Number 10 Intervened Before Carrie Johnson Job Story Pulled From The Times
Number 10 has confirmed that members of the Prime Minister's team intervened before a story about his wife Carrie Johnson was withdrawn from publication in The Times – but denied that Boris Johnson was personally involved in the discussions.
The story in question, written by veteran political reporter Simon Walters, contained accusations that the Prime Minister tried to hire then-partner Carrie Symonds as his chief of staff in the Foreign Office while working as Foreign Secretary. The pair have since married.
It also alleges that when advisers heard of the plan, they managed to convince Johnson against it.
The story appeared on page five of The Times’ early print editions but was swiftly removed from late copies of the paper, as well as from online. The MailOnline, which also picked up the story, deleted its copy too.
Number 10 and Carrie Johnson strongly deny the allegations. However, Walters told The New European: “I stand by the story 100 per cent.”
“I was in lengthy and detailed communication with Number 10 at a high level, Ben Gascoigne and Mrs Johnson’s spokeswoman for up to 48 hours before the paper went to press,” the journalist said.
“At no point did any of them offer an on-the-record denial of any element of the story.”
Former Number 10 adviser Dominic Cummings also took to Twitter to claim the story was accurate.
"The 'missing story' (pulled by Times after no10 call Fri night) is true," he said.
"Walters repeatedly published accurate stories, e.g on illegal donations. Times pathetic to have folded & shd reverse ferret. Truth is worse!"
Over the weekend Twitter users, including former Times reporters, expressed confusion over why the story had been “mysteriously” pulled online. By Monday morning the hashtag “Carriegate” was trending on the platform.
A senior source at The Times denied to PoliticsHome that any discussions over between the Prime Minister and the paper’s editor Tony Gallagher took place regarding the matter. “It’s 100 per cent a lie,” they said. “It's just totally untrue.”
A senior Number 10 source told PoliticsHome: “You’ll be aware that he was in Ukraine on Friday and travelled back overnight.”
However, a spokesperson for Number 10 confirmed that members of the Prime Minister’s team spoke to the paper directly about the story after its initial publication.
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