Downing Street contacted The Times before a story about Carrie Johnson was dropped by the paper, it has been confirmed.
An article in the first edition of Saturday’s paper claimed Boris Johnson wanted to make Carrie the Foreign Office chief of staff on a salary of around £100,000 while he was foreign secretary.
It is understood the pair were in a relationship at the time, although Johnson was still married to his previous wife, Marina Wheeler.
The idea was reportedly scrapped after Johnson’s advisers intervened.
The Times published the story in its first edition on Saturday, but it did not run in later editions or online.
The PM’s official spokesman today confirmed that Number 10 contacted The Times after the story appeared.
He said: “We were approached before publication. We spoke to them after publication as well. I don’t know the exact timeline of it.”
However, the spokesman insisted the PM did not contact the paper himself.
He also said that while he could not comment on what Johnson did before he became PM, Downing Street officials and Carrie Johnson’s spokeswoman have denied the Times story.
He said: “I would point you to the denials and statements put out by Mrs Johnson on this and other Number colleagues over the weekend.”
Simon Walters, the journalist who write the story, told The Guardian: “I stand by the story. I went to all the relevant people over two days. Nobody offered me an on-the-record denial and Downing St didn’t deny it off the record either.”
The prime minister’s spokesman also said claims by Dominic Cummings that the PM had tried to get his wife a government job between July and September, 2020, were “untrue”.