Carrie Johnson should be 'left alone' says columnist
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Brexiteer and hotel tycoon Sir Rocco Forte paid for a £12,000 bash to celebrate Mr Johnson’s victory in the Tory leadership contest. At the last General Election, he handed the Conservatives another £100,000.
Now, as he dubs Mrs Johnson’s involvement in politics “a bit too much for any country”, he is withholding any further donations to the ruling party.
Sir Rocco, 77, said of the Prime Minister: “Unfortunately, when we elected him he didn’t have a wife, and now’s he’s got a wife who had a child, then a second child, and actually tells him what to do.”
He went on to tell guests at a speech at a Club Di Londra dinner at Brown’s Hotel in London, which he owns: “One of the important things, of course, is to keep his wife under control.
According to Mail Online’s Richard Eden, he added: “I know I’m a misogynist, but this is a bit too much for any country.”
Sir Rocco is the son of Trusthouse Forte owner Lord Forte, who was forced out of the chairman role at his hotel empire at the age of 83 after showing reluctance to step down from the business he had founded in 1934.
A close ally of Margaret Thatcher, he died in 2007 aged 98.
Sir Rocco, whose family fortune was estimated at £345 million before the coronavirus pandemic, said of the large sum he gave the Tories in 2019: “I have made big donations in the past — in the Thatcher days and in the initial years of John Major’s government — but not after that.
“It is the first time I have given any money for a long time because until now I didn’t believe in the leadership.
“I didn’t believe they were true Conservatives.”
Attacks aimed at Mrs Johnson are not new. She is, in fact, the subject of a new book by Michael Ashcroft, the billionaire businessman and Tory donor, that reportedly claims she has excessive influence inside No10.
The unauthorised biography, First Lady, is understood to have been brought forward after Mr Johnson’s leadership was threatened by “Partygate”.
In its pages, the Prime Minister is accused of appointing staff because “Carrie would be cross with him” if he did not, firing people she disliked and reversing policies she criticised.
One extract of First Lady echoes the words of Sir Rocco in his Mayfair club, as one of Ashcroft’s sources is cited as saying: “He [Boris Johnson] could have been a great prime minister but his lack of discipline, which led him to get involved with Carrie, has cost him.
“His potential to transform the country has been squandered and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s because of her.”
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Carrie Johnson: Attacks on PM’s wife are misogyny says Javid
Last month, a spokesperson for Mrs Johnson criticised a “brutal campaign” against her by the Prime Minister’s “enemies”, saying the mother-of-two was the subject of efforts to discredit her.
They claimed: “Yet again Mrs Johnson has been targeted by a brutal briefing campaign against her by enemies of her husband.
“This is just the latest attempt by bitter ex-officials to discredit her.
“She is a private individual who plays no role in government.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid, when asked on Sky News whether he thought misogyny was the reason behind Mrs Johnson’s treatment, said: “Yes. It’s sexist.
“First of all, I think the partners of politicians should be off-limits. Why would you go after or attack the partners of politicians?
“By all means, go after the politicians, but why their wives, husbands and partners?”
Mr Jaivd, who previously employed Mrs Johnson as a special adviser, added: “I think doing this… is undignified, it’s unfair and it’s wrong.”
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