Boris Johnson today refused to deny considering a plum job or jobs for his future wife Carrie.
The Prime Minister was asked if he had “ever considered” her appointment to either a taxpayer-funded government post – or “any organisation in one of the royal households”.
It comes after the Mirror revealed the Prime Minister asked Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to approach the Royal Foundation which runs the Earthshot Prize in autumn 2020 – while she was his fiancee.
According to the Telegraph, the senior civil servant asked the Foundation if Mrs Johnson would be suitable for a communications role, and whether she could expect to be paid. The Palace is said to have decided it would be inappropriate.
It followed allegations Boris Johnson tried to make Carrie his £100,000-a-year, taxpayer-funded chief of staff two years earlier, when he was Foreign Secretary and she was his girlfriend.
The Mirror also reported a bid by the PM to get her a role as an ambassador on the COP 26 climate summit – vetoed by officials.
Boris Johnson was questioned at PMQs today
There is no suggestion that Mrs Johnson, who was on maternity leave with the couple’s first child at the time, was aware of her husband’s endeavours.
Downing Street has denied that the PM himself had ordered Mr Case to approach the charity.
But No10 has not denied that he had been involved in discussions about it, or that Mr Case made an approach.
And today Mr Johnson swerved the question – instead referring to “non-existent jobs in the media”.
Carrie Johnson never took up any of the jobs that were reportedly discussed, so they were by definition non-existent.
Labour MP Chris Elmore asked Boris Johnson: “Has he ever considered the appointment of his current spouse to a government post or to any organisation in one of the royal households?
Mrs Johnson currently has a role at the Aspinall Foundation, an animal charity
AFP via Getty Images)
“Be honest Prime Minister – yes or no!”
As Tory MPs groaned loudly and Labour MPs echoed “yes or no!”, Boris Johnson replied: “I know why the party opposite wants tot talk about non-existent jobs in the media – because they don’t want to talk about what’s going on in the real world.
“I’m proud to say actually that we now have 620,000 people more in patrolled employment than before the pandemic began which would never have been possible if we’d listened to the right honourable gentleman opposite.”
Just hours after The Times published the claim about the Foreign Office job – first reported in a biography by Tory donor Lord Ashcroft – the story was mysteriously pulled.
The PM’s former top adviser Dominic Cummings has also alleged Mr Johnson wanted to appoint his wife to a Government job in late 2020.
Former Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan also mentioned in his diaries claims the then Carrie Symonds was being lined up as a special adviser.
A spokesman for Mrs Johnson said earlier this week: “This is an old story, as untrue now as it was then.”
Downing Street earlier confirmed members of Boris Johnson's team intervened after The Times published the claims about the Foreign Office job.
Mrs Johnson said the claim was "totally untrue" and No10 sources said it was a "grubby, discredited story".
A No10 spokesman said: "I think my political colleagues over the weekend made clear that the story is not true, as has Mrs Johnson's spokesperson."
Today, the PM's Press Secretary said: “The PM never recommended Mrs Johnson for a government role or one as part of the Earthshot Prize.” But she added she “cannot speak to any details of private conversations that may or may not have happened.”