By Pippa Crerar and Dan Bloom | Mirror |
Boris Johnson today finally appeared to confirm how many children he has after years of speculation.
Asked by NBC’s Today show on a trip to New York if he has six children, the Prime Minister replied: “Yes”.
He added: “It’s fantastic, it’s fantastic, it’s a lot of work, I’ll tell you that much, but I love it, I absolutely love it. And I change a lot of nappies, in case anybody… I do.”
Mr Johnson has six children who are public knowledge: Lara, Milo, Cassia and Theodore with ex-wife Marina Wheeler; Stephanie after an affair in 2009; and Wilfred with his new wife Carrie. A seventh child by his wife Carrie is on the way.
Unusually for a Prime Minister, Mr Johnson and his allies had previously carefully avoided saying how many children he has.
Asked directly how many children he had before the 2019 election, the Prime Minister told LBC: “I love my children very much but they are not standing at this election and I’m not therefore going to comment on them.”
Mr Johnson married lawyer Marina Wheeler in 1993 and they split 25 years later.
But he has had multiple affairs, including the one with Petronella Wyatt which led to a pregnancy that was terminated.
And a 2013 court ruling said the public were entitled to know about claims that one affair – with art consultant Helen Macintyre – resulted in a daughter who was his.
The child’s family had sought to stop the father being named. But the Court of Appeal said: “The core information in this story, namely that the father had an adulterous affair with the mother, deceiving both his wife and the mother’s partner and that the claimant, born about nine months later, was likely to be the father’s child, was a public interest matter which the electorate was entitled to know when considering his fitness for high public office.”
The daughter, Stephanie, was later named as family this month in the death notice for Mr Johnson’s late mother.
Mr Johnson’s comments came in a wide-ranging interview with NBC in which he also hit back at “ridiculous” China over the UK’s new submarine pact with the US and Australia.
Told China see the deal as provocative he replied: “I think that’s ridiculous. There’s no need whatever for anybody to construe this as adversarial towards them. This is about technology transfer.”
He also rejected US President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates, saying Brits love “liberty”.
The Prime Minister said: “Different strokes for different folks, Okay? It’s up to different countries to decide how they want to approach this.
“This is very controversial area. People feel very strongly about not having the state mandate something – in my country we’re great lovers of liberty – we’ve had to do it by sweet reason and persuasion, and that’s working.”
Ahead of a White House meeting tonight with the President, Boris Johnson refused to promise a US trade deal by 2024 – despite claiming in 2017 that Britain would be “first in line” after Brexit.
Last night he admitted Joe Biden had a lot of “fish to fry”, and asked today if it’d happen by 2024 he replied: “We will keep going with free trade deals around the world, including in the United States. I have plenty of reason to be optimistic about that. But the Americans do negotiate very hard.”
Asked if he may not get it done by the end of his premiership, he said: “We’re going to go as fast as we can.”
It came after Mr Johnson sat down with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Monday night to urge his company to pay more tax in the UK.
But this morning the PM claimed the multi-billionaire was not going to pay out as an “act of kindness” and that Mr Bezos had told him it was up to governments to come up with a plan.
He told Channel 5 News: “He’s a capitalist and he made the very important point that this is a job for governments.
“And tax isn’t something that he’s going to pay as an ex gratia act of kindness. It’s up to governments to come up with the right framework.”
Mr Bezos, one of the richest men in the world, has been in the Government’s sights as it wants big tech firms to pay more tax in the UK where online sales have soared during the pandemic.
Asked if the Amazon chief accepted he was not paying enough tax in the UK, the PM said: “This is a guy who’s making… he has to operate within the commercial framework, within the laws as he finds, that’s what he does.
“We’re trying to make sure we change so as to be fair to the taxpayer, fair to other businesses in the high street and elsewhere.”
Elsewhere the PM insisted “Christmas is on” as he claimed that Brits will not struggle this winter amid fears a cost of living crisis.
Mr Johnson has already claimed that cancelling the festive season was “very much not the plan” even with the pandemic.
He faced fierce criticism last Christmas after he ordered people to stay at home as cases soared – just days after saying it would be “inhuman” to cancel festivities.
The Government has been warned that Britain faces a winter of discontent thanks to rising household costs.
Firms have said the energy price shock could trigger a three-day week for factories and further gaps on supermarket shelves.
Asked if he accepted people will struggle this winter, the Prime Minister told ITN: “No, because I think this is a short-term problem caused by the energy problems, the spikes in gas prices, and like many of the other supply issues we are seeing including food are caused by the world economy waking up after a long time in this suspended animation caused by Covid.”
He added: “We will do whatever we can to address the supply issues but this is a short-term problem.”
Mr Johnson told Sky News he did not think that concerns over bills going up, food shortages and jobs being at threat were justified. “Christmas is on,” he added.