Row over Carrie Symonds’s influence on Number 10 deepens as Tory MP defends her

Sophia Sleigh
·2-min read
<p>Some supporters of Ms Symonds have suggested that briefings against her have been sexist   </p> (Getty Images)

Some supporters of Ms Symonds have suggested that briefings against her have been sexist

(Getty Images)

The row over Carrie Symonds’s influence in Downing Street deepened today as a Tory MP described briefings against her as “distasteful”.

Laura Trott, MP for Sevenoaks, defended the Prime Minister’s fiancée when asked about briefing wars that are again engulfing No 10. Extraordinary allegations emerged over the weekend including that Boris Johnson’s dog Dilyn became caught in the crossfire between allies of ousted adviser Dominic Cummings and Ms Symonds.

Ms Trott, who worked in the No 10 Policy Unit during David Cameron’s premiership, told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: “I used to work with Carrie, she’s an incredibly talented and able person and I think there should be some consideration given… about whether some of these things would be said about a man. It’s very distasteful and I think it’s incredibly unnecessary.”

Some supporters of Ms Symonds have suggested that briefings against her have been sexist after she was labelled “Princess Nut Nut” by allies of Mr Cummings.

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Defenders say she is an expert in politics, having served as the Conservative Party’s head of communications, and is a valuable adviser to Mr Johnson. Last year, those close to her briefed that she was instrumental in having the powerful aide removed.

Now Mr Cummings has been accused in the Mail on Sunday of being behind allegations that Dilyn cocked his leg over a No 10 aide’s handbag and chewed on antique furniture and books at the Prime Minister’s countryside retreat.

It was claimed that Mr Cummings has a grudge against Dilyn because the dog once “humped his leg” during a No 10 away day at Chequers — and that the pet is now being used to fight a proxy war against the PM’s fiancée.

Ms Symonds is believed to have played a pivotal role in ousting members of the Vote Leave faction, including Mr Cummings, from No 10. One of the last remaining members of the faction left Downing Street on Friday.

Oliver Lewis, the PM’s former adviser on the Union, reportedly quit after Mr Johnson accused him of briefing against Michael Gove.

The PM has been urged to get a grip on his warring Downing Street factions before an expected reshuffle. The latest clash comes after conservative think tank the Bow Group, which has Lord Tebbit and Lord Lamont among its patrons, called for an independent investigation into the “unaccountable” influence that Ms Symonds exerts in government.

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