Sunday 27 December 2020

After four years of fraught negotiations and as the deal was about to be announced...


Tim Shipman's long Sunday Times piece today describes the big day at Downing Street, in which the BBC apparently had a truly surreal walk-on part:

Johnson got a good night’s sleep and got up for a run with his dog Dilyn. But he began to lose patience. A senior figure at the BBC spoke to No 10, urging it not to announce the deal during the broadcast of the corporation’s big Christmas Eve film, Kung Fu Panda. About 12.30pm Johnson spoke again to von der Leyen and said: “We really need to get this over the line now. We’ve got to get Frosty and his team home for Christmas.” An hour later Frost WhatsApped the prime minister to say: “I think we’ve got there.”  
Johnson called and said: “Go and close it out.” Twenty minutes later there was a video call with von der Leyen. Johnson asked: “So do we have a deal, Ursula?” She replied: “Yes, we do.” Downing Street staff at the back of the room burst into spontaneous applause.

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