Boris Johnson has become engaged to girlfriend Carrie Symonds and the couple are expecting their first child, Downing Street announced last night.
Mr Johnson put an end to months of speculation in Westminster by declaring that their baby would be born in the ‘early summer’ – and that he would become the first British Prime Minister to marry in office for 200 years.
He is believed to have proposed during the couple’s romantic break in Mustique over Christmas.
Ms Symonds, 31, released an intimate picture – also thought to have been taken during the trip – on her personal Instagram page of an unshaven Mr Johnson, 55, kissing her cheek, accompanied by a message which made it clear that the couple had been engaged since last year.
She wrote: ‘I wouldn’t normally post this kind of thing on here but I wanted my friends to find out from me… many of you already know but for my friends that still don’t, we got engaged at the end of last year… and we’ve got a baby hatching early summer.’
Ms Symonds, 31, released an intimate picture – also thought to have been taken during the trip to Mustique
Boris Johnson has become engaged to girlfriend Carrie Symonds and the couple are expecting their first child, Downing Street announced last night
He is believed to have proposed during the couple’s romantic break in Mustique over Christmas (resort pictured)
Ms Symonds, who is the first unmarried partner of a Prime Minister to live in Downing Street, added that she felt ‘incredibly blessed’.
According to one source, the couple had come up with a plan several weeks ago to announce the pregnancy and engagement simultaneously and then ‘slip away quietly abroad to marry in private’ as soon as his divorce from Marina Wheeler, his wife of nearly three decades and the mother of their four children, was finalised.
A No 10 source said: ‘Boris and Carrie are both delighted at this news. They have both known for a while but have kept it under wraps until the pregnancy progressed.
‘It partly explains why he has been lying low recently – although he works flat-out and that won’t change. Carrie is thrilled and she will also continue to work on her environmental projects.’
The marriage to Ms Symonds will be the third for Mr Johnson, who will be turning 56 as he welcomes his latest offspring.
It is the culmination of a whirlwind 18-month relationship for the couple, who were first linked in September 2018 shortly after Mr Johnson had announced the start of divorce proceedings with Marina, his second wife.
However, he has known Ms Symonds since she worked on his successful bid to win a second term as London Mayor in 2012.
The marriage to Ms Symonds will be the third for Mr Johnson, who will be turning 56 as he welcomes his latest offspring
Former Chancellor Sajid Javid, who resigned last month after he was ordered to sack all of his advisers by No 10, wrote on Twitter that it was ‘wonderful news’
Former Chancellor Sajid Javid, who resigned last month after he was ordered to sack all of his advisers by No 10, wrote on Twitter that it was ‘wonderful news’, while Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, described it as ‘lovely news’.
New Tory MP Dehenna Davison, a friend of Ms Symonds, tweeted: ‘Huge congratulations to the boss, Boris Johnson, and the wonderful Carrie Symonds – though something tells me there’s a new boss coming to Number 10!’
But Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell – who has never married partner Fiona Millar, the mother of his three children – struck a sour note by tweeting: ‘Sorry but Boris Johnson getting another woman pregnant hardly qualifies as news.’
And Labour MP Charlotte Nichols accused Mr Johnson of timing the announcement to distract from bitter rows in the Home Office.
Last month, a family court granted Marina Wheeler, a human rights barrister, permission to apply for a decree absolute to end her 27-year marriage to Mr Johnson
She tweeted: ‘Congratulations to the happy couple notwithstanding, it’s truly remarkable that the announcement JUST HAPPENED to be on the day of the unprecedented resignation of top Home Office official Sir Philip Rutnam who will be taking a case of constructive dismissal against the Govt.’
Bookmakers put up Charlotte, James and Winston as early favourites for baby names – with ‘Brexit’ at 1000-1. The announcement comes just days after No 10 said that Ms Symonds had hired her own PR supremo. Sarah Vaughan-Brown, ITN’s former director of corporate communications, started work last month. Her salary is paid by the Conservative Party.
Although the party said that Ms Vaughan-Brown would assist with Ms Symonds’s charitable work with the environment, animal cruelty and combating violence against women, it now seems likely that her new role will largely be dominated by protecting the Prime Minister’s partner from intrusive interest as she prepares to give birth to her first child.
Ms Symonds, a former Conservative Party director of communications and special adviser to John Whittingdale and Sajid Javid when they were Cabinet Ministers, is employed by the Oceana charity.
Mr Johnson met his first wife, Allegra Mostyn-Owen, while they were students at Oxford
Lookalike who was last PM to wed
Boris Johnson will become the first Prime Minister to marry while in office for almost 200 years.
Lord Liverpool – who bore a striking resemblance to Boris thanks to his mop of blond hair – had been PM for a decade when his wife Louisa died.
Shortly afterwards, on September 24, 1822, he married Louisa’s life-long friend, Lady Mary Chester.
He would stay in office for another five years.
When Mr Johnson and his wife-to-be Carrie Symonds welcome their baby in the summer, he will become only the third PM in more than 170 years to become a father while in office.
David Cameron and Tony Blair both became fathers while serving at No 10.
Before them, Lord Russell had the fourth and fifth of his six children at Downing Street.
If Miss Symonds, 31, goes into labour on her summer holiday, recent history will repeat itself. Samantha Cameron gave birth early in Cornwall ten years ago.
Over recent weeks, Downing Street has been bombarded with press inquiries after rumours spread that Ms Symonds was expecting a child, but aides refused to comment until the couple were ready to go public with the news.
Last month, a family court granted Ms Wheeler, a human rights barrister, permission to apply for a decree absolute to end her 27-year marriage to Mr Johnson.
During the ten-minute hearing, their lawyers and a judge set out how the pair had agreed a private deal to carve up their estimated £6.5 million fortune.
Out of deference to Mr Johnson’s delicate family situation, Ms Symonds maintained a low profile during the early days of their relationship – apart from the night in June last year when police were called in the early hours to the home she was then sharing with Mr Johnson, in Camberwell, South London.
The police visit came after a neighbour heard screaming during an apparent row between the couple.
They bought a house together in the area the following month.
Ms Symonds was pictured outside No 10 welcoming Mr Johnson to Downing Street when he succeeded Theresa May as Tory leader and Prime Minister last July.
The last child born to a sitting Prime Minister belonged to David and Samantha Cameron, who welcomed Florence Rose Endellion into their family in August 2010, three months after he moved into No 10.
Leo Blair was born to Tony and Cherie Blair in May 2000 – three years after Mr Blair took over at No 10, having been conceived, according to Mrs Blair, during a visit to Balmoral, the Queen’s residence in Scotland.
Mr Johnson met his first wife, Allegra Mostyn-Owen, while they were students at Oxford.
They married in 1987, but the marriage was annulled in 1993, when Mr Johnson married Ms Wheeler.
A spokesman for the couple said: ‘The Prime Minister and Miss Symonds are very pleased to announce their engagement and that they are expecting a baby in the early summer.’
Carrie’s photo casebook: How romance with Boris blossomed
HAVING A BALL: First picture of the pair at the Tory Black and White bash at London’s Natural History Museum in February 2018 when Carrie was the party’s communications director. Seven months later their romance was public
BATHING SUIT? An overdressed Boris took Carrie to the beach in Positano, Italy, in March last year, just days before a London showdown with Theresa May over her doomed Brexit deal
WINGING IT: The couple birdwatching in East Yorkshire, in May last year, just after Boris said he would stand as Tory leader. They had a £7 fish supper that day
DRIVING AMBITION: As the Tory leadership battle heated up last May, the couple were pictured together leaving his Oxfordshire home – an elegant farmhouse outside Thame, near to his former constituency of Henley-on-Thames
MAKING UP: Some said this photo that emerged after police were called to a row at Carrie’s London flat last June was staged
SUPPORTIVE: Carrie joins No 10 staff to watch Boris’s first speech as Prime Minister last June. The next day he announced in the Commons environmental policies close to her heart
IN FOR A PENNE: They go for an Italian meal at regular haunt Mamma Mia in Sheen last July
LANDMARK MOMENT: The first official Downing Street picture of the pair together, taken at a reception for hospice staff in August
AND DILYN MAKES THREE: The couple welcome the adorable Jack Russell cross – a rescue dog – into No 10 last September
SHOWING A GIRL A GOOD TIME: Boris takes Carrie to Conservative Party Conference in Manchester last September
PAYING RESPECTS: Dressed in sombre black and displaying poppies, they attend the Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph last November
GOOD SPIRITS: Carrie was elegant in a sari as she accompanied Boris to Neasden Temple, once the largest Hindu temple outside India, during December’s Election fight
OXBRIDGE TO UXBRIDGE: Clutching Dilyn tightly, Carrie gives Oxford-educated Boris a proud look as they arrive at the Election count in his West London constituency
A NERVOUS WAIT: Concern etched on the faces of the couple – and Dilyn – as they awaited the Election results in Margaret Thatcher’s old Downing Street study gave way to pure, unconstrained joy as the exit polls signalled a big Tory majority
AND THEN…Boris jumped out of his chair, punched the air with both fists and let out a roar as the news broke
WE’RE HOME: Boris and Carrie enter No 10 on the morning of December 13, after winning a thumping majority of 80 seats
Sour Left-wing celebrities and Labour MPs snipe about Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds’ baby announcement
By Harry Cole and Holly Bancroft for the Mail on Sunday
Left-wing celebrities and Labour MPs used social media last night to snipe about the PM’s baby announcement.
Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell helped fuel Twitter outrage by suggesting the announcement was timed to overshadow a political row at the Home Office.
He tweeted: ‘Sorry but Boris Johnson getting another woman pregnant hardly qualifies as news.’ In his diatribe, he added: ‘Poor kid is what I think.’
He was joined by a string of Labour MPs, who accused Downing Street of using the announcement of the Prime Minister’s wedding and new arrival to ‘bury bad news’.
Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell helped fuel Twitter outrage by suggesting the announcement was timed to overshadow a political row at the Home Office
Labour MPs used social media last night to snipe about the PM’s baby announcement
Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols posted: ‘Congratulations to the happy couple notwithstanding, it’s truly remarkable that the announcement JUST HAPPENED to be on the day of the unprecedented resignation of top Home Office official Sir Philip Rutnam who will be taking a case of constructive dismissal against the Government.’
Mr Campbell echoed the theory, tweeting: ‘Any journalist or any media outlet that thinks a Boris Johnson baby is a bigger story than Rutnam/Patel is not actually a journalist and does not deserve to be called a media outlet.’
Death Of Stalin writer and actor David Schneider told his 443,000 followers: ‘Carrie Symonds will always remember that romantic moment when Boris Johnson went down on one knee and said, ‘Carrie, will you do me the honour of keeping our vicious campaign against Sir Philip Rutnam off the front pages?’ ‘
SNP MP John Nicolson added: ‘Happy news about Boris Johnson’s latest child. And a remarkably timed announcement – conveniently knocking the Priti Patel bullying story down the running order.’
Home Secretary Priti Patel’s permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam resigned with an extraordinary blast at his former boss over a ‘vicious and orchestrated’ campaign against him
Labour MP for Vauxhall, Florence Eshalomi, added: ‘Very convenient for this news to be announced today.’
And BBC Match of the Day star Gary Lineker remarked: ‘Liverpool are getting a spanking and someone admits to sleeping with Boris Johnson. Bloody hell, these leap year days are weird.’
Comic David Baddiel tweeted: ‘Keen to see the moment the first TV interviewer says, ‘Congratulations! So how many [children] is that now?’ ‘
And impressionist Rory Bremner made a reference to Brexit by joking: ‘Well, THAT withdrawal agreement didn’t work.’
However, Michael Gove’s wife, newspaper columnist Sarah Vine, appealed to Twitter users not to bully Miss Symonds, writing: ‘Let’s be kind to the pregnant lady, shall we?’
How Boris Johnson’s engagement to Carrie Symonds is the latest chapter in the Prime Minister’s colourful and turbulent love life
By Mark Hookam for the Mail on Sunday
Boris Johnson’s engagement to Carrie Symonds marks the latest chapter in the Prime Minister’s colourful – and at times jaw-droppingly turbulent – love life.
The 55-year-old, who is famously tight-lipped about his rollercoaster private life, has been married twice before, has conducted a string of affairs and has an unconfirmed number of children.
Boris married his Oxford University sweetheart Allegra Mostyn-Owen in 1987 but they divorced in 1993 after he cheated on her with Marina Wheeler, a high-flying lawyer.
Boris was a childhood friend of Marina – the daughter of the BBC journalist Charles Wheeler – when both were pupils at the European School in Brussels.
Boris Johnson married Oxford University sweetheart Allegra Mostyn-Owen (pictured together) in 1987 when they were both aged 23
Together, Boris and Marina (above, in 2008) have four children: Lara Lettice, Milo Arthur, Cassia Peaches and Theodore Apollo
The pair married in May 1993 – just 12 days after his divorce from Allegra was finalised and when Marina was heavily pregnant with their first child.
Their 25-year marriage was buffeted by Boris’s infidelity. Marina threw Boris out of the marital home in 2004 over his affair with journalist Petronella Wyatt, the daughter of Labour grandee Lord Wyatt.
Mr Johnson tried to brush off stories about the affair as an ‘inverted pyramid of piffle’ but was sacked from his role as a Shadow Minister by then-Tory leader Michael Howard for lying about the relationship.
Ms Wyatt said Boris once told her: ‘I find it genuinely unreasonable that men should be confined to one woman.’
Boris was also rumoured to have been having an affair at the same time with journalist Anna Fazackerley, but this was never officially confirmed.
In 2004, Boris’s four-year affair with journalist and society author Petronella Wyatt (pictured), the daughter of Labour grandee Lord Wyatt, became public
Mr Johnson is said to have fathered a child with art consultant Helen Macintyre (pictured) in 2009. It is understood Miss Wheeler again kicked him out of the family home
His reputation as a lothario did not prevent him from sweeping to power as London Mayor in 2008.
But any hopes that Marina may have held that high office would calm her husband down were dashed the following year when he is said to have fathered a child with arts consultant Helen Macintyre, causing him to be thrown out of the family home again.
Boris and Marina’s marriage finally ended last year, and the pair reached a financial agreement last month.
After her parents’ split, their eldest daughter Lara reportedly told friends at a party that her father was a ‘selfish b******’. ‘Mum is finished with him. She will never take him back now,’ she reportedly said.
Despite being repeatedly asked, Boris has steadfastly refused to pin down exactly how many children he has fathered. It is known he has two sons and two daughters with Marina as well as a daughter from his affair with Ms Macintyre.