Boris dodges Starmer grilling over whether he offered Carrie top Foreign Office job

22 June 2022, 13:20 | Updated: 22 June 2022, 14:24

Boris was challenged over claims he had tried to get his wife a job in the Foreign Office.
Boris was challenged over claims he had tried to get his wife a job in the Foreign Office. Picture: ParliamentTV

By Emma Soteriou

Boris Johnson has dodged questions on him offering his wife Carrie a top Foreign Office job when he was Foreign Secretary.

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It comes after claims alleging Boris Johnson had tried to appoint Mrs Johnson, nee Symonds, into a plum job paying over £100,000 a year whilst he was Foreign Secretary.

When asked about claims at Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Johnson accused Labour of not addressing issues "in the real world".

Avoiding a "yes or no" answer to Chris Elmore, Mr Johnson said: "I know why the party opposite wants to 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 that actually we now have 620,000 more people in pay-rolled employment than before the pandemic began, which would never have been possible if we’d listened to the right honourable gentleman opposite," Mr Johnson said.

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Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer also took a swipe at the PM over the job claims.

Mr Johnson had criticised Labour for backing rail strikers after some MPs appeared at the picket line amid the crippling travel chaos on Tuesday.

"I'm surprised he's giving advice about my team," Sir Keir said.

"If I do need advice, let's say about a £100,000 job at the Foreign Office, I will ask him."

Downing Street previously admitted there were conversations between No10 and The Times after the paper dropped the report.

It was pulled from later editions of the paper, sparking questions over whether No10 applied political pressure on its editors.

Asked whether there were conversations after its initial publication specifically, the spokesperson told reporters: "That's my understanding".

He refused to say "who spoke to who", but denied that it was Mr Johnson himself.

"I've checked and I've been assured that he hasn't spoken to anyone," he said.

"I'm not aware of any calls by the PM."

The spokesperson added that "it is entirely a matter for publications, for journalists to decide on what they write".