United Kingdom

Fury at 'No10 psychodrama' over Carrie Symonds' influence

Civil servants are 'collateral damage' in a Downing Street briefing war centred around Carrie Symonds' influence in the Government, it was claimed today. 

A senior Whitehall source claimed to The Times that reports of Ms Symonds, Boris Johnson's fiancee, clashing with civil servants had been overblown.

The source suggested that senior Whitehall figures were effectively being used as pawns in an internal power struggle, described as 'No10 psychodrama'.  

A senior Whitehall source claimed to The Times that reports of Carrie Symonds, Boris Johnson's fiancee, clashing with civil servants had been overblown

There have been reports of Ms Symonds clashing with some senior female civil servants.

Antonia Romeo, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, and Helen MacNamara, former property and ethics chief at the Cabinet Office, have both been mentioned in anonymous briefings.  

Allies of Ms Symonds have pointed the finger at allies of Dominic Cummings, the PM's former top adviser, for the negative briefings. 

The senior Whitehall source suggested to The Times that claims of clashes had been overblown. 

The source told the newspaper: 'It seems more like No10 psychodrama. 

'It does feel like the civil servants are just collateral damage and a convenient excuse to try and have a dig at her [Ms Symonds].'   

A No10 source told The Times: 'Miss Symonds is a private individual [and] plays no role in government policy or appointments.' 

The war between Ms Symonds and ousted No10 aides intensified at the weekend after she was accused of 'running Downing Street' - with the assistance of her dog Dilyn

It comes after the war between Ms Symonds and ousted No10 aides intensified at the weekend after she was accused of 'running Downing Street' - with the assistance of her dog Dilyn. 

Ms Symonds has been under increased scrutiny since she helped to force out Mr Cummings and No10 communications chief Lee Cain last November.

An exasperated friend of Mr Cummings hit out, telling The Mail on Sunday that while they 'wished Carrie and Dilyn well', they thought it was reasonable to question whether 'they should be running No10 during a deadly pandemic'. 

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