New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. The Staggers
8 July 2022

Boris and Carrie Johnson – who knew the final days of Rome were so embarrassing?

First the wedding party at Chequers, now £200,000 for a flat refurbishment.

By Zoë Grünewald

Does anyone have a plus-one to Boris and Carrie Johnson’s wedding party? I’d like to go. It would be a pleasure to experience the most scandalous wedding celebrations on public record. The cake? Stolen from a food bank. The dress? Crafted from £4bn worth of unused PPE. The guest list? Russian oligarchs and sex pests only.

I commend the tireless work of my colleagues, across publications, who have been instrumental in not only plunging the knife into Johnson’s premiership, but firmly gripping the handle and twisting it. Because hour by hour, another petty humiliation arises for our spineless Prime Minister and the luxury-loving Carrie Antoinette. Even last month, it was reported the pair planned a £150,000 tree-house for their son at Chequers, with discussions to have David Brownlow, a Tory donor, fund the project. But when Johnson said he would stay on as PM until autumn, the generous-minded could imagine that Johnson, in a crisis of conscience, truly wanted to be a “caretaker” for the country until his replacement was decided.

That is, until the Mirror speculated yesterday (8 July) that Johnson wants to remain in office because of some very specific plans of his own. “Boris Johnson wants to stay on as caretaker Tory leader in part to throw a big wedding party at Chequers later this month, sources claim.” Ouch! At least pretend you care about the people! And it doesn’t stop there. News this morning that the pair had decided to move the wedding party venue from Chequers was eclipsed by a leaked invoice, which showed that the Johnsons have spent £200,000 on refurbishing their Downing Street flat.

The worst thing about the renovation – apart from the sheer audacity of spending that amount of money while some people are forced to choose between heating and eating – is how ostentatious the interiors will be, judging from the interior designer Lulu Lytle’s other handiwork. Imagine coming home from a tough day at work. One-hundred-and-sixty thousand people have died because of your incompetence with, lets say, the photocopier, and you want nothing more than to put your feet up in front of the TV with a nice cool beer.

You walk into your living room, and yet you are surrounded by migraine-inducing wallpaper. “What the hell has my spouse done?!” you wonder. You decide to head to the fridge to get a drink, but the drinks aren’t there. No, they’re getting warm on your £3,675 drinks trolley, next to one of your £7,560 sofas with no arms, which, aside from everything else, is just totally impractical. (Of course Boris Johnson needs a £3,675 drinks trolley, you can’t expect him to have the suitcase used to ferry wine into lockdown parties on display in his home).

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • 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 Progressive Media Investments 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.

It’s clear: the Johnsons are in their last days of Rome. They have hunkered down in their paradise, vials of hemlock in hand. The walls are closing in, the jig is up, time to go out with a bang. If it wasn’t so terribly on-brand for this disastrous, narcissistic and entitled Prime Minister, it would be hilarious. For now, I seek comfort in their scandals knowing how unpopular they are.

Whatever will we see next? Johnson printing all copies of his new book on 10 Downing Street-headed paper? Or that the £20-a-week reduction in Universal Credit will go towards baby Wilf’s ancient Greek lessons.

I would suggest Boris Johnson lies down in a dark room and waits for this all to blow over (if his beds are indeed made for lying on, and the wallpaper doesn’t blind him). Who knew the final days of Rome could be so embarrassing?

[See also: Boris Johnson’s resignation is a problem for Keir Starmer]

Content from our partners
An innovative approach to regional equity
ADHD in the criminal justice system: a case for change – with Takeda
The power of place in tackling climate change

Topics in this article : , ,