who dance like that and you smile because you think they are enjoying themselves.
‘But no, I can’t regret that because there was absolutely no malice at the time and nothing negative about it in any way.
‘It was good fun at a Christmas staff party and the staff enjoyed it, you can hear people laughing.’
However Mrs Arnold said that, despite their yearly dance, that she felt Mr Johnson was ‘irresponsible’ during his time at the helm of City Hall.
‘There are examples of him breaking rules and being absolutely irresponsible during his years at City Hall, like when we had to really fight and challenge him when he wanted to bring water cannons onto the streets of London,’ sy het gese.
‘Some of the stuff he got up to when he was mayor showed he was unfit for any higher office.
‘And his days as a journalist and his behaviour as a student – there is this encyclopedic weight of irresponsible, disrespectful behaviour, total selfishness.
‘Although during my time at London Assembly I kept saying to people, “He will be Prime Minister because he just seemed to me that he would just do anything that was needed to get the position”, and of course his party gave him the opportunity.’
Despite her concerns about his fitness to lead the country, Mrs Arnold insists she always had a good relationship with Mr Johnson during his time as London Mayor.
She described the PM as a ‘strange’, but said that he used his ‘charm to disarm’ mense.
And she said he had once treated her to bottles of ‘very good wine’ as a thank you present after she agreed to shift a meeting to allow him to attend a family event.
Mrs Arnold (pictured during her time in the London Assembly) het gesê dat, despite their yearly dance, that she felt Mr Johnson was ‘irresponsible’ during his time at the helm of City Hall
Ms Arnold added: 'In alle eerlikheid, he has always treated me with respect and in fact one of our main arguments was me telling him I didn’t particularly like him and him telling me it didn’t matter because he liked me.
‘He would never go past you without saying good morning. He was brought up with the social skills that you would expect and yeah, he is a very strange man.
‘And he uses those skills very well because he clearly charms to disarm, jy weet?
‘But I have always questioned whether he is allowing you to laugh with him or he has got the last laugh and he is laughing at you, jy weet?’
‘I remember there was something I did, and it wasn’t any major thing, I had shifted a meeting to accommodate him being present at a family event and the next thing I knew was a ‘thank you’ present arriving.’
Asked about the gift, sy het gese: ‘Yes it was a few bottles of some very good wine which I shared, in fact I shared it with staff members.
‘I just thought it was such a nice thing for him to have done which he didn’t need to and then I just shared it.’
It comes as Mr Johnson is facing further pressure as two ministers slammed him over lockdown-busting parties in Downingstraat – just hours after Dominic Cummings said he would take the stand having accused the Prime Minister of misleading Parliament.
The PM’s former top adviser said last night that he discussed a May 2020 BYOB event with Mr Johnson before it happened but his concerns were ‘waved aside’.
The claim contradicts Mr Johnson’s statement to the House of Commons last Wednesday. Ahead of PMQs he insisted that he believed that the knees-up organised by his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds – currently being probed by senior civil servant Sue Gray – was a work event that did not breach regulations.
Downing Street has mounted a full-scale rescue plan to bolster the PM after last week’s astonishing slew of revelations, code-named Operation Red Meat, and has fiercely denied Mr Cummings’ eise.
Elders, two of Mr Johnson’s ministers have openly criticised No10 over Partygate, warning the scandals have caused ‘serious damage’ to public trust in the government.
The PM’s former top adviser said tonight that he discussed a May 2020 BYOB event with Mr Johnson before it happened but his concerns were ‘waved aside’.
Whitehall appears to already be bracing for Ms Gray’s findings, with the Prime Minister launching a pre-emptive ‘policy blitz’ in an attempt to push back against the biggest crisis he has endured since taking office in 2019. Op die foto: One of the ‘illicit parties’ held in Downing Street gardens on May 17, 2020
Science minister George Freeman said he was ‘shocked and flabbergasted’ by the revelations, and questioned why staff were able to enjoy such gatherings while his constituents ‘couldn’t see dying loved ones’, Volgens die Tye.
Net so, health minister Maria Caulfield insisted that regardless of whether the rules were ‘technically’ breached or not by the parties, ‘the spirit of the rules’ was.
She added that she would ‘consider what action is needed’ when Ms Gray’s report into the events is published.
It comes after Mr Cummings suggested in a post on his Substack blog on Monday, that worse might still be to come for No10.
‘Amid discussion over the future of the Cabinet Secretary (Simon Case) and PPS (Reynolds) homself, which had been going on for days, I said to the PM something like: ”Martin’s invited the building to a drinks party, this is what I’m talking about, you’ve got to grip this madhouse”,’ hy het geskryf.
‘The PM waved it aside. I had told him repeatedly the PPS should be replaced, as had other competent officials who knew the whole structure needed a huge upgrade in personnel and management.’
Hy het bygevoeg: ‘Not only me but other eyewitnesses who discussed this at the time would swear under oath this is what happened.’
Downing Street has denied the claims, as a No 10 spokesman said in response: ‘It is untrue that the Prime Minister was warned about the event in advance. As he said earlier this week he believed implicitly that this was a work event.
‘He has apologised to the House and is committed to making a further statement once the investigation concludes.’