Sajid Javid brands criticism of Carrie Johnson ‘misogynist’ amid claims she has ‘too much influence’

Ministers have been defending the prime minister’s wife after recent criticism

Emily Atkinson
Monday 07 February 2022 09:38 GMT
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Sajid Javid brands criticism of Carrie Johnson 'misogynist'

Health secretary Sajid Javid has branded claims made by Lord Ashcroft that Carrie Johnson has too much influence over No 10 “misogynist”.

In his biography, First Lady: Intrigue at the Court of Carrie and Boris Johnson, the Conservative peer claimed her “behaviour is preventing him (the prime minister) from leading Britain as effectively as the voters deserve”.

When asked about the claims on BBC Breakfast this morning, Mr Javid told BBC Breakfast he thought the comments “undignified and unfair.”

He said: “I don’t think it’s fair or right at all, and I’ll tell you why. I just think as a general rule, a politician’s partner - any politician, any party - should be off limits.

“It’s the politician that has chosen to have a public life... I think the, this whole focus on Carrie Johnson in some of these reports, I think it’s very undignified and very unfair.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie in Downing Street (Victoria Jones/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie in Downing Street (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Archive)

Asked if it was both “misogynistic” and “sexist”, he replied “yes”.

It comes after Cabinet minister Kwasi Kwarteng told Times Radio on Sunday he did not think there was element of sexism to questions over the extent of her influence, but added that “her views are under scrutiny in a way that perhaps other prime minister’s spouses weren’t.”

When the interviewer raised the prospect that sexism perhaps played a part in comments made about Carrie’s authority, Mr Kwarteng said: “I wouldn’t say that. But it’s interesting that when the spouse is someone in their thirties and has got open positions that are well-known, people feel free to criticise them.”

Asked what he meant by “interesting”, the minister replied: “Well, I don’t think it’s sexist. I’m not going to go down the route of saying, ‘Oh well it’s sexist’. But her views are under scrutiny in a way that perhaps other prime minister’s spouses weren’t.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid was asked about the treatment of Ms Johnson this morning
Health Secretary Sajid Javid was asked about the treatment of Ms Johnson this morning (PA Wire)

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries last week condemned the attacks made on the prime minister’s wife, and said the claims had been made “by vengeful and mendacious men who were once employees in No 10 and is an insight into their warped minds.”

A Downing Street spokesman has said the book contains claims which are untrue.

“Only a fraction of the book has been published so far. Taken as a whole, it is fair, objective and meticulously researched”, Lord Ashcroft said in response.

His book is set to be released next month amid rumours of an emerging Tory leadership contest following the Partygate scandal.

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