Boris Johnson and then-girlfriend Carrie Symonds weren’t caught ‘in flagrante’ when a authorities minister walked in on them in Mr Johnson’s Commons workplace as overseas secretary, Downing Road has instructed The Unbiased.
A senior Quantity 10 supply attacked “sordid and unfaithful” experiences of the alleged incident which have surfaced in latest days.
The supply stated Northern Eire minister Conor Burns, who raised considerations with colleagues after strolling in on the couple in 2018, earlier than their relationship was public, is “adamant that nothing remotely bodily was occurring”.
They weren’t discovered “in bodily contact” by Mr Burns, said the No 10 supply, who stated that they had mentioned the matter at size with him.
Requested if Mr Johnson had been questioned in regards to the matter, the supply stated: “No, it’s not why he was elected prime minister. It’s neither right here nor there.”
Put to the person that Mr Johnson’s personal conduct as overseas secretary in his official Parliamentary workplace was a respectable matter of public curiosity, the Downing Road supply stated: “Conor has stated it’s not true. They’re mad previous questions on a non-event a few years in the past earlier than Boris received to Downing Road.”
The Unbiased revealed on Friday that Mr Burns was the thriller MP who walked in on Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds.
Mr Burns “flagged up” the couple’s relationship to Overseas Workplace officers after discovering them “having a glass of wine collectively” alone as a result of he had a “sixth sense” that their relationship was “one to look at,” Downing Road stated on Friday.
A second supply stated that Mr Burns, one in all Mr Johnson’s most loyal supporters, was “significantly shaken” after stumbling on Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds unannounced.
On the time, he was Mr Johnson’s parliamentary personal secretary – “Boris’s bag service” as he light-heartedly referred to himself – with free entry to him.
“He [Burns] needed to know what to do about it,” stated the supply. “His solely concern was to guard Boris. He’s dedicated to him.”
It has been beforehand reported that Mr Burns raised the difficulty with fellow Overseas Workplace aide Ben Gascoigne, who’s now No 10 deputy chief of employees.
Alerted to considerations that Mr Johnson was having an extramarital relationship with Miss Symonds, Mr Gascoigne and different aides blocked a bid by Mr Johnson to nominate Miss Symonds as his £100,000 a 12 months Overseas Workplace chief of employees.
Additionally they mentioned fears that it may expose overseas secretary Mr Johnson to the chance of blackmail if the data fell into the palms of Britain’s enemies.
A supply stated: “After Conor noticed them collectively in his workplace, Boris’s employees knew it might be harmful if the incorrect individuals came upon. They determined his personal life was his personal enterprise however stopped him making her [Carrie] his chief of employees as a result of it will have elevated his publicity.”
Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds’ relationship was made public a number of months later in 2018 after his separation from second spouse Marina was introduced.
On the time of the incident witnessed by Mr Burns, Miss Symonds was the Tory occasion’s head of communications.
She left that put up in the summertime of 2018 after allegations that she had abused her bills.
The declare that Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds have been present in a ‘compromising scenario’ by an unnamed Tory MP was first made in a biography of Carrie Johnson by Tory Lord Ashcroft earlier this 12 months.
When the story resurfaced in The Occasions two weeks in the past it led to a row when the paper dropped the story from later editions after No 10 intervened.
On Friday, Downing Road confirmed to The Unbiased that an incident occurred and that the thriller MP was Mr Burns, 49.
The supply stated: “Conor did stroll in on them. He noticed two individuals sitting having a glass of wine whereby [one] could have concluded the place the connection was heading. He didn’t interrupt something. It was a case of “why are they having a drink?” and “let’s have a phrase with Ben [Gascoigne].”
“That’s the reason he [Conor] thought it was one thing he wanted to flag up. It was a couple of sixth sense that this was one to look at. The door was not locked. He didn’t barge in. He walked in to the place that they had had a gathering earlier they usually have been nonetheless chatting.”
On the top of the Partygate scandal, Mr Burns led the defence of Mr Johnson for attending a No 10 party in his honour, which led to him being fined for breaking Covid lockdown legal guidelines. The MP performed down the matter saying the prime minister had been “ambushed with cake”.
Mr Burns was appointed a commerce minister when Mr Johnson succeeded Theresa Could as Tory chief in July 2019. He resigned from the put up in 2020 and was suspended as an MP for per week after a parliamentary inquiry discovered he had made “veiled threats” to make use of privilege to “additional his household’s pursuits” in a monetary dispute involving his father. Mr Johnson appointed him Northern Eire Minister final September.
Mr Burns, Mr Johnson, Mrs Johnson and Mr Gascoigne all declined to remark.