A conservative party-loving assistant was last night at the center of Westminster speculation about the separation of Boris Johnson's marriage.
Carrie Symonds, former communications director of the party, was linked to the former foreign secretary after it was claimed that she had developed a "strong friendship" with the blonde in the months prior to her separation from his wife Marina.
Ms. Symonds, 30, has been a high profile figure in Westminster for nearly a decade, holding senior positions at Tory HQ and as an adviser to cabinet ministers.
Carrie Symonds, left, has been linked to Boris Johnson, on the right, after her separation from marriage
Ms. Symonds, photographed on the hood of a car outside Westminster, left her post due to the close nature of her relationship with Camp Johnson.
She regularly posts glamorous pictures of herself on social media, including a photograph of herself taking a pose while standing on the hood of a car on Parliament grounds.
Neither Mr. Johnson nor Mrs. Symonds have commented on their friendship.
Ms. Symonds, who attended the Godolphin and Latymer girls' private school in West London, became a Tory press officer in 2009. She worked on the successful & # 39; Back Boris & # 39; to re-elect Mr. Johnson as mayor of London in 2012, and was appointed a special advisor to Culture Secretary John Whittingdale after the 2015 General Election. He also briefly briefed Secretary of the Interior Sajid Javid when he was the Secretary of Communities .
The gregarious Mrs. Symonds was appointed director of communications at the Headquarters of the Conservative Campaign after the disastrous Election last year, but left during the summer amid claims from ranks with the No 10 about her proximity to Mr. Camp. Johnson. Her move to the City Bloomberg news firm came after rumors about the friendship between Ms. Symonds and Mr. Johnson began to swirl around Westminster. Symonds' friends say she felt she had been penalized for her links to & # 39; Team Boris & # 39 ;.
Tory HQ sources deny that her departure had anything to do with Mr. Johnson, saying that she left as part of a reorganization by party chairman Brandon Lewis, designed to put conservatives on the warpath. for the next general election.
Ms. Symonds has often written positive comments about Mr. Johnson on Twitter, and last year he posted a link to his speech with the following comment: "It's really worth seeing." Boris absolutely brilliant in the debate on Brexit and Foreign Policy earlier this week. "And on Valentine's Day this year, she tweeted dozens of excerpts from a speech she gave to a group of experts.
Ms. Symonds has often written positive comments about the former Minister of Foreign Affairs on Twitter
It was reported yesterday that Johnson had been seen walking towards Rules at Covent Garden, the oldest restaurant in London, that day with a "young and attractive" blonde woman, then spent two hours at a corner table while a couple of bodyguards sat nearby.
An observer said: "It seemed like a very intimate meal and it has hardly anything to do with big state affairs." It was a rather strange day to meet an attractive young woman for a meal in one of London's most exclusive restaurants.
The identity of that woman has not been confirmed.
Just one week before dinner, Ms. Symonds and Mr. Johnson were photographed together at the Black and White Ball conservatory fundraiser in London.
It was not until just before Mr. Johnson dramatically left the cabinet in July that he is believed to have separated from his wife of 25 years, Marina Wheeler. The couple said in a joint statement on Friday: "Several months ago, after 25 years of marriage, we decided to separate for our best interests.
"Later, we agreed to the divorce and that process is under way, as friends, we will continue to support our four children in the coming years, we will not comment more.
The couple had been living together in their house of grace and favoring £ 20 million in Carlton Gardens, the official residence of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, until the end of July. They jointly own a £ 4 million townhouse in Islington, north London, as well as a country house in Oxfordshire.
Ms. Wheeler is a successful QC, while Johnson has benefited from the writing of several history books, as well as her former high-paying jobs as Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Mayor of London.
Tory Party sources said that Ms. Symonds' departure from the conservative headquarters had nothing to do with her relationship with Mr. Johnson.
Ms. Symonds moved from Tory Party HQ to the city's commercial news firm Bloomberg
An opinion poll yesterday said Johnson's division of marriage could make it harder for conservatives to win the next election. While 21 percent of voters said they would be more likely to vote for conservatives with Mr. Johnson as a leader, 30 percent said they would be less likely.
A friend of Mrs. Wheeler told this newspaper yesterday: "I suspect that the reason Marina has finally thrown in the towel is because the children are old enough and probably just want to be alone." She may even be quite relieved. & # 39;
The main Eurosceptic, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said the news of Mr. Johnson's marital separation was "obviously very sad news for him and Marina," but added: "I do not think it makes any difference to the good consideration and admiration of the people in the conservative party stops him.