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JANE FRYER asks if crumpled, unstatesmanlike Boris is feeling the strain during his bid to be PM 

There comes a moment in every fledgling relationship – however promising – when the hot-cheeked joy starts to fade.

Pet names such as Bozzie Bear and Otter begin to lose their charm.

Peccadilloes – messiness, high passion, vaulting ambition and a disregard for money – once so endearing, suddenly start to become annoying.

And the challenges of co-habitation, of trying to blend two very different lives into one, begin to hit home.

Picking up some plonk? Boris is pictured at the till of a Tesco Express is Islington, near his former £3.75million five-bedroom family home,  at 8pm on Wednesday – 24 hours before night of row

Rucksack on back, crumpled as ever, he was in a hurry and, according to a witness, Boris was looking 'certainly not statesmanlike' as he rushed in to browse the two-for-one wine offers

Rucksack on back, crumpled as ever, he was in a hurry and, according to a witness, Boris was looking ‘certainly not statesmanlike’ as he rushed in to browse the two-for-one wine offers

And just perhaps – if you’re used to living in a five-storey £3.75million family home in Islington and hoping to be become prime minister in the next few weeks – you might ask yourself why you’re cooped up in a two-bedroom flat in Camberwell with a girlfriend 24 years your junior who’s keen on yoga, healthy eating and protecting the environment.

If their recent humdinger of a row is anything to go by, Boris Johnson and 31-year-old Carrie Symonds seem to be past the honeymoon period. Well past it given Carrie’s cries of ‘get off me… get out of my flat!’ unhelpfully recorded by a neighbour in the early hours of Friday.

The row sounded nasty. Friends have been quick to deny they are on the verge of breaking up. Yet there are certainly signs that the carefully curated all-new, slim-fit, low-alcohol prime ministerial Boris is feeling the strain.

Last week, photographs of the inside of Boris’s Toyota provided a study of utter chaos – empty food cartons, water bottles, crumpled clothes, plastic bags, children’s books, crumbs and receipts.

Johnson is currently cooped up in a two-bedroom flat in Camberwell with a girlfriend Carrie Symonds, 24 years his junior who's keen on yoga, healthy eating and protecting the environment

Johnson is currently cooped up in a two-bedroom flat in Camberwell with a girlfriend Carrie Symonds, 24 years his junior who’s keen on yoga, healthy eating and protecting the environment

Carrie, pictured at the launch of Johnson's leadership bid. The couple have been receiving hate mail for weeks now and the entire vicinity of her flat is plastered with anti-Boris posters. They're even stuck to his Toyota's windscreen ¿ nestling amongst the unpaid parking tickets

Carrie, pictured at the launch of Johnson’s leadership bid. The couple have been receiving hate mail for weeks now and the entire vicinity of her flat is plastered with anti-Boris posters. They’re even stuck to his Toyota’s windscreen – nestling amongst the unpaid parking tickets

On Wednesday, he was spotted in a Tesco Express in Islington, close to his former marital home. Rucksack on back, crumpled as ever, he was in a hurry and, according to a witness, looking ‘certainly not statesmanlike’ as he rushed in to browse the two-for-one wine offers.

Two days later, he turned up at the Conservative hustings in Birmingham with one brightly patterned sock inside out and uncomfortably bunched, displaying a big chunk of pink ankle.

Perhaps all this is a result of the pressure he and Carrie have been under. They’ve been receiving hate mail for weeks now and the entire vicinity of her flat is plastered with anti-Boris posters. They’re even stuck to his Toyota’s windscreen – nestling amongst the unpaid parking tickets.

It's said that tensions have been growing between Boris and Conservative election guru Lynton Crosby over the fact that Carrie is becoming too involved in his campaign. Political insiders say she is keen to adopt a serious role behind the scenes, and is just as keen on No 10 as he is (pictured leaving Carrie's flat in south London)

It’s said that tensions have been growing between Boris and Conservative election guru Lynton Crosby over the fact that Carrie is becoming too involved in his campaign. Political insiders say she is keen to adopt a serious role behind the scenes, and is just as keen on No 10 as he is (pictured leaving Carrie’s flat in south London)

Such a public meltdown must be excruciating for Carrie, a PR professional, who has spent months letting it be known via ‘friends’ how in love the couple are.

On top of all this, it’s said that tensions have been growing between Boris and Conservative election guru Lynton Crosby over the fact that Carrie is becoming too involved in his campaign.

Political insiders say she is keen to adopt a serious role behind the scenes, and is just as keen on No 10 as he is.

There are growing concerns that her ambitions may be complicating his campaign. These are trials the couple have tried to face head-on, and together.

In April his eldest daughter, Lara Lettice Johnson-Wheeler, a journalist just five years younger than Carrie, wrote on Instagram that the past 12 months had been the 'hardest and most hurtful year of my life'. Last year, after details emerged that he had cheated on wife Marina Wheeler with Carrie, Lara reportedly told friends at a party that her father was a 'selfish b*****d'. Until this week he has been shacked up with Carrie in her south London home (pictured)

In April his eldest daughter, Lara Lettice Johnson-Wheeler, a journalist just five years younger than Carrie, wrote on Instagram that the past 12 months had been the ‘hardest and most hurtful year of my life’. Last year, after details emerged that he had cheated on wife Marina Wheeler with Carrie, Lara reportedly told friends at a party that her father was a ‘selfish b*****d’. Until this week he has been shacked up with Carrie in her south London home (pictured)

More difficult to weather together has been the fact that Boris is reportedly ‘devastated’ that his four older children, furious at his latest relationship, have ostracised both him and Carrie and have refused to even meet his girlfriend.

In April his eldest daughter, Lara Lettice Johnson-Wheeler, a journalist just five years younger than Carrie, wrote on Instagram that the past 12 months had been the ‘hardest and most hurtful year of my life’. Last year, after details emerged that he had cheated on wife Marina Wheeler with Carrie, Lara reportedly told friends at a party that her father was a ‘selfish b*****d’.

There have been persistent rumours that Boris, despite his well-documented infatuation with Carrie, privately regrets the end of his marriage to Marina – his extraordinarily long-suffering second wife, and mother to those four older children.

There have been persistent rumours that Boris, despite his well-documented infatuation with Carrie, (pictured together in March) privately regrets the end of his marriage to Marina ¿ his extraordinarily long-suffering second wife, and mother to those four older children

There have been persistent rumours that Boris, despite his well-documented infatuation with Carrie, (pictured together in March) privately regrets the end of his marriage to Marina – his extraordinarily long-suffering second wife, and mother to those four older children

Marina was happy to let Boris shine, to let him be 'front of house' as she busied herself in the shadows, paying the bills, sorting out the mortgage, raising their children, all while working full-time as a very successful barrister. She was calm while he was explosive. Carrie, of course, is not like Marina. As well as being dramatically younger, she is also volatile. Like Boris, she also enjoys being 'front of house' and is used to getting her own way. Pictured: Anti-Boris posters outside Carrie's Camberwell flat

Marina was happy to let Boris shine, to let him be ‘front of house’ as she busied herself in the shadows, paying the bills, sorting out the mortgage, raising their children, all while working full-time as a very successful barrister. She was calm while he was explosive. Carrie, of course, is not like Marina. As well as being dramatically younger, she is also volatile. Like Boris, she also enjoys being ‘front of house’ and is used to getting her own way. Pictured: Anti-Boris posters outside Carrie’s Camberwell flat

According to one friend of the couple, quoted in the Mail on Sunday: 'Boris is like a broken reed. The joy just seems to have gone out of him. He can't bear to live alone. He gets totally depressed if he's on his own.'

According to one friend of the couple, quoted in the Mail on Sunday: ‘Boris is like a broken reed. The joy just seems to have gone out of him. He can’t bear to live alone. He gets totally depressed if he’s on his own.’

She is the woman who stuck by him despite his rackety private life and seemingly endless affairs, and provided him with the domestic stability he so craved after a childhood stained by his father’s relentless infidelities and his mother Charlotte’s breakdown.

Some sources close to the Johnson family say the breakdown of his 25-year union has left him so deeply disturbed that he is ‘all over the place’ and ‘psychologically unfit’ to be in another long-term relationship, let alone be prime minister.

According to one friend of the couple, quoted in the Mail on Sunday: ‘Boris is like a broken reed. The joy just seems to have gone out of him. He can’t bear to live alone. He gets totally depressed if he’s on his own.’

Marina was happy to let Boris shine, to let him be ‘front of house’ as she busied herself in the shadows, paying the bills, sorting out the mortgage, raising their children, all while working full-time as a very successful barrister.

She was calm while he was explosive. Carrie, of course, is not like Marina. As well as being dramatically younger, she is also volatile. Like Boris, she also enjoys being ‘front of house’ and is used to getting her own way.

According to her former boyfriend of three years Oliver Haiste, interviewed in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday, life with Carrie involved ‘an electrifying dose of dramatic and often fiery conflict’. He added: ‘When times were good with Carrie they were great – they were fantastic. When times were bad they were awful…’

The pair have been forced to flee their Camberwell home after protesters descended on it this week. It comes after their neighbours Eve Leigh (pictured) and Tom Penn released a recording of the couple arguing to the police and the Guardian newspaper

The pair have been forced to flee their Camberwell home after protesters descended on it this week. It comes after their neighbours Eve Leigh (pictured) and Tom Penn released a recording of the couple arguing to the police and the Guardian newspaper

‘She can go in completely the opposite direction and possibly, in my view, to excess.’

But Carrie is also beautiful, driven, feisty, waspishly gossipy, ambitious and charming. It is easy to see how Boris fell for her. And he has, according to friends, done everything in his power to make it work.

He took her on romantic breaks to Greece and the Amalfi coast, agreed to a divorce from Marina and threw a grenade into his relationship with his children.

At her encouragement he lost weight, cut down on booze and meat and got a decent haircut. He’s even taken up yoga, for goodness sake!

With largely positive results, she has also encouraged him to champion environmental issues, embrace feminist campaigns and distance himself from the unreconstructed Boris of old, who referred to women as ‘fillies’ and joked about how voting Tory would ‘increase the size of your girlfriend’s breasts’.

According to her former boyfriend of three years Oliver Haiste,(pictured together in 2007)  interviewed in yesterday's Mail on Sunday, life with Carrie involved 'an electrifying dose of dramatic and often fiery conflict'. He added: 'When times were good with Carrie they were great ¿ they were fantastic. When times were bad they were awful¿'

According to her former boyfriend of three years Oliver Haiste,(pictured together in 2007)  interviewed in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday, life with Carrie involved ‘an electrifying dose of dramatic and often fiery conflict’. He added: ‘When times were good with Carrie they were great – they were fantastic. When times were bad they were awful…’ 

For months, they glowed. They weren’t troubled by the age difference, the endless bitter fallout that comes from an illicit affair, or their very different backgrounds.

Carrie, herself the product of an extra-marital liaison, was born in London in 1988. She excelled at pretty much everything at the £20,000-a-year Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith, west London, and later went to Warwick, where she gained a first-class honours degree in theatre studies and history of art.

But politics was always her passion. She joined Conservative HQ fresh from university, became a Tory press officer in 2009 and was soon cutting a swathe through the competition.

She worked on the successful ‘Back Boris’ campaign to re-elect Johnson as London mayor in 2012 and, following the 2015 general election, was appointed a special adviser to the then culture secretary John Whittingdale.

Carrie, herself the product of an extra-marital liaison, was born in London in 1988. She excelled at pretty much everything at the £20,000-a-year Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith, west London, and later went to Warwick, where she gained a first-class honours degree in theatre studies and history of art (pictured at a anti-whaling rally in January)

Carrie, herself the product of an extra-marital liaison, was born in London in 1988. She excelled at pretty much everything at the £20,000-a-year Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith, west London, and later went to Warwick, where she gained a first-class honours degree in theatre studies and history of art (pictured at a anti-whaling rally in January) 

In the wake of the 2017 election, she was appointed as the Tories’ communications director, and named the UK’s second most powerful public relations professional by PR Week magazine.

Many friends consider she had found her perfect match in Boris and was, as their row shows, sufficiently feisty to stand up to his legendary temper. A temper which Sonia Purnell, author of Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition, describes as the fiercest and most uncontrollable she has ever seen.

‘His normally jokey demeanour flashes into a sarcastic snarl, his skin reddens and blotches,’ she said.

‘His eyes dart into an intense narrow glare and on the worse occasions his lips curl back to reveal wisps of spittle.’

Many friends consider she had found her perfect match in Boris (pictured at leadership hustings last week) and was, as their row shows, sufficiently feisty to stand up to his legendary temper. A temper which Sonia Purnell, author of Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition, describes as the fiercest and most uncontrollable she has ever seen

Many friends consider she had found her perfect match in Boris (pictured at leadership hustings last week) and was, as their row shows, sufficiently feisty to stand up to his legendary temper. A temper which Sonia Purnell, author of Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition, describes as the fiercest and most uncontrollable she has ever seen 

Judging from what we know of their recent row, it was Carrie doing most of the shouting. Of course it was. After all, how attractive is a 55-year-old man, old enough to be your father, spilling wine on your sofa and not giving a fig? ‘You just don’t care for anything because you’re spoilt,’ she yelled. ‘You have no care for money or anything!’

Boris has always had a casual disregard for other people’s cash, and considered tedious financial matters beneath him. Which explains the parking tickets all over his car.

But he is not the only one looking rather pained. Lately Carrie seems to have lost her glow, too.

At the press conference to launch his leadership bid, she seemed anxious and, by her standards, rather downbeat in her long Karen Millen print dress.

Perhaps, with the political circus surrounding her, she was beginning to fully realise what a challenge she had taken on in Boris.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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