Boris Johnson jokes he has as many children as Jacob Rees-Mogg, in first meeting of new Cabinet

‘I’ve seen a few delivery rooms, probably seen as many as anybody ... with the possible exception of Jacob’

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Friday 17 September 2021 12:11
Boris Johnson refuses to say how many children he has

Boris Johnson joked about the number for children he has, at the first meeting of his new cabinet – suggesting he has as many as Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The prime minister has consistently refused to confirm he has a second child out of wedlock, which would mean he has 7 and will reach 8 when his pregnant wife Carrie gives birth.

But, briefing his new-look cabinet with what he called a “half-time pep talk”, Mr Johnson turned to the subject, saying: “I’m just thinking about delivery.

“I’ve seen a few delivery rooms, probably seen as many delivery rooms as anybody in this ... with the possible exception of Jacob.

“I know that delivery normally involves a superhuman effort by at least one person in the room. But there are plenty of other people in that room who are absolutely indispensable to that successful outcome.”

Mr Rees-Mogg, the Commons Leader, has six children, all of them boys – provoking mirth in 2017 when he named the sixth one Sixtus.

Mr Johnson has four children with his ex-wife Marina Wheeler and a boy, Wilfred, with Carrie Johnson, who is pregnant with their second child, it was announced in July

He has a daughter from an affair while Mayor of London, but he is also believed to have fathered another child outside of marriage.

It prompted criticism when an old magazine column emerged where he branded the children of single mothers “ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate”.

But, during the 2019 general election campaign, he refused to discuss the issue, telling LBC Radio: “I love my children very much but they are not standing at this election. I’m not therefore going to comment on them.”

In the power struggle for the best seats around the cabinet table, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak sat to the prime minister’s left.

Dominic Raab, demoted to justice secretary – but handed the consolation title of deputy prime minister – sat opposite Mr Johnson, alongside Liz Truss, his replacement as foreign secretary, and Michael Gove, the new housing secretary.

The prime minister told them: “To mix my metaphors, this is, if you like, the half-time pep talk. This is the moment when we spit out the orange peel, we adjust our gum shields and our scrum caps.

“We get out on to the pitch in the knowledge that we’re going to have to do it together and we’re going to have to do it as a team.”

They key absentees were Gavin Williamson, sacked as education secretary, and Robert Jenrick and Robert Buckland, who were also dispatched to the backbenches having served as housing secretary and justice secretary.

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