Undue influence: Carrie Symonds and the curse of political wives

Boris Johnson’s girlfriend – whose influence over a ditched badger cull will be explored in court – is far from the first political “Wag” to be presented as scheming


The farmers of Derbyshire are up in arms because they have been denied a licence to cull badgers. The influence of the prime minister’s girlfriend is suspected, given that Carrie Symonds is an animal lover, a conservationist and was briefed by the Badger Trust a few weeks before the decision.

This is no idle chatter: the National Farmers’ Union has brought a case to judicial review naming Symonds. In response, Labour’s former deputy leader Tom Watson wrote on Twitter: “Good on Carrie Symonds for having opinions. It’s quite ridiculous to expect her not to share them with her partner.” It is a slightly disingenuous point, since what the NFU objects to is not that the opinions were shared, but that they may have had regulatory effect.

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