Boris Johnson 'looked like he was swimming in porridge', says body language expert

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s body language was scrutinised by expert Judi James who described him as a man looking near-exhausted after a matinee performance

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Boris Johnson holds press conference for the Sue Gray report

Boris Johnson looked like “a man swimming in porridge” when he batted back questions about the damning Sue Gray report.

The prime minister’s words, tone and body language were scrutinised as he fielded questions at a press conference following his bold appearance at PMQs.

Refusing to resign, he told ministers “it’s my job to get on with my job and deliver” after photos emerged of him raising a glass at a Downing Street party during lockdown.

Just one Tory MP has today broken cover to call for Mr Johnson to resign with the Cabinet readily lining up behind him.

Body language expert Judi James has analysed the beleaguered PM – and it does not make for pretty reading

His phrase “let’s be absolutely clear” was thrown out like a life raft when he was questioned over the latest scandal and proceeded to “um” and “err”.

Leading body language and communication expert Judi James scrutinised Mr Johnson’s performance and compared him to “a man swimming in porridge.”

“Boris used a lot of double-handed cupping gestures in the Commons and they re-appeared during press questions,” she added.

The PM held a press conference in response to the Sue Gray report Into “Partygate”


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“The gesture suggests someone is trying to explain, plead or convince although the palms aren’t visible as they might be in a more open gesture. He used it like a weighing gesture too, as though trying to balance his thoughts.”

Mr Johnson is facing fresh calls to resign following the publication of Sue Gray’s report on a Downing Street party during the national lockdown.

Conservative MP Julian Sturdy said the report “clearly shows the prime minister has presided over a widespread culture of disregard for the coronavirus regulations”.

The York Outer MP added: “While I thought it important to wait for the conclusion of the Metropolitan Police investigation and the publication of the Sue Gray report, I am now unable to give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt and feel it is in the public interest for him to resign.”

Mr Johnson walking along Downing Street after the conference



Mr Sturdy’s comments came as the PM met with the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers in an attempt to regain the confidence of his party.

Most Tory backbenchers have been quiet since Ms Gray’s report was made public on Wednesday morning.

Its contents urged for Mr Johnson to “bear responsibility” for the boozy culture in No10 during lockdown.

Later that day, Mr Johnson answered questions from journalists at a press conference on Downing Street.

Referring to his actions, the prime minister said he takes “full responsibility” while looking down at his page.

He was questioned outside his home on Wednesday



Body language expert Ms James criticised the admission which she said did not come with a sincere look towards the camera but an “evasive downward glance.”

“‘I’m humbled by what’s happened’ was delivered in a curt tone and, again, with the eyes down in a cut-off,” she added.

“In the Commons this claim of being ‘humbled’ even had to be corrected.

“His claim to ‘preserve morale and the essential duties of leadership’ came with a facial wince at the press conference, with the lips puckering inward as though the words hurt him to speak.”

The language expert joked how Mr Johnson looked as though he was “lifting and shifting invisible bricks with his hands” in a ritual that suggested trying to stack his points neatly and failing.

Boris Johnson escaped a fine despite attending this leaving party


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“The overall look during the press grilling was of a man who had done a matinee at noon and was now near-exhausted for the evening performance,” she added.

“Even the PMQs contained fluffs. He had to correct the rather friendly ‘Sue’ to ‘Sue Gray’.

“And after claiming ‘we are humbled and we have learned our lesson’ he seemed to look round before correcting to ‘I am humbled and have learned my lesson’.”

The press conference comes after bombshell photos emerged of Mr Johnson raising a glass of fizz at a No10 party, which he explicitly denied took place.

He is accused of lying to Parliament after four pictures, first published by ITV News, showed him with aides round a table laden with booze and party food.

Mr Johnson once again refused to resign



Sources told both ITV and the Mirror that they were taken at a leaving party for his communications chief Lee Cain on November 13 2020.

Indoor social gatherings were banned between people not from the same household.

However, the PM appears to have been pictured making a toast next to a table with two bottles of Champagne or Cava, four bottles of wine and half a bottle of gin.

The Mirror revealed last week that Mr Johnson was not investigated for the gathering and therefore did not receive a fine.

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