Boris Johnson 'upped game with showboating gestures' says body language expert

Boris Johnson has ‘upped his game’ as Prime Minister with some ‘showboating gestures’ at the G7 summit, according to a body language expert.

Judi James says that Prime Minister was almost ‘joker-in-chief’ at his first summit with world leaders since becoming Prime Minister.

Looking at photos and video of how Mr Johnson interacted with Donald Tusk Judi wrote: “Although shots of Tusk often show him grim-faced and rather aggressive-looking he does appear to possess quite a dry sense of humour, which was apparent in his body language at the start of this meeting with joker-in-chief Boris.

“His eyes were crinkled during their handshake, when both men grinned in a way to suggest their sparring would be fun.

Boris Johnson reaches out for a handshake first

Before Donald Tusk responds to the gesture


“It was Boris who upped the game by several show-boating gestures for the benefit of the cameras, emphatically miming victory and success before the negotiations had started.

“The moment their shake ended Boris performed a double thumbs-up gesture, lifting his hands to chest level in a ritual that would normally signal a win and that everyone was happy with the outcome.

“He also clapped his hands together as though to suggest utter delight and enthusiasm for the discussions that were to follow.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with President of the European Council Donald Tusk


“These gestures of pre-fight win are often used by boxers to intimidate and frustrate their opponents and in Tusk’s case the ploy seemed to be working at first.

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“Tusk responded with some show-boating of his own though, laughingly leaning right out of his chair to grab Boris’s arm in a clawing grip while raising his other hand in a palm-out ‘stop’ sign.

“He used the same level of humour as Boris but his message was clear: that it was far to early for Boris to even be thinking of any form of victory at that point.

Judi James says that the Prime Minister was almost ‘joker-in-chief’

The two speak at the G7 summit in Biarritz


“Not willing to lose the moment though, Boris raised his index finger to make it look as though he was correcting Tusk.

“When Tusk’s face falls into repose we can glimpse the tougher side to the man and at this meeting there were moments between all the playful ‘fun’ where his face did fall into a much sterner expression, with a rather cold eye gaze that looked away reflectively.

“Boris’s fallback expression didn’t change one jot though and he smiled throughout the ritual, suggesting he might genuinely believe he can win their negotiation via charm and boyish humour.

The two were happy to pose up for the cameras

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“Tusk clearly allowed Boris to believe the pair share bonds of humour-based empathy but his body language flips between fun good cop and scary bad cop formed what can be a well-known trick of pretend empathy during a tough negotiation and hopefully the PM doesn’t get lulled into a sense of false security during their negotiations by the man he sees as his new fun friend.

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