Over the weekend, footage emerged from upcoming documentary, The Brink, in which Steve Bannon claimed he had helped Boris Johnson write a 2016 speech tearing into Theresa May’s Brexit strategy.
Johnson has previously played down links to Trump’s former chief strategist, but the video of Bannon boasting of his involvement in the speech suggests a closer relationship than previously let on.
With that in mind, we mapped out the company Johnson is joining, rounding up the most infamous political figures Bannon has been linked with.
Steve Bannon was chief executive of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and subsequently acted as his chief strategist in the White House after his election.
While pulling the strings, he was instrumental in imposing the “travel ban” on immigration from Muslim countries, while an ex-Trump aid has said he was delighted with Trump’s controversial response to the far-right rally in Charlottesville.
Johnson may want to watch his back thought. Bannon recently turned on his former boss Trump, describing him as “just another scumbag”.
Marine Le Pen
An event is only as good as its headline act, and unfortunately Marine Le Pen’s annual National Front conference in 2018 had Steve Bannon topping the bill.
Bannon used the conference as an opportunity to tell the audience that being called a racist, a xenophobe or a nativist is “a badge of honour”. Four months later, he was advising Johnson.
In 2019, Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s anti-immigrant party Northern League, joined ‘The Movement’, a right-wing alliance founded by Bannon with the intention of creating a right-wing bloc in the European Parliament.
Bannon also advised Salvini to attack the Pope over his stance on refugees and migration, labelling him “the enemy” according to reports.
Salvini appears to have taken the advice on board, with a tweet from his account after the meeting reading: “The pope says migrants are not a danger. Whatever!”
Salvini is not the only European nationalist on Bannon’s speed dial.
In 2018, he boasted that he had met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, telling the right-wing strongman that he would deploy US pollsters in Hungary to help him build support.
Bannon also suggested that Hungary would make an ideal headquarters for ‘The Movement’.
Footage from The Brink also shows that Britain’s populist-in-chief Nigel Farage discussed fronting The Movement with Bannon, who said he would be “the perfect guy” to lead the group.
Bannon has previously described Farage as a “friend”, saying he is “quite competitive to be prime minister of England”.
The feeling appears to be mutual, with Farage thanking Bannon and his far right website Breitbart for their help in the EU referendum in a now deleted video.
With this motley crew making up Bannon’s allies, we can only wonder why Boris Johnson would want to join their ranks.