Carrie Johnson insists she is target of 'brutal briefing campaign' by PM's 'enemies'

7 February 2022, 00:01 | Updated: 7 February 2022, 00:45

Carrie Johnson has insisted she "plays no role in Government".
Carrie Johnson has insisted she "plays no role in Government". Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Carrie Johnson has insisted that she "plays no role in Government" and has been targeted by "enemies" of Boris Johnson in a "brutal briefing campaign".

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Ms Johnson issued a rare statement through her spokesperson on Sunday evening, after it was suggested by a Cabinet minister that she was coming "under scrutiny in a way that perhaps other Prime Ministers' spouses weren't" in the past.

It comes after a biography of the 33-year-old, by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft, was serialised in the Mail over the weekend, which made claims about her alleged influence over the PM's decision-making.

Writing in the paper, Lord Ashcroft said his research had suggested her "behaviour is preventing [Boris Johnson] from leading Britain as effectively as the voters deserve".

However, allies have dismissed the criticism as sexist, and a spokesperson for Ms Johnson said on Sunday: "Yet again Ms Johnson has been targeted by a brutal briefing campaign against her by enemies of her husband.

"This is just the latest attempt by bitter ex-officials to discredit her.

"She is a private individual who plays no role in Government."

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It has been alleged that Ms Johnson was caught up in a number of scandals involving the Prime Minister, including suggestions she pushed for the luxury redecoration of the flat the couple share in Downing Street and was key in the evacuation of animals from the Nowzad charity from Kabul.

No10 has denied Mr and Ms Johnson had any involvement in the evacuation.

It was also reported that she was present at a surprise birthday bash for the PM on June 19 2020, which 30 people attended.

A No10 spokesperson previously confirmed that Mr Johnson attended the event but insisted he was there for less than 10 minutes and that people gathered "briefly".

However, at the time, the first lockdown had been imposed and strict rules against indoor gatherings were in place.

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Labour MP Jess Phillips has previously labelled criticism of Ms Johnson as "sexist" and "ageist".

She said there had been briefing by "men who don't like Carrie Symonds because they don't have the influence they want to have".

She added: "I have literally seen no evidence in my day-to-day life that Carrie Symonds [has too much influence].

"In some regards, maybe I'd like her to have more - she's quite a feminist."

Tory MP Tracey Crouch has also spoken about how she disliked the way that Ms Johnson had been portrayed as a Lady Macbeth figure.