A top Tory reckons the only way Boris can survive will be to ‘clear out the woke crowd and the green fanatics’ in Downing Street.
But if Boris wants to follow that advice from former Brexit Minister Lord Frost, he has one huge problem. And her name is Carrie.
The Tories are conducting a civil war in the shadow of multiple scandals.
If Partygate and the Sue Gray and police investigations weren’t enough to worry about, there’s now a new riddle as to whether 100 stray dogs and dozens of animal rescue charity workers were flown back to the UK from Afghanistan – instead of translators under threat of death from the Taliban – because Boris is alleged to have intervened.
Boris may bluster that the allegations he prioritised pets over people in the airlift from Kabul was ‘rhubarb’ but leaked emails strongly suggest otherwise.
According to one animal charity worker, they ‘reached out’ to Carrie Johnson to ask for help and can’t understand why she’s saying nothing.
Carrie Johnson – or Princess Nut Nut as the PM’s former Chief Advisor Dominic Cummings privately referred to her when he was competing to attract Boris Johnson’s attention – doesn’t say much in public. But her controversial influence is everywhere
Is this yet another example of the Prime Minister’s wife using her position to further one of her favourite causes?
Carrie Johnson – or Princess Nut Nut as the PM’s former Chief Advisor Dominic Cummings privately referred to her when he was competing to attract Boris Johnson’s attention – doesn’t say much in public. But her controversial influence is everywhere.
She’s a new kind of consort. Unelected, but full of strong opinions, she’s not afraid to articulate on social media. Is that good news for the Tories? Or is the pervasive influence of Carrie Antoinette part of the reason they are in turmoil?
Being Prime Minister – especially if you are as disorganised and chaotic as Boris – is a draining, demanding job. Should your partner be supportive, silent in public and 100% loyal?
The last thing I’d want at the end of a long day spent arguing about tax reform is a discussion about Badger culls and plastic pollution or about the female to male ratio in the workplace.
A top Tory reckons the only way Boris can survive will be to ‘clear out the woke crowd and the green fanatics’ in Downing Street. But if Boris wants to follow that advice from former Brexit Minister Lord Frost (above), he has one huge problem. And her name is Carrie
Personally, I wholeheartedly agree with most of Carrie’s pet causes – but is her behind-the-scenes woke campaigning hindering Boris in his desperate bid to stay afloat?
Prime Ministers usually come with unelected spouses – Carrie is the youngest in 173 years – married to one of the most controversial and divisive figures in British politics.
Someone who 60% of the population now say they have no faith in, with a popularity rating of minus 46.
What can she contribute to alleviate the situation? Organising a birthday bash for a 56-year-old chap in the middle of the day during lockdown and ‘ambushing’ him with an ill-timed Union Jack cake seems a waste of her talents. Posing at climate summits in rented frocks is decorative, but useful?
Cherie Blair and Samantha Cameron both had successful careers in law and business long before their partners were elected and they worked throughout their husband’s time in office.
Denis Thatcher – also a successful businessman – was Maggie’s rock, loyal to the core.
Carrie is a new kind of consort. Unelected, but full of strong opinions, she’s not afraid to articulate on social media. Is that good news for the Tories? Or is the pervasive influence of Carrie Antoinette part of the reason they are in turmoil?
Theresa May’s partner Phillip was a dignified unassuming chap who made her beans on toast and a large Scotch when the going got tough. Both men said very little during their time in Downing Street.
I can’t see Carrie following their example – she’s built her career on spin and fluff, in public relations. Pushing campaigns – be it animal rights or trans rights – is part of her DNA.
Twenty-four years younger than her thrice married husband, she’s full of energy and enthusiasm in an environment where trading loyalties and subjugating principles for advantage are commonplace.
Unlike Boris, her career had hardly got going when they shacked up together and now she has a very young family and is stuck in a flat above the office. She must be desperate to do more than just advise charitable foundations about how to burnish their image.
By all accounts she was a party-lover and highly social animal when working at Conservative headquarters.
Denis Thatcher – also a successful businessman – was Maggie’s rock, loyal to the core. Theresa May’s partner Phillip was a dignified unassuming chap who made her beans on toast and a large Scotch when the going got tough. Both men said very little during their time in Downing Street. I can’t see Carrie following their example
Like the rest of us, Carrie was trapped at home for months on end unable to go out, which must be frustrating for someone so ambitious.
Carrie Johnson left the University of Warwick with a degree in Art History and Theatre Studies.
That tells you a lot about how she operates. It’s not the usual path into Tory politics – law, philosophy, economics and history degrees from Oxbridge.
She worked for Zac Goldsmith and the London Mayor re-election campaigns and then at the Tory HQ rising to become Head of Communications.
This striking young woman would have really stood out among the drab young nerds and dandruffy ageing males that populate these places.
According to one observer at the time, Carrie was ‘someone who likes the profile that came with the job, but when it came to the hard work, not so much’. She lasted just a couple of years before escaping to work for a charity.
Now, she’s well placed to offer Boris media advice and push her favourite causes – as well as trying to parachute her female pals into the predominately male environment of Downing Street.
Boris Johnson is paralysed on two fronts – to stay in office, he’s got to appease right wing Tories, who want him to dump the planned National Insurance rise in return for staying loyal.
Many of them don’t much care for Boris’s green agenda either if it means telling their Tory voters they can’t have a wood-burning stove or a conservatory and that there’s going to be a windfarm on the nearest hillside.
But his wife has another agenda – green and woke and a long way from traditional Tory values.
She has campaigned for animal rights, demonstrated against whaling, and been employed by Oceana, a US environmental charity.
She’s spoken out about trans rights, plastic pollution and female genital mutilation. All very worthy, but none of the above figure very highly with traditional Tory voters.
So Boris is stuck in the middle.
The PR catastrophe of Partygate has seen Carrie’s name pop up several times – at various events now being investigated by the police and Sue Gray.
We may have to wait weeks to find out exactly who attended the gathering in the Cabinet office organised by Carrie, and which appears to be bending the definition of what was permitted under Covid restrictions at the time.
She has given various differing accounts of her involvement.
We know she was present at Downing Street garden ‘events’ although according to one barrister, she might evade a fine because technically the garden went with the flat she lives in and could be considered permitted green space as it was attached to her ‘home’.
Boris has said he wants Britain to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Faced with soaring fuel bills, the cost of living rising and the threat of increased taxes, will voters really be interested in Carrie-approved expensive environmental policies which could add to council taxes?
People might say they want to save the planet with green policies, just like they ‘want’ the NHS to be funded properly – but they won’t vote for policies if it costs them more in taxes.
According to one Tory columnist, the Tories ‘will be sucked into a death spiral’ unless they stop the chaotic rot immediately.
To stay in office, Boris must clear out most of the Cabinet, chuck out all his advisors and appoint a single powerful CEO to oversee policies are carried out efficiently.
Funnily enough, I didn’t hear the name Carrie Johnson mentioned as a candidate.
She’s the one person in Boris’s team he can’t fire but she might be about to find out that politics is a brutal business nonetheless.