Boris Johnson‘s ‘First Lady’ Carrie Symonds has been credited with making her ‘Bozzie Bear’ a ‘lean mean Brexit machine’ – but the former Tory staffer has also undergone her own transformation as she edges towards Downing Street, experts told MailOnline today.
Miss Symonds, 31, who is 23-years Boris’ junior, appeared at the official launch of his leadership campaign today, a move that will increase speculation he plans to make her the third Mrs Johnson when his divorce goes through.
Carrie, a Tory aide who quit the party’s PR machine after their relationship emerged last year, has totally revamped Boris’ image by encouraging a ‘trendy’ haircut, helping him lose weight by quitting alcohol and ‘late-night binges of chorizo and cheese’ and getting him out on his bike most days.
But she has swapped her bleached blonde hair in favour of darker tresses and traded in her younger style and wardrobe for a sophisticated more demure look, including today’s red patterned ankle-length dress buttoned to the neck.
The environmental campaigner arrived at today’s event holding hands with her friend Nimco Ali, an influential anti-FGM activist who helps run the influential Daughters of Eve movement and was handed a prestigious human rights award in Geneva this year.
Today Boris made his big pitch to lead the Tories and promised to deliver Brexit by October 31 and unite the Tories to defeat Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour and Nigel Farage’s ‘insurgent’ Brexit Party.
But he squirmed as he was asked about taking cocaine – dodging the question completely – and then blustered as he was fit for No 10 despite the many high profile mistakes he has made personally and professionally.
Fashion expert Karine Laudort believes that it is obvious that Miss Symonds’ change in style shows she is getting ready for power with her politician boyfriend, who is favourite to win replace Theresa May in July.
She told MailOnline: ‘Carrie is usually known for her fun and glamorous style whilst attending private dinners and political functions. Now she’s opting for a more polished style as she is certainly on the verge of getting more exposure in the public eye.’
Hair stylist James Johnson agrees and suggests Carrie may have got rid of her bleach blonde locks so she is taken more seriously by the voting public – because she could be just weeks away from entering No 10 as Boris’ partner.
He said: ‘Carrie may have opted for a darker tone of blonde, going for a more neutral shade to match her respected position within Downing Street. Either way the sleek look she’s opted for is bang on trend and she pulls it off well along with the warmer tone which really compliments her skin tone more.’
Boris Johnson’s partner Carrie Symonds arrives at his Conservative party leadership campaign launch in central London – her first public engagement with him since their relationship began last year – and she is weeks from entering No 10 with her boyfriend
The launch event was packed with his Mr Johnson’s MP backers – and his 31-year-old girlfriend Carrie Symonds (right) was seen arriving to watch, holding the hand of her friend Nimco Ali, an anti-FGM campaigner and a Director of the Daughters of Eve. FEMAIL has analysed her outfit and accessories
Mr Johnson has moved in with Miss Symonds, who is rumoured to call him her ‘Bozzie Bear – while he is said to call her ‘otter’ because she is cuddly but tough
Carrie (left in 2016) has proved her steeliness tempered by an empathy and political conviction her lover Boris is said to have lacked, pictured right protesting outside the Japanese Embassy, London, in January
Boris’s WAGs: The broken marriages and affairs of the leadership favourite
Mr Johnson is currently in the process of divorcing his second wife Marina, who threw him out last year
Boris Johnson has had a colourful and at times scandalous love life that has been a riot of infidelity.
He first married society beauty Allegra Mostyn-Owen in 1987, not long after he has graduated from Oxford.
But that marriage collapsed after he had an affair with barrister Marina Wheeler QC.
He went on to marry Ms Wheeler and they had four children together, Milo, Cassia, Lara and Theodore.
But a string of affairs followed and Ms Wheeler kicked him out twice, only to take him back.
Mr Johnson has previously had affairs with Helen Macintyre (left) and Petronella Wyatt (right)
The first time was in 2004 over his affair with writer Petronella Wyatt, who had an abortion and miscarriage.
Boris Johnson’s first wife Allegra Mostyn-Owen
Ms Wyatt, who worked with Mr Johnson at the Spectator, said yesterday: ‘We remain friends. I think he would be a good Prime Minister.’
The second came six years later, when he was suspected of having a love-child with art consultant Helen Macintyre, who was 39 at the time.
However they finally split for good last year after 25 years together.
They announced in September that they separated ‘several months ago’ and were divorcing. It is due to be completed later this year.
The rift emerged when his daughter Lara, 25, was apparently overheard calling her father a ‘selfish b*****’ and insisting her mother would now ‘never take him back’.
Donning a deep red long-sleeved dress by Karen Millen in London today, Carrie’s outfit choice was a far cry away from the style she has previously documented on her social media pages.
James Johnson said: ‘It’s a noticeable contrast with shorter dresses with brighter colours (electric blue or white), often short sleeved or with laser cut patterns, revealing therefore a little more her arms and legs’.
Behind the closed-doors of their £1million ‘love-nest’ flat in south London, Carrie is said to call her boyfriend ‘Bozzie Bear’ – after Fozzie, the fluffy-haired Muppet.
The former foreign secretary calls her ‘Otter’ – who are cuddly but have the thickest fur of all animals – a nod to his tough partner who rose to the top of the Tory party’s PR operation by 30.
Her success also came after the ordeal of being one of the youngest victims of taxi driver rapist John Worboys when she was just 19. And now she is just weeks away from becoming entering No 10 as Mr Johnson’s girlfriend.
Boris Johnson’s partner Carrie Symonds arrived at his Conservative party leadership campaign in central London – her first public engagement with him since their relationship began last year.
And his decision to bring Carrie to his leadership launch – the biggest day of his political life – is hugely significant and will increase rumours he plans to make her the third Mrs Johnson.
Sources have said that Boris hopes to wrap up his divorce within weeks.
31-year-old Carrie, who quit the Tories after their relationship emerged, arrived at today’s launch wearing a fashionable red ankle-length dress but did not speak to reporters.
Her appearance came less than a year after their controversial coupling.
Nine months ago Mr Johnson’s second wife Marina threw him out of their family home in London amid claims he was having an affair.
His daughter Lara Lettice called her father a ‘selfish b*****d’ and said her mother ‘would never take him back’ having accused him of cheating.
The Tory leadership hopeful has moved into a £1 million ‘love-nest’ flat with Carrie, 31, where he spends every night.
Last September, Boris and his wife Marina, a barrister and mother of his four adult children, issued a joint statement, in the wake of the furore over the friendship, confirming they had separated some months previously and were in the process of divorcing.
Carrie quit her position as director of communications at Conservative Campaign headquarters after eight years, and went to ground, before taking up a role with media giant Bloomberg, leading its ecological initiative, Vibrant Oceans.
Far from cooling the friendship, they became very serious during a New Year holiday at the Greek villa owned by Boris’s father Stanley, where last summer Boris holidayed with his children.
‘Carrie loves him, it’s as straightforward as that,’ one acquaintance said earlier this year.
But such is the perception of Carrie’s behind-the-scenes influence on Boris she is said to have already attracted the nickname FLOTUS, as in ‘First Lady of the United States’, the acronym used by White House staffers for the President’s wife.
They met in 2012 when Carrie was one of four officials seconded from Tory HQ to work on his campaign to be re-elected London Mayor.
The daughter of Matthew Symonds, a founder of the Independent newspaper, and Josephine Mcaffee, one of the paper’s lawyers, she grew up in East Sheen in South-West London and attended the private £20,000-a-year Godolphin & Latymer School.
After gaining a first-class honours degree in theatre studies and history of art from Warwick University, she joined Conservative HQ as a press officer in 2009.
Boris Johnson’s pitch to the people
- On Brexit: ‘Now is the time to unite this country and unite this society. And we cannot begin that task until we have delivered on the primary request of the people, the big thing that they asked us to do. After three years and two missed deadlines we must leave the EU on October 31.’
- On the threat from Labour: ‘Delay means defeat. Delay means Corbyn. Kick the can and we kick the bucket.’
- On his ability to beat Labour: ‘Last time I would remind you that we faces an emanation of that cabal I defeated him (Ken Livingstone) when the Conservatives were 17 points behind in London.’
- On sorting out Westminster politics and uniting the country: ‘We cannot ignore the morass at Westminster where parties have entered a yellow box junction, unable to move forward or back, while around the country there is a mood of disillusion, even despair, at our ability to get things done.
- On whether he has ever broken the law: ‘I cannot swear that I have always observed a top speed limit of 70mph…’
Gregarious, intelligent, ambitious, strong-minded and attractive, Carrie quickly made a name for herself, winning professional and more personal admirers.
When Boris was appointed Foreign Secretary in 2016, Miss Symonds must have been a natural choice to work with him on the Vote Leave campaign.
Rumours about a close friendship between them started when the pair were seen dining at London’s oldest restaurant, Rules in Covent Garden, on Valentine’s Day last year — chaperoned by bodyguards who were seated at a discreet distance on a nearby table.
In March, Boris was again socialising with his adviser as a guest at a house party to celebrate Carrie’s 30th birthday. He reportedly burned up the dance floor flamboyantly to the sound of ABBA’s greatest hits, trying to impress her.
When photographs emerged of them chatting outside the Tories’ Black and White Ball at the Natural History Museum early last year, many noticed that they appeared to share an unmistakeable chemistry in just one glance.
Again, at a private get-together for Brexiteers last autumn, they reportedly arrived and left together, and spent all evening talking.
The keen environmentalist, who has clearly had an influence on Boris, who has repeatedly tweeted this year about being more green and even wrote about his respect for the Extinction Rebellion activists who brought London to a standstill this year.
The beginning? Carrie and Boris at a fundraising ball, February 2018. Despite the age gap, the pair are seen in some quarters as the dynamic duo of Tory politics
Writing in The Spectator, Boris (pictured with Carrie Symonds in 2012) revealed he had lost a lot of weight by quitting alcohol and ‘late-night binges of chorizo and cheese’
Boris and Carrie are said to be very much in love with friends claiming that Boris is close to finalising his divorce from second wife Marina
Boris Johnson is looking to divorce his wife Marina (both pictured) within the next six weeks
Boris Johnson would win a 140-SEAT majority at a general election by winning back Brexit Party voters and beating Labour, poll claims
Boris Johnson could win the Tories a giant 140-seat majority in 2022 if he is made the Prime Minister, a new poll claimed today
Boris Johnson could win the Tories a giant 140-seat majority in 2022 if he is made the Prime Minister, a new poll claimed today.
The former foreign secretary is the only person among the ten Conservative leadership candidates to be able to thrash Jeremy Corbyn and kill off Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, a survey of 2,000 voters says.
A ComRes poll today showed that Mr Johnson would boost Tory support from 23 per cent to 37 per cent, putting it 15 points ahead of Labour.
Based on these figures experts from Electoral Calculus – who predict the outcome of elections – he would win 395 seats across the UK – with Labour beaten into third place by the Liberal Democrats.
Fellow Brexiteer Dominic Raab is the only other candidate projected to beat Jeremy Corbyn – but would still be 57 seats short of a majority.
The projections published in the Daily Telegraph today also show that the worst performing new Prime Minister would be Rory Stewart, who would only win 51 seats.
Jeremy Corbyn would not win a majority in any circumstances with the Liberal Democrats picking up Remainer votes and the Brexit Party hoovering up Leave voters, according to the polling.
Martin Baxter of Electoral Calculus told the Telegraph that Mr Johnson’s aim must be to win 33 per cent of the vote – because he would win the next election due in 2022.
Carrie has also campaigned to keep taxi rapist Jon Worboys behind bars, having been his youngest victim.
The prospect of his release has haunted her since the fateful night she encountered him in July 2007 during her first year of studying theatre and history of art at Warwick University.
Aged just 20, she gave evidence in the witness box when some survivors couldn’t bear the ordeal of facing down their attacker and having their reputations potentially trashed in a bid to discredit their testimony.
Maybe it was the satisfaction, in March 2009, of seeing Worboys finally brought to justice – with convictions for 19 offences including one rape – that renewed her confidence and allowed her to go on to secure a first-class degree.
And after the bungling parole board agreed to his release, she then supported the legal action that stopped it this year.
Mr Johnson married first wife Allegra Mostyn-Owen in 1987, then Marina Wheeler, a QC, in 1993 after they had an affair.
Ms Wheeler is the mother to Mr Johnson’s children Milo, Cassia, Lara and Theodore.
But a string of affairs followed and Ms Wheeler kicked him out twice, only to take him back.
The first time was in 2004 over his affair with writer Petronella Wyatt, who had an abortion and miscarriage.
Ms Wyatt, who worked with Mr Johnson at the Spectator, said yesterday: ‘We remain friends. I think he would be a good Prime Minister.’ The second came six years later, when he was suspected of having a love-child with art consultant Helen Macintyre, who was 39 at the time.
Boris Johnson finally broke cover to launch his Tory leadership bid today – but was left blustering as he was grilled over cocaine use.
He warned that politicians must ‘rise to the challenge’ of delivering Brexit by the end of October or face ‘mortal retribution’ from voters who are ‘in despair’ at the impasse.
Mr Johnson said the Tories will ‘kick the bucket’ and open the door for Jeremy Corbyn to sneak into power unless they counter the threat from Nigel Farage by following through on the 2016 referendum result.
But Mr Johnson also faced pointed questions from journalists over whether he is gaffe-prone and lacks the discipline to be a good PM.
Carrie with Boris’ father Stanley, who is said to have lent his Greek villa to the couple for a New Year holiday (pictured together in January)
He flannelled desperately when asked by the Daily Mail’s Jason Groves whether he had taken cocaine in the past – something that has threatened to destroy Michael Gove’s campaign.
Confronted with his 2007 comments in an interview with GQ Magazine – when he said he ‘tried it at university’ and ‘remembered it vividly’ – Mr Johnson merely said: ‘I think the canonical account of this event when I was 19 has appeared many, many times.
‘I think what most people in this country want us to focus on is what we can do for them and this great country.’
Piers Morgan, who conducted the interview for GQ, immediately responded on social media that Mr Johnson had ‘unequivocally’ admitted taking cocaine during their conversation.
‘Boris admitted taking cocaine. Unequivocally. I know this because I’m the one he admitted it to,’ he tweeted. ‘The interesting question is why such an admission is deemed campaign-wrecking for Gove but not for Boris… ‘
Despite delivering a performance that seemed deliberately more serious and shorn of his trademark jokes, Mr Johnson said he would never be afraid to shake ‘plaster off the ceiling’ by ‘speaking directly’ – saying the public hates politicians who ‘muffle their language’.
Mr Johnson is the hot favourite to win the race to take over from Theresa May in Downing Street – despite rivals such as Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove accusing him of adopting a ‘submarine’ strategy of avoiding scrutiny.
The press conference today was the first time in months that he has taken questions from journalists, and even then only six were allowed.
Formally launching his campaign in Westminster today, Boris Johnson said there was ‘despair’ across the country at the failure to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum
Mr Johnson raged that a ‘great country’ was being let down by the ‘morass’ at Westminster
Ten MPs are on the ballot as Tory MPs prepare to vote on who will be their next leader
Piers Morgan, who conducted the 2007 interview for GQ, immediately responded on social media that Mr Johnson had ‘unequivocally’ admitted taking cocaine
The scale of the challenge Mr Johnson faces to keep his Brexit pledge will be underlined this afternoon, when MPs stage a vote designed to kill off No Deal.
Speaker John Bercow has caused fury by bending parliamentary rules to allow a motion to be put down by Labour with cross-party support. It would seize control of Commons business from the government at the end of this month so a law can be passed banning the UK from crashing out of the EU without an agreement.
Chancellor Philip Hammond waded into the row today by warning that Mr Johnson’s commitment to leave the EU by the end of October is ‘impossible’.
In an impassioned speech, Mr Johnson said the ‘dynamism’ of the British people meant the economy was still thriving.
But he added: ‘We cannot ignore the morass at Westminster where parties have entered a yellow box junction, unable to move forward or back,’ he said.
‘Now is the time to unite this country and unite this society… After two missed deadlines, we must leave the EU on October 31. And we must do better than the current Withdrawal Agreement.’
Mr Johnson said he did not think No Deal would happen – but it had to be kept on the table. ‘This is a great country and we will rise to the challenge,’ he added.
He said there would be a sense of ‘overwhelming relief’ once the departure from the bloc had been sealed.
Mr Johnson also unloaded a vicious salvo at Mr Corbyn, saying he was determined to do everything necessary to stop him taking charge of the country.
‘I will do absolutely anything I can, within the bounds of the constitution and the law, to prevent the government of the UK from passing into the hands of those who by their total disdain for wealth creation and their contempt for the normal aspirations of millions to improve their lives, would compromise our ability to fund the NHS and so much else besides,’ he said.
‘My friends, we cannot let them anywhere near Downing Street. Last time I would remind you that we faces an emanation of that cabal I defeated him (Ken Livingstone) when the Conservatives were 17 points behind in London.
‘We can do it again and we must.’
Mr Johnson refused to say whether he would quit or call an election if he was not able to follow through on his solemn promise to take the UK out of the EU by the end of October.
Instead he insisted that ‘maturity and a sense of duty will prevail’ among MP – despite Parliament having so far failed miserably to come to an agreement on Brexit.
What did Boris mean by the word ‘canonical’?
The word ‘canonical’ is usually used in a religious context.
It can refer to something that is recorded in authentic texts, or has the attributes of an official text.
The word derives from the Greek word meaning ‘rule’ or ‘measuring stick’.
‘I think it will be very difficult for friends in Parliament to obstruct the will of the people and simply to block Brexit,’ Mr Johnson said.
‘I think if we now block it, collectively as parliamentarians we will reap the whirlwind and we will face mortal retribution from the electorate.’
And he blustered frantically when pushed on on his previous confession at having used cocaine during an interview with British GQ magazine – in which he said it ‘achieved no pharmacological, psychotropical or any other effect on me whatsoever’,
He said: ‘I think the canonical account of this event when I was 19 has appeared many, many times.
‘I think what most people in this country want us to really focus on in this campaign, if I may say so, is what we can do for them and what our plans are for this great country of ours.’
Mr Johnson’s brother Jo and father Stanley were on hand to watch him make his big pitch for the keys to Downing Street
Mr Johnson was very animated during his speech to the launch in Westminster today – waving his hands around and gesticulating to hammer home his points
Mr Johnson said he ‘cannot swear that I have always observed a top speed limit, in this country, of 70mph’ when asked whether he had ever done anything illegal.
Alongside Ms Symonds in the audience today were an array of senior Tories – including Cabinet ministers such as Geoffrey Cox, James Brokenshire and Liz Truss, as well as influential Eurosceptics Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker.
Mr Johnson was introduced by the booming voice of Mr Cox, who insisted it was time for a new approach to politics. He said Mr Johnson would ensure ‘full self-governance outside the EU’.
The move to wrest control of Parliamentary business from the Government has the backing of former Tory Cabinet minister Sir Oliver Letwin, as well as all the Liberal Democrats, SNP and Greens.
Churchillian rhetoric, Trump-style posturing and sudden moments of bashful shyness: MailOnline body language expert Judi James on Boris’s big pitch for PM
Boris Johnson channeled his inner Donald Trump as he launched his Tory leadership bid today – but he looked down after he promised to leave the EU on October 31, one of Britain’s top body language experts revealed today.
The favourite to replace Theresa May was so passionate as he set out his vision for Brexit it looked like he was ‘flinging invisible objects back towards the far wall’, says Judi James.
He aped his friend Donald Trump as he declared ‘Kick the can again and we kick the bucket’ – before borrowing a classic pointing gesture to hammer it home.
But with his new girlfriend Carrie Symonds watching from the audience there were moments of shyness, says Ms James, who noticed ‘he started tidying his lectern and reaching for some water’ when he promised to leave the EU on October 31, which she described as ‘incongruence’.
She added: ‘His steepled brows signaled serious concern as his eyes scanned his audience’.
Below is Judi James’ description of events:
Trumpian: Body language expert Judi James says that this gesture from Boris is straight from the President’s playbook as he hammered home: ‘Kick the can again and we kick the bucket’
Churchillian: Britain’s greatest Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously knew how to avoid negative body language – and Boris tried to same
Incongruence: Boris promised to take the UK out of the EU by October 31 – but looked down rather than continuing his gaze into the audience, which Ms James says appeared out of place with his message
Bashful: The former Foreign Secretary looked shy at times during the event in central London today
Steepled brows: Judi James says that his arched eyebrows signaled ‘serious concern’ as his eyes scanned his audience
Boris was aggressive as he hammered home his promises to deliver Brexit and unite the Tory party
By Judi James for MailOnline
With new girlfriend Carrie watching in the audience, Boris’s body language for this leadership speech appeared a cross between Churchillian non-verbal rhetoric; some Trump-style posturing and one-dimensional gesticulation, and sudden moments of what looked very much like bashful shyness.
His steepled brows signaled serious concern as his eyes scanned his audience from beneath the new, shorter blonde thatch.
Overall his gestures made it look as though he was on a cricket pitch: lots of flinging and catching and rituals that suggested he was flinging invisible objects back towards the far wall.
These gestures were congruent with his narrative that was all about the ‘three times rejected proposal’ and the idea of a No Deal Brexit. Unlike several of his opponents in this leadership race his gestures did come just before his words took form which should be a sign of an emotional and an intellectual match. His beachball hand gesture, clutched around chest height, would have sent subliminal signals of him being a safe pair of hands and when he rose onto his toes when he spoke of preparing for a No Deal Brexit he implied he was doing just that.
His Trump moment came with his US presidential-style slogan as, like Trump, he delivered his simplistic punchline for the masses along with a simplistic, emphatic hand gesture. ‘Kick the can again and we kick the bucket’ was his line and he delivered it with the classic Trump precision gesture with the thumb and index finger forming a large ‘O’ shape.
Like most of his opponents though, there were moments of incongruence. When he delivered his line ‘We must leave the EU on October 31 he performed a cut-off gesture, looking down straight after rather than studying the audience and allowing them to see his eye expression.
Instead he started tidying his lectern and reaching for some water, with this acted delay elongating his applause but with the downward gaze meaning his viewers missed out on the chance to look for signs of authenticity and genuine intent.
At other times he looked shy and showed moments of doubt, says Judi James