Boris Johnson attempts to clear up mystery over number of children

‘I change a lot of nappies’: PM says he is a hands-on dad

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Tuesday 21 September 2021 19:09
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Boris Johnson says he has six children

Boris Johnson has finally appeared to clear up the mystery over how many children he has, telling a US TV show he has six and is a hands-on father.

Questions have swirled over whether the prime minister has a seventh child since a 2013 court ruling mentioned another pregnancy resulting from an affair.

But until today, Mr Johnson has steered well clear of making a definitive statement on the issue, insisting that he will not discuss his family life in public.

Appearing on NBC’s Today show in the US, he was asked directly by interviewer Savannah Guthrie: “You have six kids?” He replied: “Yes.”

Mr Johnson – who is expecting his second child with third wife Carrie later this year – said he loved being a father and did not shy away from nappy-changing duties.

“It’s fantastic,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, I will tell you that much, but I love it, absolutely love it.

“I change a lot of nappies.”

In his pre-recorded interview with the popular breakfast TV show – watched by around 6 million Americans each morning – Mr Johnson described new US president Joe Biden as “a breath of fresh air”, but said it was the job of the British prime minister to work well with whoever was in the White House.

Following reports that a senior US general feared that Donald Trump was “going rogue” after losing last year’s election and took steps to stop the then president from launching nuclear missiles, Mr Johnson insisted that he had had no concerns about the ex-president’s stability at the time.

“No, to be frank, I didn’t,” he told Ms Guthrie.

“I thought that the polls seemed to oscillate to and fro, but then the people made up their minds.

“It is the job of the prime minister of the United Kingdom to have a good relationship with the president of the United States.

“The US/UK relationship – we are doomed, fated to get along, and that’s quite right. That applies to Donald Trump, it applies to Joe Biden.

“What I will say about Joe Biden and dealing with the new American president: it is a breath of fresh air.

“There are some things on which we can really, really work together. On climate change, he is great on this and he wants to cut CO2 and get to net zero by 2050, and shares with me a basic view that you can do this without penalising the economy.”

Mr Johnson refused to discuss reports that he had had to wait 36 hours for a phone call with the president to discuss the pull-out of US troops from Afghanistan, saying only that the pair had “talked very frankly about the whole thing”.

But he acknowledged that the chaotic withdrawal could have been handled better.

“Could we have done it a bit differently? Maybe we could,” said the PM.

“America has been there for 20 years, and it is a respectable argument to say that enough is enough.”

Mr Johnson said he had “no knowledge” of whether Mr Trump was responsible for inciting the storming of the Capitol in Washington by supporters of the then president on 6 January, saying only that the violence seen did not reflect the ideals of American democracy.

Mr Johnson added: “I’m a massive fan of America and American democracy. I think America stands for an ideal, and that ideal is that people should be able to choose their governments peacefully – one-person, one-vote – by election.

“I just felt that some of the scenes at the Capitol did not correspond with that ideal.”

Mr Johnson declined to say whether Mr Biden should order mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 to boost immunisation levels, which currently stand at just 64 per cent thanks in part to a vocal anti-vaxxer movement in the US.

“Different strokes for different folks,” said the PM. “It’s up to different countries to decide how they want to approach this.

“This is a very controversial area. People feel very strongly about not having the state mandate.

“In my country, we are great lovers of liberty and we have had to do it by sweet reason and persuasion, and it is working.”

Asked what should be done if persuasion is not enough, he replied: “Keep going. More sweet reason.”

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