Who is Britain’s New ‘First Girlfriend’?

Carrie Symonds, who has been dating Johnson for over a year and is 25 years his junior, is a former Director of Communications for the Conservative Party, works in PR and is the daughter of Matthew Symonds, co-founder of The Independent newspaper, and one of the newspaper’s lawyers Josephine Mcaffe.

Symonds had a privileged upbringing in southwest London where she enrolled in private school Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith before studying history of art and theatre studies at the University of Warwick, where she graduated with first-class honours.

The PR guru went on to work as a press officer for the Conservative Campaign Headquarters, supporting Tory names including Amber Rudd and Michael Gove. The 31-year-old was a special adviser for Sajid Javid at the Department of Communities and Local Government and special adviser for John Whittingdale at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. She was promoted to Director of Communications for the Conservative Party at 29 and worked with Boris during his time as Mayor of London. PR Week magazine listed her as the UK’s second most powerful public relations professional.

She is passionate about fighting plastic pollution and is patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, which seeks to help advance farm animal welfare. During her time with the Conservative Party, Symonds worked to promote the party's policies including the ivory ban, CCTV in slaughterhouses, increasing sentences for animal cruelty, banning of micro beads and animal sentience.

Symonds quit working for the Conservative Campaign Party when her affair with Boris, who at the time was married to the mother of his four children Marina Wheeler, came to light last year and moved to Bloomberg to do the PR for their Vibrant Oceans programme.  Johnson is still technically married to his estranged wife, barrister Marina Wheeler, whom he was with for 25 years, as their divorce proceedings are not finalised.

Symonds has since maintained a low-profile but she did however make an appearance outside No.10 Downing Street on Wednesday when Boris gave his first speech as Prime Minister. However did not join him to walk through the door as spouses usually do, making Boris the first Prime Minister to enter the No.10 for nearly half a century unaccompanied by a spouse.

Johnson and Symonds have lived together previously in Symonds’ Brunswick Park Flat. In June, police were called to their shared home after reports of a ‘screaming row’ between the couple. Neighbours reportedly heard ‘plates-smashing’ and Symonds is said to have yelled at him ‘get off me, get out’. The couple  quickly quashed rumours of a break up and friends close to Boris have described Carrie as being a steadying influence on the Prime Minister and is said to be the brains behind his visual rebrand in recent months. Carrie, who lives in Camberwell, is not expected to move into No.10 right away, but when she eventually does, she will become the first live-in girlfriend at the London residence, as all previous Prime Ministers have only been joined by their wives and husbands.

Last year, she waived her right to anonymity as a victim of rapist John Worboys, and she faught to keep the sex attacker in jail.

Symonds was just 19 when she was given a lift home by serial rapist Worboys in London in 2007.

 


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