As Lord Ashcroft sticks the knife into feckless ‘first lady’ Carrie Johnson, this deservedly called out power crazy spendaholic’s regime comes crashing down
Carrie Johnson is very much fair game given her clear arrogance and busybodying in a place where she has no elected position.
The first Prime Minister’s wife in modern history to be overtly political herself – an arena even the equally derided barrister Cherie Blair didn’t delve too far into whilst her husband was in office – the current Mrs Johnson was astoundingly named as one of twenty-eight disruptors who’ll shape 2022 by Politico Europe in December last year in spite of the fact that she has no formal role in government.
Now, with this morning’s bombshell from Lord Ashcroft – a billionaire senior member and once bigtime financial supporter of the Conservative party – with the announcement of the serialisation of his biography of Britain’s current “first lady” in The Mail on Sunday, the innards of this feckless 33-year-old’s “regime” are set to be further highlighted.
Features on the wench formerly known as Carrie Symonds and nicknamed ‘Carrie Antoinette,’ ‘Carrie On Regardless,’ ‘Princess Nut Nut’ and ‘Ann Boleyn’ variously in The Steeple Times have attracted huge amounts of attention in the last months and it is for good reason given her “tempestuous” nature and “interfering” antics.
Our revelation of Mrs Johnson’s links with a charity, Oceana, in which the now convicted sex offender Ghislaine Maxwell was very heavily involved prior to her arrest have been excused by some as simply “poor judgment.” However, that this daughter of the co-founder of The Independent also did not have the independence of mind to not realise that dating a man, Oliver Haiste (sometimes spelt ‘Haste’), with links to the far-right Traditional Britain Group and who was exposed by the BBC for a hoax involving the Russian news corporation Pravda International is another.
Wine chucker Miss Johnson, a woman whose antics gyrating to Abba with her well-rewarded financially in office best mates Josh Grimstone and Henry Newman, has in recent weeks also been the centre of investigations into ‘Partygate’ and, of course, equally the £112,000 spent on ghastly decorations by Lulu Lytle and £28,000 of organic nosh from Lady Bamford’s Daylesford illustrate her Barbara Amiel-like ways. “Extravagance knows no bounds” for either of those women, but despite being clad in £2,900 a pop gowns by Christos Costarello, Mrs Johnson’s impact thus far has only to make Downing Street develop the stench of sordidness and the stink of a slurry pit.
Yesterday, The Guardian’s Rowena Mason and Heather Stewart asked: “Carrie Johnson: puppet master of Downing Street – or easy target?” in a column. They observed:
“Former Downing Street insiders report feeling Carrie could make her husband change his mind, sometimes overnight, on an issue they thought was already agreed.
“The prime minister would also tell aides that if he didn’t take a particular course of action, it would anger his wife.”
“They also reported Johnson himself receiving scores of messages from her during the working day – and Carrie Johnson repeatedly calling his staff, insisting the prime minister be hauled out of meetings to talk to her.”
Now, tellingly of the power play at the heart of their marriage just as five aides have already fled for the hills, in First Lady: Intrigue at the Court of Carrie and Boris Johnson, Lord Ashcroft quotes the Prime Minister as telling aides: “Don’t do anything that’s going to make [Carrie] torture me when I get home. You’ve just got to help me. My life at home’s miserable. You’ve got to find a way to make this bearable for me.”
Of his book this morning, Lord Ashcroft explained: “As the first prime ministerial consort with a political career of her own, I believe she easily warrants a biography.”
“Indeed, as the Conservative Party’s communications director and special adviser to two government ministers, she was an influential figure long before she moved into No. 10 Downing Street in July 2019.”
“Of course, when I set out to learn more about her, I could have had no idea that six months later she would find herself accused by an increasing number of people of being involved in a series of scandals which threaten to derail her husband’s premiership.”
“I had no agenda other than to write accurately about what I found – but what I found surprised me.”
“Her evident ambition soon came to the fore… She also emerged as a rather divisive figure. Some colleagues felt that she considered herself above them – there is a story that she claimed she had fractured her leg as a ruse to wangle a better hotel during a party conference – and her vivacity was felt to be at odds with the more routine duties of the press office. Perhaps her undoubted ability to charm journalists and MPs inspired envy.”
“The accounts I have heard of the way she interfered in Johnson’s leadership campaign in 2019 are staggering, as are the effect of her strong opinions on staffing matters once the couple had reached Downing Street.”
“Many of the sources who contributed to my biography had kept their stories about Carrie private until now. Some even said they were motivated to talk because it was in the public interest to do so.”
“The buck stops with him – but the evidence I have gathered suggests his wife’s behaviour is preventing him from leading Britain as effectively as the voters deserve.”
“Friends of Johnson and his former wife, Marina Wheeler QC, say they cannot imagine so many scandals existing if she were with him now. ‘Marina was a very important influence on Boris,’ one said. Her actions have adversely affected other women’s careers.”
“He has gone from being with a maternal figure who managed him rather like a chief executive to an arrangement where Carrie ‘who is demanding rather than supplying’. This person goes on: ‘I think it’s the biggest explanation of the dysfunctionality inside Number 10.’”
“Readers of my book can judge for themselves what Carrie’s actions say about her relationship with the PM and what they mean for the way Britain has been run under his premiership.”
“One of his closest Cabinet allies has told sources quoted in my book that they believe Carrie is ‘the No 1 problem’ in Johnson’s administration.”
“Many will wonder if it would be better for the country if the minister in question had the courage to tell the PM this to his face. As for Carrie Johnson, if she wants to help decide what the Government does and who works in it, maybe she should think about standing for election.”