Michael Fabricant smiles during Keir Starmer's emotional Commons address
Michael Fabricant is never afraid to go into bat for Boris Johnson and defend him on the issues of the day – this time, though, he seems to have made the controversy surrounding ‘Carriegate’ much worse for him.
If you’re not across the scandal, a report published in the first edition of The Times on Saturday alleged that the PM had attempted to install his then-girlfriend Carrie Johnson (then Carrie Symonds) in a £100,000-a-year job in the Foreign Office in 2018.
The story was then pulled from later editions of the paper after Number 10 intervened. Ms Johnson’s spokesperson described it as “totally untrue”, but Downing Street has so far refused to comment on the claim.
Number 10 also did not deny a further report in the Daily Mirror that Johnson had discussed with aides the possibility of appointing Carrie as an ambassador in the run-up to last year’s COP26 global climate summit or as communications director for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Earthshot Prize.
A Downing Street source said that it was “untrue” to suggest that Johnson had recommended his wife for either job, but did not respond when asked whether he had discussed it with aides. The PM’s official spokesperson refused to discuss details of Johnson’s private conversations with advisers.
When Fabricant was asked by a constituent online about the issue, the MP attempted to play down the nature of the reports.
However, people are now commenting online that what he actually inadvertently ended up doing was confirming them.
\u201c#Boris enquired whether a highly qualified person, his wife Carrie, could be Chief of Staff at the FCDO as she had held a similar post elsewhere.\nHe was told No.\nSo she wasn\u2019t appointed.\nErrrrrr. That\u2019s it.\u201d
— Michael Fabricant \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udde7\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\udf3b (@Michael Fabricant \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udde7\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\udf3b)
“#Boris enquired whether a highly qualified person, his wife Carrie, could be Chief of Staff at the FCDO as she had held a similar post elsewhere,” he wrote.
“He was told No. So she wasn’t appointed. Errrrrr. That’s it.”
Labour’s Chris Bryant was one of the people who hit back at Fabricant’s comments, saying: “No. She wasn’t his wife. He had another wife at the time. That’s their business. But he tried to circumvent open and fair recruitment processes at the FCO for his lover. This is corrupt. And you endorse it.”
Fabricant seems to have made the situation worseGetty
Another said: “So what you're saying is that the PM needed somebody to tell him it was a bad idea to appoint his mistress to an enormously well paid job funded with public money? The same PM who's lost 2 ethics advisors and has no plan [to] get a new one? How can you defend him? Just incredible.”
Johnson’s former ethics adviser Lord Geidt is said to believe that claims the PM tried to appoint his future wife to a top government job could be “ripe” for investigation.
Indy100 has reached out to Number 10 for comment.
Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.