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Putting the boot into Carrie

Boris with Carrie: a “ventriloquist’s dummy”? Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty

In Boris Johnson’s No 10, it doesn’t pay to get on the wrong side of Carrie. Take the case of Ellie Lyons, a highly regarded Cambridge graduate working in Downing Street who was sacked shortly after Boris became PM. The reason she was ousted? Carrie “doesn’t like people who are more intelligent or attractive than her around her”, says an insider. “Ellie’s problem was that she is both attractive and intelligent.”

This is just one of many damning anecdotes in Lord Ashcroft’s new book, First Lady: Intrigue at the Court of Carrie and Boris Johnson. Anonymous sources claim that Carrie bossed staff around via the PM’s phone – pretending to be him over texts and whispering in his ear during important calls – and has bullied her husband into staffing No 10 with her pals. In private moments, one campaign veteran recalls, an exasperated Boris would say words to the effect of, “Don’t do anything that’s going to make her torture me when I get home… You’ve got to find a way to make this bearable for me.”

Oh come on, says Michael Gove’s ex-wife, Sarah Vine, in The Mail on Sunday. This is the same old “Lady Macbeth” nonsense they used to throw at me for daring to express an opinion about my former husband’s career. How dare I interfere in the affairs of men? “Go back to the kitchen, love. This one’s above your pay grade.” It turned me into a figure of “ridicule and hate”, and still haunts me to this day. That’s why I sympathise with Carrie. Because I know full well what it feels like to be blasted with “the political equivalent of slut-shaming”.

Forget all this rubbish about misogyny, says Allison Pearson in The Daily Telegraph. The real crime is an “unelected environmental activist” using her “privileged access” to the PM to sway policy at the highest level. “Millions of us voted for Johnson to protect us against the very causes which his wife espouses.” So when did he become a “ventriloquist’s dummy” for wokesters, trotting out “clunking, politically-correct phrases” he would once have derided? Boris bears ultimate responsibility for all this, of course – if his wife told him he could broaden his appeal by saying “gender neutral” a lot and pursuing a green agenda, “he was a fool” to believe her. When the PM married Carrie, he was unfaithful to the “silent millions” who loved him for championing their values. “We were the more deceived.”