Shock as Boris Johnson is ‘not a fool’ during 18-minute hoax call
Listen: The foreign secretary thought he was talking to the Armenian prime minister.
It is not often the case that a hoax call ends up boosting the standing of the person that has been pranked.
But Boris Johnson today shocked seasoned SW1 insiders when it emerged that pranksters had called him pretending to be the Armenian prime minister – and the gaffe-prone politician had failed to deliver any major gaffes or indiscretions.
A clip of the 18-minute call was posted on Youtube by a British pro-Kremlin journalist Graham Phillips. During the call the prankster gets a laugh from the foriegn secretary when he asks for advice on how to deal with Vladimir Putin, saying: "I hope he will not poison me with Novichok."
Towards the end he ups the ante with outlandish claims about the ability of Putin to exert control over Jeremy Corbyn. To which the flabbergasted foreign secretary responds:
"Really? He told you that he was influencing Jeremy Corbyn?”
"Did he go into any detail or did he just say that Jeremy Corbyn was someone he was able to influence?"
Ministers believes the Kremlin was behind the hoax call by Alexei Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov. And that it could been much worse.
"If this was an attempt to ridicule us, it has totally backfired," said Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan, who also spoke to the pranksters.
Bloomberg reported that the hoax callers - who have also duped Elton John - had hoped that Johnson would be more gaffe-prone. Stolyarov is said to have told the pro-Kremlin tabloid newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda that the foreign secretary had turned out to be "a smart diplomat, an intellectual".
The prankster also said it was "probably the first time the person we talked to who was not a fool".