Boris Johnson fails to deny that Carrie was considered for Foreign Office and royal jobs

·4 min read
There have been reports of numerous jobs which the Prime Minister is said to have tried to appoint Carrie Johnson to - Ian Vogler/AP
There have been reports of numerous jobs which the Prime Minister is said to have tried to appoint Carrie Johnson to - Ian Vogler/AP

Boris Johnson has not denied claims that his wife, Carrie, had been considered for senior roles in the Government and Royal household, as he was mocked by Sir Keir Starmer over wanting to appoint her.

Urged by Chris Elmore, a Labour MP, to “be honest” with the House of Commons and say if he ever considered appointing Ms Johnson to one of the posts, the Prime Minister did not give a straight answer.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, he said: “I know why Labour members want to talk about non-existent jobs in the media – because they do not want to talk about what is going on in the real world.”

It comes amid a week of half-denials by the Prime Minister and Downing Street, following reports of numerous jobs to which he is said to have tried to appoint Mrs Johnson.

This allegedly included a £100,000 role in the Foreign Office while Mr Johnson was foreign secretary, at the time the two were reportedly having an affair.

A spokesman for Mrs Johnson has described the claims as "totally untrue".

When Mr Johnson accused the Labour leader of having ill-discipline on his benches after 25 of his MPs defied his orders to join picket lines, Sir Keir mocked him over the alleged attempts to appoint his now-wife.

“I am surprised the Prime Minister is giving me advice about my team,” he told the Commons.

“If I do need advice, let us say, about a £100,000 job at the Foreign Office, I will ask him for a recommendation.”

The Prime Minister’s press secretary did not refute the claims following the exchange, but said that he never “recommended” Ms Johnson for a government role or a role with the Royal family.

Asked if Mr Johnson's failure to deny this was effectively confirmation it was true, the press secretary said on Wednesday: "I don't think we've got anything further to add on this. We've obviously been asked about it several times. There are various different reports.

"On the report from yesterday, as we've said, the Prime Minister never recommended Ms Johnson for a government role or one as part of the Earthshot Prize.

"I obviously can't speak to any details of private conversations that may or may not have happened. But I think the facts speak for themselves that Ms Johnson did not apply for or was offered any role."

A spokesman for Mrs Johnson has described the claims surrounding the government role as "totally untrue". She denied the claims that she had been discussed for the royal job. There is no suggestion that she ever applied formally for the role or knew that her husband’s advisers had suggested the idea.

“The PM was thinking about whether there was something she could do but I don’t think she was aware of any of this,” said a third source familiar with discussions.

It comes following reports that while Mrs Johnson was engaged to the Prime Minister, he sought to secure her a role as green ambassador in the run-up to Cop26 or as communications director for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's Earthshot Prize.

The Prime Minister reportedly tried to secure Carrie Johnson a role as green ambassador in the run-up to Cop26 or as communications director for the Earthshot Prize - Leon Neal/Getty Images
The Prime Minister reportedly tried to secure Carrie Johnson a role as green ambassador in the run-up to Cop26 or as communications director for the Earthshot Prize - Leon Neal/Getty Images

On Wednesday, The Telegraph revealed that an attempt to secure her a role with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s charity was rejected, because it was felt to be inappropriate for the Prime Minister’s fiancée to work with the royals.

Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary who recently escaped a fine for partygate, approached the Royal Foundation in April 2020 after the birth of the couple’s first child, Wilfred.

Mr Case was subsequently given a “quiet rebuke” over the suggestion, as it was “kicked into the long grass”. Officials are understood to have thought that the relationship would risk undermining the neutrality of the Royal family’s work.

Mrs Johnson’s spokesman on Tuesday night denied the claims that she had been discussed for the royal job.

The Prime Minister’s refusal to deny the reports in Parliament comes amid weeks of scrutiny that he has, and is willing to, break the ministerial code, resulting in the resignation of Lord Geidt, his ethics advisor.

Lord Geidt earlier this week clarified his position over his resignation, saying that he saw steel tariffs as “simply one example” of deliberate breaches of the ministerial code by Mr Johnson and the Government.

Mr Johnson is currently under investigation by the privileges committee over whether he deliberately misled Parliament over partygate.

The committee is expected to make a decision by the autumn, when it will submit its findings to Parliament. Some MPs have speculated that could lead to a House of Commons vote to remove him.

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