Carrie and Boris Johnson 'right' to use childcare bubble at Christmas, minister says

Credit: PA

Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie were "absolutely right" to take advantage of a lockdown rule that allowed them to have a friend visit as a childcarer last Christmas, a senior minister has said.

Mr and Mrs Johnson were able to host family friend Nimco Ali in Downing Street on Christmas Day last year, despite lockdown restrictions banning most people from mixing with other households.

Downing Street repeatedly insisted on Monday that the couple complied with all coronavirus restrictions, brought in at the last minute over the Christmas period to stop cases spiralling, but it has not denied Ms Ali spent the day with them.

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds outside No.10 Downing Street. Credit: PA

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan attempted to justify the couple's visitor, saying: "It’s hard enough for the rest of us, when you’re having to run a country as well and have the challenges of difficult pregnancies, having a supportive friend to be there in your bubble is absolutely the right thing to do."

Echoing the words of the PM's spokesperson, she said: "I have no doubt at all the prime minister and Mrs Johnson followed the rules."

In her interview with the BBC, the minister added: “It was a childcare bubble and Nimco was there to help support and look after Wilf whilst the challenges of being the prime minister and his wife… I have every confidence they did not break the rules.

“I have absolutely no doubt Carrie and the prime minister were very precise and very clear, and Nimco is a passionate and adoring godmother and I know will have done everything in her power to support them as a family."

Ms Ali has also insisted she "did not break any rules" after Harper's Magazine claimed she "spent Christmas with the couple at No 10 despite pandemic restrictions on holiday gatherings".

Who is Nimco Ali?

Nimco Ali is a friend of Carrie Johnson and godmother to her and the prime minister's young son Wilfred.

She's been advising the government on tackling violence against women and girls.

She was awarded an OBE in the Queen's 2019 Birthday Honours List for services to tackling gender inequality.

It has been reported that Carrie Johnson's friend Nimco Ali spent Christmas day inside 10 Downing Street. Credit: PA

What were the rules last Christmas?

Household mixing was banned for many over Christmas last year under the previous tier system which said anyone living in an alert level four area, which London was included under, could only see one person from outside their social bubble and the meeting was only allowed to take place between individuals in an outdoor public setting.

The PM brought in the emergency measure at the last minute in a bid to stop coronavirus cases from spiralling.

It left Christmas plans for many around the country in ruins.

But there was an exception to provide childcare for those with young children, like Mr and Mrs Johnson's son Wilfred.

It is understood Ms Ali was able to spend the day with them as Mr and Mr Johnson took advantage of the exception which allowed one person to mix with a new household under a childcare bubble.

What's the reaction been?

Social media users reacted angrily to the news, with many voicing their fury about being forced to have a lonely festive period while Mrs and Mr Johnson were able to have a friend visit.

One social media user wrote on Twitter: "I exchanged presents with my Dad and sister socially distanced, in the rain, in a service station car park on the M1, after not seeing each other for eight months.

"This is unbelievable."