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Carrie Symonds

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Carrie Symonds
Carrie Symonds on 2020 Commonwealth Day.jpg
Symonds in 2020
Born (1988-03-17) 17 March 1988 (age 32)
London, England
Alma materUniversity of Warwick
Political partyConservative
Partner(s)Boris Johnson (2018–present; engaged)
Parent(s)Matthew Symonds
Josephine McAffee
RelativesJohn Beavan, Baron Ardwick (grandfather)
Anne Symonds (grandmother)

Carrie Symonds (born 17 March 1988) is a British political activist, conservationist, and the fiancée of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson. She is the first unmarried partner of a Prime Minister to reside in 10 Downing Street. She works as a senior advisor to ocean conservation charity Oceana.[1]

Early life and education

Symonds was born on 17 March 1988 to Matthew Symonds, co-founder of The Independent, and Josephine Mcaffee (née Lawrence), a lawyer working for that newspaper.[2][3] Her paternal grandfather was John Beavan, Baron Ardwick (at one time editor of the Daily Herald and later, during the 1970s, a Labour Party MEP), and her paternal grandmother was Anne Symonds, a BBC World Service journalist.[4][5]

Symonds was brought up by her mother in East Sheen, London, and between 1999 and 2006 attended Godolphin and Latymer School, an independent day school for girls. She went on to the University of Warwick, where she studied art history and theatre studies, completing her degree in 2009.[6][7]

Career and political activism

In 2009, Symonds joined the Conservative Party as a press officer.[8] She worked at Conservative Campaign Headquarters,[9] and later campaigned for Boris Johnson in the 2010 London Conservative Party mayoral selection. She has also worked for Conservative MPs Sajid Javid (as a media special adviser) and John Whittingdale.[10]

Symonds became the Conservative Party's head of communications in 2018,[11] but left the position later that year,[2] taking up a job in public relations for the Oceana project.[12][10] It was reported that she was asked to leave her post as director of communications after sources claimed party chiefs had said her performance was poor, and questions were raised over significant unjustified expenses claims.[13][6] These accusations were, however, rejected by other sources as being a smear campaign based around rumours allegedly spread by Johnson's political strategist, Lynton Crosby.[14][15]

She has been described as a "passionate animal rights defender"[16] and is a patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation.[17]

John Worboys case

In 2007, aged 19, Symonds was driven home from a King's Road nightclub by taxi-driver John Worboys, who in 2009 was convicted of multiple sexual assaults on his passengers. She later recalled Worboys offering her champagne and vodka,[6] which she believed was spiked and, after returning home, "vomiting and laughing hysterically before passing out until 3pm the next day".

Symonds was one of fourteen women who testified against Worboys at his trial. She subsequently told The Telegraph that he was "a sad, wicked man who is a danger to society. I feel so angry that he pleaded not guilty and made us go through the pain of giving evidence in court".[18]

Symonds was the youngest of Worboys' victims, and waived her anonymity to talk about her experiences and, later, to campaign against his early release, fundraising for a successful judicial review of the decision.[19][6]

Public and personal life

Symonds was previously in a relationship with British political journalist Harry Cole.[20]

She reportedly began an affair with British politician Boris Johnson, then the Foreign Secretary, in 2018 while he was still married to his second wife, Marina Wheeler.[6][7] In July 2019, Johnson became prime minister and both he and Symonds officially moved into 10 Downing Street.[21][22][23][24] The following month, she was barred from entering the United States as her visa application was rejected due to a previous visit to Somaliland, which the US considers to be part of immigration-restricted Somalia.[25] On 16 August 2019, she made her first public appearance since entering 10 Downing Street, when she addressed what she called the "gigantic" climate crisis.[26][27]

Concerns over the influence of Symonds on the prime minister were raised in January 2020, when it came to light that Symonds received briefs from animal rights activists just before government came to pull a planned cull[clarification needed] on badgers in Derbyshire.[16] An association representing farmers, the NFU, asserted that this meeting and Symonds' influence played a key role in the government ignoring scientific advice in favour of retaining the cull. According to The Guardian, a judicial review has been granted permission to examine how the decision was reached.[16]

On 29 February 2020, Symonds and Johnson announced that they became engaged in late 2019 and were expecting a baby in mid-2020.[28] Their son, Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson, was born on 29 April 2020 at University College Hospital in London.[29] Symonds is a practising Catholic and had Wilfred baptised into the Catholic Church.[30]


  1. ^ "PM's partner Carrie Symonds makes first speech since No 10 move". BBC News. 17 August 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b Barr, Sabrina (1 March 2020). "Who is Carrie Symonds and what does she do?". The Independent. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  3. ^ Steve Bird, Danielle Sheridan and Helena Horton (3 May 2020), "Baby Johnson named in tribute to doctors", The Sunday Telegraph
  4. ^ Fergusson, James (19 August 1994). "Obituary: Lord Ardwick". The Independent. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  5. ^ Lancaster, Terence (19 August 1994). "Obituary: Lord Ardwick". The Independent. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e Hinsliff, Gaby (29 November 2020). "Under new management: is Carrie Symonds the real power at No 10?". The Observer. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  7. ^ a b Bostock, Bill (23 July 2019). "Everything you need to know about Boris Johnson's fiancée Carrie Symonds, who just gave birth to a baby boy". Business Insider. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  8. ^ "Carrie Symonds: who is Boris Johnson's live-in girlfriend?". The Week UK. 24 July 2019.
  9. ^ Rushton, Simon (24 July 2019). "Who is Carrie Symonds? Boris Johnson's girlfriend and Tory PR guru, set to join new prime minister in 10 Downing Street". Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  10. ^ a b Gillett, Francesca; Webster, Lucy (29 April 2020). "Carrie Symonds: Who is Boris Johnson's fiancee?". BBC News. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  11. ^ O'Grady, Siobhán; Mellen, Ruby (24 July 2019). "Who is Carrie Symonds? Boris Johnson's partner could make history by moving into 10 Downing Street". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  12. ^ "Who Is Carrie Symonds?". ELLE. 30 July 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  13. ^ Crerar, Pippa (9 July 2019). "Boris Johnson's partner 'left £80k Tory HQ job over unauthorised expense claims'". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  14. ^ "The Londoner: Tory staffers rally behind Carrie Symonds". Evening Standard. 10 July 2019. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  15. ^ Wheeler, Caroline (28 July 2019). "PM's row with Lynton Crosby over briefings against girlfriend Carrie Symonds". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  16. ^ a b c Doward, Jamie (25 January 2020). "Court to probe Carrie Symonds' influence on PM after cancellation of badger cull". The Observer. London. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  17. ^ "About". Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  18. ^ Gammell, Caroline (13 March 2009). "John Worboys: Victim Carrie Symonds' story". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  19. ^ "Carrie Symonds: It's such a relief to know John Worboys will stay in prison". Evening Standard. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  20. ^ Gray, Freddy (5 March 2020). "What drives First Fiancée Carrie Symonds, asks Freddy Gray". Tatler. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Boris Johnson becomes UK's new prime minister". BBC News. 24 July 2019. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  22. ^ Perkins, Anne (1 August 2019). "Why Carrie Symonds is the embodiment of the Boris Johnson brand". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  23. ^ Mason, Rowena (29 July 2019). "Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds move into Downing Street". The Guardian.
  24. ^ Spratt, Vicky (24 August 2019). "The Women Who Stay With Problematic Men". Refinery29. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  25. ^ "Carrie Symonds, girlfriend of British PM Boris Johnson, has been denied a visa to the US". 21 August 2019.
  26. ^ Horton, Helena; Hope, Christopher (14 August 2019). "Carrie Symonds to carry out first solo event since Boris Johnson became PM at 'birdwatchers' Glastonbury'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  27. ^ "Carrie Symonds warns politicians of 'gigantic' climate crisis responsibility". The Guardian. 16 August 2019. ISSN 0261-3077.
  28. ^ "Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds engaged and expecting baby". London: BBC News. 29 February 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  29. ^ Braddick, Imogen (2 May 2020). "Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds name baby boy Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson after doctors who saved PM's life". Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  30. ^ Sherwood, Harriet; Walker, Peter; Giuffrida, Angela (21 September 2020). "Italian airport quashes claims of secret Boris Johnson trip". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2020.