Female MPs condemn treatment of former Tory aide linked to Boris Johnson

Posted On: 
13th September 2018

Female MPs from across the political divide have joined a coalition of ex-advisers and journalists to condemn the press treatment of an ex-Tory aide linked to allegations about Boris Johnson’s private life.

Boris Johnson has split from his wife Marina Wheeler
PA Images

In an open letter, they argued the way Carrie Symonds had been treated was “appalling, and must never happen again”.

The former CCHQ communications director is said to have become close to the ex-foreign secretary amid coverage of his marriage breakdown.

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Some newspapers have printed photos of her from social media dating back over a decade and spoken to former colleagues who were disparaging about her character.

The open letter was organised by journalist Marie Le Conte and signed by Sports Minister Tracey Crouch as well as fellow Tories Nicky Morgan and Anna Soubry and Labour MP Stella Creasy.

It was also backed by former political advisers Emma Barr, Ayesha Hazarika, and Polly Mackenzie, plus journalists including Kate Maltby and Jane Merrick.

It said: “We all work in or around politics, and have been disturbed and shocked to watch the way Carrie Symonds has been treated by the media.”

It added: “We are united in thinking that the way she has been treated is appalling, and must never happen again.”

And it said: “Being a woman in politics isn’t easy, and each of us has had to overcome a lot to get to where we are, and so has she...

“We are often treated in a way that men wouldn’t be, and this debacle is only the latest example of a political and media culture still steeped in misogyny.

“It is often asked why women are hesitant to get into political journalism, become MPs, or simply start a career in Westminster; incidents like this go some way towards explaining why.

“To the journalists and editors who have used a news story as an excuse to infringe on the personal life of a young woman and titillate their readers, and the people in Westminster who have helped them make this shameful coverage happen, we say: do better. Be better.”