Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Observations
5 June 2019updated 07 Jun 2021 1:17pm

Commons Confidential: Johnson’s ex unburdened

By Kevin Maguire

Marina Wheeler is, perhaps, more than anyone else, including screaming lover Carrie Symonds and repulsed cabinet ministers, in a position to stop her husband Boris Johnson reaching Downing Street. The lawyer and mother of four of the egomaniac’s children keeps a dignified silence yet the talk of Whitehall is a meeting she attended recently in a government department. Scheduled for an hour, it lasted several, as, whispers my snout, Johnson’s long-suffering and soon-to-be-second former wife “unburdened herself” about life with a raving self-obsessive running for No 10 on his personality. If only she’d go public.


If Jeremy Hunt is beaten the whisper from Johnson’s camp is that the blond bumbler’s enforcer, Gavin Williamson, seeks as prizes the Tory party chairmanship and the head of Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill – though he’s graciously prepared for his Huawei nemesis to remain as national security adviser. The Francis Urquhart figure that is Williamson doesn’t forgive or forget. Nor does Sedwill. This would be a fight to the death.

Moneybags Brextremist Nigel Farage’s “man of the people” shtick left a bad taste at the See-Ho hostelry in Shorne on Kent’s north coast. My snout growled that the boozy Brexiteer and chums ran up a £200 bill then paid without leaving a tip. Farage is a £90,000-a-year MEP who recently banked £400,000 from other sources and is under investigation over sugar daddy Arron Banks’s £450,000 funding of a Chelsea home and a chauffeur-driven car. Perhaps Farage still thinks he’s “skint”, as he once claimed.

Boris Johnson is good business for right-whinge political strategist Lynton Crosby, so the Lizard of Oz plots to install the serial liar in No 10 from a dedicated room in his corporate lair. His numerous photographs of deflating windbag Johnson invite comparison with the Alan Partridge shrine created by a crazed fan of the radio presenter. Steve Coogan’s misfit is fictional but gruesome Johnson is terrifyingly real.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

There’s fevered hope at the top of the Lib Dems that Tory ex-minister Phillip Lee, facing deselection in Bracknell over his European views, may be persuaded to switch parties. The talk is that one-time blues Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston are close to following Chuka Umunna from the post-Change wilderness into the yellow peril. Vince Cable must be replaced in Twickenham by a woman, so the speculation is that Richmond Park, where Boris Johnson’s
Old Etonian Brextremist chum Zac Goldsmith trembles on a wafer-thin majority of 45, will be offered to Umunna, with Sarah Olney jumping to Twickers.

Kevin Maguire is the associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

This article appears in the 26 Jun 2019 issue of the New Statesman, Restraining order