When Boris Johnson found lately that his new spouse Carrie was to be the topic of a biography by Lord Ashcroft, he muttered loudly: ‘Effectively, she gained’t like that.’
The nerves contained in the Downing Road bunker are comprehensible.
Ashcroft’s unauthorised memoir of David Cameron in 2015 included a sensational declare that the longer term PM had taken half in an outrageous ‘initiation ceremony’, involving a lifeless pig’s head, for a riotous Oxford pupil society. (He later known as the declare ‘false and ludicrous’.)
Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds arrive at Westminster Abbey for The Commonwealth Service
Photos from social media accounts of Carrie Symonds, former Tory Occasion communications director. Symonds with Zac Goldsmith (L) and Sajid Javid
That e book, Name Me Dave, was stated to have been an act of political revenge by Ashcroft after a job he had allegedly been promised by Cameron by no means materialised.
So maybe it’s simply as properly for Carrie that there is no such thing as a unhealthy blood between Ashcroft and Boris – although equally she will probably be conscious that they don’t seem to be mates.
She, in the meantime, is bound to have come throughout the billionaire Ashcroft through the years – not least whereas she held an £80,000-a-year publish because the Tories’ head of communications, having joined the get together equipment as a humble press officer in 2009 whereas Ashcroft was the Conservative deputy chairman.
Ashcroft is properly versed within the artwork of biography: his earlier targets embrace Chancellor Rishi Sunak, chalkstriped Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and, in a e book as a consequence of be printed subsequent month, Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer.
So will his work on Carrie be a hagiography that enhances her repute across the nation – or a hatchet job from which she is going to by no means recuperate? One supply says: ‘Carrie is a vibrant character and wields huge energy as first the PM’s girlfriend, then his spouse. There’s a lot materials on the market, not all of it flattering.’
The primary single consort of the Prime Minister to stay at Downing Road in latest historical past, Carrie – at 33 some 24 years youthful than her husband – is arguably some of the highly effective and controversial occupants of that function in dwelling reminiscence.
She has a faithful group of mates who are usually not shy to temporary the Press on her behalf. However her enemies, of whom there are various, insist she has an excessive amount of sway over coverage and appointments.
Ashcroft should navigate these camps. On the optimistic facet, Carrie’s supporters say she is a shrewd political operator in her personal proper, having labored intently with Sajid Javid, now the Well being Secretary, John Whittingdale, the tradition minister, and Zac Goldsmith, a International Workplace minister. Her critics, Carrie’s mates declare, are motivated by sexism.
However to her detractors, led by Boris’s erstwhile chief adviser Dominic Cummings, she is derided, maybe certainly with a touch of sexism, as ‘Princess Nut Nut’. Cummings and Carrie, each unelected, clashed terribly in an influence wrestle inside Downing Road following Boris’s election victory in 2019. Different merciless tags Carrie has attracted embrace ‘Cersei’, after the toxic scheming Lannister queen within the hit TV sequence Sport of Thrones – and even ‘Carrie Antoinette’, following revelations of her penchant for costly inside decorations.
Cummings, who was pressured out of his No 10 publish final yr, has hardly ever paused from criticising Carrie since. He will probably be excessive on Ashcroft’s listing of potential sources.
But the biographer will probably be impressed by Carrie’s constant help for the surroundings and animal rights, the latter a topic near Ashcroft’s coronary heart. Final summer time, he despatched her a duplicate of his e book Unfair Sport, which uncovered the horrifying reality about captive-lion breeding.
Boris’s latest enthusiasm for all issues environmental, and his formidable targets to chop Britain’s carbon emissions – which have alarmed Tory MPs in northern ‘Crimson Wall’ seats due to the additional prices this can impose on households – are seen as a direct results of Carrie’s affect.
The privately-educated Carrie gained reward from girls’s rights teams for her crowdfunding marketing campaign to dam early parole for the black cab driver John Worboys.
Ashcroft stated yesterday that Carrie had him for a while as a topic, rightly stating that she had been ‘influential’ within the get together ‘lengthy earlier than she moved into No 10’ (Pictured, Lord Ashcroft leaves Conservative get together headquarters)
The e book can also be positive to look at the Aspinall Basis, the wildlife conservation charity for which Carrie is now the top of communications.
The Charity Fee has ‘severe considerations’ over the Aspinall’s Basis’s governance and monetary administration; these allegations predate her employment.
Ashcroft stated yesterday that Carrie had him for a while as a topic, rightly stating that she had been ‘influential’ within the get together ‘lengthy earlier than she moved into No 10’.
Carrie’s stint as head of communications for the Tories ended unhappily in 2018 amid reviews that she had abused her bills to the tune of 1000’s of kilos. Whereas she by no means responded to the claims, a supply near her dismissed the allegations as ‘nonsense’.
Boris and Carrie will inform their mates and associates to disregard Ashcroft’s calls. One supply stated: ‘Her mates are very loyal. Nobody will converse to Ashcroft.’
Or will they? Inside hours of yesterday’s reviews of the e book going public, Ashcroft’s phone in his London workplace was stated to be ringing off the hook with provides of assist.