That is exactly what Italian newspaper la Republicca has reported. “An official statement of the local airport dated September 17th claims that Mr Johnson was in Perugia ‘over the past few days’. Local airport sources exclusively told la Repubblica and Umbria publication Umbria24 that Johnson ‘travelled to Perugia’. A source reported that Johnson landed in Perugia ‘on Friday 11 September at 2 pm’. Asked by ‘Repubblica’, a No10 spokesman replied: ‘This claim is wrong.’” That’s a strangely phrased denial.
There was more. “Asked about the September 17th press release mentioning Johnson on the same day, a Perugia airport spokesman confirmed it, adding that both ‘Johnson and [Tony] Blair were here in Perugia last week’. An airport worker confirmed Johnson’s presence ‘on Friday Sept 11th or Thursday Sept 10th, I don't remember well’. Another airport source assured that the British Prime Minister arrived ‘on Friday September 11th at 2 pm and left on Monday September 14th at 7.45’”. Then there was the Zoom call.
And this is where it becomes difficult for Downing Street to wriggle out. “Later that day [September 11], the PM also had a Zoom call with 256 Tory MPs on Brexit: Johnson’s Internet line was remarkably poor that evening and broke down for about 20 minutes. ‘When Johnson came back on the line he joked that he should probably invest in gigabit broadband’, an MP told ‘Politics Home’”. The Politics Home piece can be read HERE.
Don't mention the Kompromat
It was John Sweeney, who has previously covered Bozo’s trips to that part of Italy, who provided the clincher. “[Johnson’s] big pal, Lordski Evgeny Lebedev, owns a palazzo … this is the place Boris goes for his Bunga Bunga parties. Remember Lebedev’s father was a Colonel in the KGB. While he was there, he made a Zoom call to Tory MPs”.
There was more. “Dealing with the virus, dealing with questions about Britain breaking international law over Brexit. The whole thing was a disaster, and for 20 minutes the internet conked out … Now that was weird, because when the British Prime Minister’s in Britain, his comms work … it’s great stuff. But this story smacks of the Italian internet, and I know how that works [laughs] and I know how it can fail”.
Also, Lebedev’s palazzo is out in the sticks, which will make coverage that bit more difficult. But back to Sweeney. “What No 10 have said is that ‘the claim is wrong’. which smacks of a non-denial denial … if Boris Johnson, in the middle of one of the greatest crises in modern British political history - a double crisis - was actually palling around with the son of a KGB Colonel in Italy, and No 10 is pretending he wasn’t, then Boris is in serious trouble”. And he’s given his enemies another reason to oust him.
The timing of the Zoom call, and the sightings of Bozo at Perugia Airport, would mean it was made when the PM was allegedly in Italy. Bozo has a fall-back excuse - that he was at his new son’s christening that weekend. But there will be no pictures of the happy event.
This is a story which may acquire its own momentum. If it does, Bozo is toast.
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