No 10 reiterates denials Boris Johnson tried to hire Carrie as his chief of staff in Foreign Office

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British Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson (Henry Nicholls/PA) (PA Wire)
British Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson (Henry Nicholls/PA) (PA Wire)

Downing Street on Monday reiterated denials that the Prime Minister attempted to place his then girlfriend in a £100,000 a year Government job while he was Foreign Secretary, and suggestions No 10 suppressed the story when it appeared in the press.

Over the weekend the Times reported claims that Boris Johnson had tried to hire his now wife, Carrie, as his chief of staff in the Foreign Office.

It alleged Mr Johnson’s advisers had strongly objected to the idea of Mrs Johnson, then known as Carrie Symonds, being hired while they were having an “illicit relationship” because she was “relatively inexperienced”.

Mr Johnson was at the time married to his second wife Marina Wheeler.

The story appeared on page 5 of some early editions of Saturday’s Times newspaper, but was pulled from later print copies and online editions without explanation.

On Monday, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said the reason the story was scrapped was a “question for the publisher”.

He added: “It has been made clear by political colleagues in Number 10 and Mrs Johnson’s spokesperson that it is not true.”

Times editor, John Witherow, is reported to be away and his deputy Tony Gallagher edited the newspaper over the weekend.

Sources told the Guardian he made the call to drop the story from later editions.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman said the PM has not spoken directly to Mr Gallagher about the story.

“We were approached before publication, we spoke to them after publication as well,” he said.

He added that he “did not know the exact time lines” of when No 10 staff spoke to the newspaper and he did not know whether the Prime Minister would seek a correction from the Times.

Veteran lobby journalist Simon Walters, who wrote the story, said he stands by the report and it was not denied before publication.

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