Boris Johnson had food poisoning before a brutal interview where he admitted he was ‘beaten up’ by presenter Susanna Reid.
The PM endured a torrid time when he was grilled on ITV’s Good Morning Britain last week for the first time in five years, struggling to justify the government’s cost-of-living response.
But aides revealed that Mr Johnson had just finished throwing up before going on screen – and a ‘distress signal’ had been arranged with Susanna in case he needed to make a hasty exit.
‘He had food poisoning,’ an aide told the Sunday Times. ‘He was throwing up and had to change his suit because he got sick on his lapel.’
Afterwards the PM is understood to have gone went straight to his morning meeting with senior aides and announced: ‘I just got beaten up by Susanna Reid.’
Aides say Boris Johnson had food poisoning before a brutal interview where he admitted he was ‘beaten up’ by presenter Susanna Reid (pictured)
Susanna Reid challenged him with the example of Elsie (pictured) and her cost-of-living plight during the car-crash interview
Mr Johnson had refused to go on GMB while Piers Morgan was hosting, including notoriously hiding in a fridge when a reporter from the show tried to confront him during the 2019 general election campaign.
But he did not fare any better with Susanna, who challenged him with the example of Elsie during the car-crash interview.
The 77-year-old’s energy costs in her council flat have risen from £ 17 to £ 85 a month, and Reid told the premier that she now ‘uses her freedom bus pass to stay on buses all day to avoid using energy at home’ .
Extraordinarily, Mr Johnson replied by saying he had brought in the free bus pass that Elsie was using – even though in fact the benefit had been introduced years before he was London Mayor.
Mr Johnson was asked what Elsie should cut back on.
‘I don’t want Elsie to cut back on anything, let’s talk about Elsie and what we are doing and – just to remind you that the 24-hour freedom bus pass was something that I actually introduced.’
‘So Elsie should be grateful to you for her bus pass? What else should she cut back on? ‘ Ms Reid replied.
The interview was Mr Johnson’s first in five years on GMB, and came ahead of local elections where the Tories lost hundreds of councilors and were overtaken in vote share by Labor
Mr Johnson went on: ‘There are plenty of things more that we are doing. What we want to do is make sure we have people who are in particular hardship looked after by their councils, we are putting much more money into local councils. We have the particular payments to help elderly people in particular with the cost of heating. ‘
However, the PM’s claim to have introduced the freedom pass was immediately challenged. It was brought in in 1973, although as mayor Mr Johnson did extend the benefit to 24 hours a day.
Since the pandemic it has not been available before 9.30am as TfL struggled to cope with a financial meltdown.
At the end of the interview, Mr Johnson left viewers bemused after admitting he didn’t know who Lorraine Kelly is.
As Susanna tried to hand over for the next show, a confused premier said: ‘Who’s Lorraine?’