Minister says it would be 'churlish' to deny Boris Johnson a wedding party at Chequers

Chequers, in Buckinghamshire, is the official country residence of the prime minister. Credit: Number 10/PA

A Cabinet minister has told ITV News it would be "churlish" to deny Boris Johnson and his wife a wedding party at Chequers before he is replaced and loses access to the country residence all prime ministers get to use.

The prime minister married Carrie Johnson, née Symonds, at a low-key, private ceremony at Westminster Cathedral last year, while Covid restrictions were still in place. But the pair always planned a bigger bash in 2022.

It's unlikely a wedding party at Chequers - a 16th-century manor house in Aylesbury - would be controversial had Mr Johnson not announced he was resigning as prime minister.

But he's seeking to stay in post as a caretaker prime minister much longer than previous PMs have done and critics have suggested he doesn't want to leave until October because he wants to host the party at Chequers.

Mr and Mrs Johnson are said to have sent save-the-date cards to family and friends for the celebration on July 30, but many MPs want him to step down immediately.

One Tory source told the Mirror: “It beggars belief that even after all the criticism Johnson has faced regarding integrity and probity, one of the reasons he is staying is to have his wedding party at Chequers.

“It’s a national asset not his personal home. The Johnsons should do the decent thing and find a different venue. And Boris should do the decent thing and leave No 10 immediately”.

But Education Secretary James Cleverly told ITV News that the couple, like many others, had a scaled back wedding last year and it would be unkind to deny them a "wider" celebration at Chequers.

"I think it's rather churlish to begrudge him that, it will carry no burden to the public purse and I wish him and Carrie all the best."

The pair were apparently keen to go ahead with the party, despite critics insisting they should move the venue, but the Mirror is now reporting that they've bowed to pressure.

The paper said it had been told by Number 10 that the bash would be moved to another location.

Mr Cleverly admitted taxpayers would fund the prime minister's security, as they always do wherever he goes, but said they will fund the party themselves aside from that.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said: “The PM has a strong sense of duty and will continue to serve his country until a new leader is in place solely to continue his obligation to the public.”

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