POLITICS
22/02/2021 12:48 GMT | Updated 22/02/2021 14:40 GMT

No.10 Dismisses Claims Carrie Symonds Has A 'Central Role' In Government

A Tory think tank had called for an inquiry into the influence of Boris Johnson’s fiancée.

Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Britain's prime minister Boris Johnson with partner Carrie Symonds

Downing Street has dismissed suggestions that Boris Johnson’s fiancée Carrie Symonds is playing a “central role” in governing the country.

The prime minister’s press secretary Allegra Stratton described such claims as “incorrect”, pointing out that Symonds has taken up a new job as head of communications for the Aspinall Foundation.

It came after the Bow Group, a Tory think tank, called for an inquiry to determine her role in “governing” the UK, amid concern over her influence in No.10.

Symonds has become embroiled in a storm of briefings about a power struggle between competing factions inside No.10 after two of her allies, Baroness Finn and Henry Newman, were appointed as key Downing Street advisers.

Their appointments were followed by the resignation last week of former Vote Leave staffer and Dominic Cummings ally Oliver Lewis as head of No.10’s union unit, amid claims that the PM accused him of briefing journalists against Symonds’ ally Newman.

Key Johnson adviser Lord Frost, who worked closely with Lewis on Brexit negotiations, was also given a surprise promotion to the cabinet as the power struggle played out last week.

Some anonymous sources have briefed newspapers claiming Symonds’ influence hung over the wrangling.

But Stratton dismissed the claims.

Asked about the Bow Group’s suggestion that Symonds was playing a “central role in running the country, without any authority or accountability to do so”, Stratton told reporters: “It’s incorrect. The PM’s fiancée is on maternity leave, she’s raising their son Wilf and shortly she will be taking up a new role at wildlife charity the Aspinall Foundation.”

She later corrected herself, saying Symonds was no longer on maternity leave and had in fact started her new job at the end of January.

Stratton also stressed that the prime minister’s focus has been on the road map to lifting the coronavirus lockdown, which he will unveil on Monday.

Editor’s note: This piece initially said – as stated by No.10 – that Carrie Symonds was on maternity leave and had yet to take up her job at the Aspinall Foundation. Following a clarification from No.10, this has been amended.