A row broke out last night over allegations that Boris Johnson and his now wife Carrie broke Covid lockdown rules last Christmas by letting her best friend stay with them on Downing Street.
The prime minister denied claims in US Harper’s Magazine that political campaigner Nimco Ali “spent Christmas with the couple at number 10 despite pandemic restrictions on holiday gatherings.”
The article also said Ms Johnson “modelled” her wardrobe and public image after the Duchess of Cambridge, but it is “bitter” that the Duchess is getting better publicity.
Spokespersons for the Prime Minister and Ms Johnson said both claims were untrue.
The couple’s 4,500-word profile says Ms Johnson has “assembled an impressive courthouse around her,” while the prime minister is a “lone figure” and “quite scared” of her.
He is said to be spending ‘more and more time downstairs’ at number 10 reading – including a book by his ex-wife Marina Wheeler, because he ‘don’t want to take it upstairs’.
A row broke out last night over allegations that Boris Johnson and his current wife Carrie broke Covid lockdown rules last Christmas by letting her best friend stay with them in Downing Street.
The Harper article was written by Lara Prendergast, editor-in-chief of The Spectator magazine, edited by Mr Johnson before entering politics and who has strong ties to Downing Street.
In the piece, she describes how she made her claims at No. 10 at the Christmas gathering. She says a spokesperson told her that “the Prime Minister and Ms Johnson will adhere to coronavirus rules at all times” – but did not deny the claim.
She adds that Miss Ali, godmother to the Johnsons’ son, Wilfred, “failed to respond to repeated requests for comment.”
Last Christmas, London fell under Tier 4 restrictions, meaning people shouldn’t have mixed up with anyone outside their household, except in support and childcare bubbles.
It was later revealed that the role, for which she is paid £350 a day for about two days of work a month, was not publicly advertised.
Reports claim that Carrie’s best friend, political campaigner Nimco Ali, spent Christmas with the Johnsons at No. 10, despite lockdown restrictions on holiday gatherings
According to the profile, Miss Ali is “regularly sent out to fight for Carrie in the press.”
The article also suggests that Ms Johnson, 33, who married the prime minister in May and is now expecting their second child, sees the Duchess of Cambridge as a rival.
“Carrie would model both her fashion sense and her press activities on Catherine,” writes Miss Prendergast.
“A confidant told me that Carrie is often busy with the Duchess, expressing her bitterness at Kate’s ability to generate positive reports about herself in the British press.”
The claims were forcefully refuted last night. A spokesperson for No. 10 said: ‘The Prime Minister and Ms Johnson have followed coronavirus rules at all times. It is totally untrue to suggest otherwise.’
And a spokesperson for Ms Johnson said it was “nonsense” to suggest she was modeled on the Duchess of Cambridge or “bitter”.
The article also said Ms Johnson ‘modelled’ her wardrobe and public image on the Duchess of Cambridge, but it’s ‘bitter’ that the Duchess is getting better publicity
Elsewhere in the article, Ms. Prendergast praises “brand-focused” Ms. Johnson, a former head of communications at Tory headquarters, for cleaning up the prime minister’s “shabby image” and getting him to support “progressive” causes such as animal welfare and women’s rights. embrace.
She notes: “She saw in him a project… a man of enormous popularity but few allies and friends, a right-wing political beast that needs to be relaunched with the tastes of sensitive millennials in mind.
The Conservatives were known as the ‘nasty party’. They get cute under Carrie.”
The article says Ms Johnson has “assembled an impressive court around her and is more media savvy” than most ministers. But Miss Prendergast doubts her methods.
She writes: ‘The Downing Street news agency seems terrified of her. She’s said to give information to contacts to see where it shows up, and she’ll turn on those she doesn’t think she can trust.”
A 4,500-word profile of the couple claimed the Prime Minister is spending “increasingly more time downstairs” reading No. 10 — including The Lost Homestead, a book by his ex-wife Marina Wheeler, because he “don’t want to bring it up”
The magazine says Mr. Johnson is increasingly staying in his No. 10 den rather than joining his wife in their official flat.
It adds, “He likes to read The Spectator late at night,” a former assistant tells me. A copy of The Lost Homestead, his ex-wife Marina Wheeler’s new book (about her Indian heritage), is open in his office.’
The profile also challenges the way questions about aspects of Ms. Johnson’s behavior are brushed aside, adding, “Any attempt to examine her growing political influence is considered misogynistic.”
“In the past, a prime minister’s wife had to deal with minimal press interference … but the current situation is different.”
The article concludes: ‘To many people it seems… a little strange that a 33-year-old woman who specializes in political spin has such a clear influence on policy-making. She is unelected and in many ways inexplicable.’