Will Rudd’s ‘not safe to drive’ jibe thwart Johnson?
LAST year’s referendum campaign demonstrated that Boris’s colourful private life would be considered fair game in any leadership contest.
In a televised debate, Remainbacking Amber Rudd, now the Home Secretary, alluded to Boris’s rackety reputation when she delivered the killer line: ‘He is the life and soul of the party but he is not the man you want driving you home at the end of the evening’.
Scandal has followed Mr Johnson throughout his 23-year marriage to his second wife, barrister Marina Wheeler, with whom he has four children.
In 2004 he tried to brazen out a four-year affair with the journalist Petronella Wyatt by describing it as ‘an inverted pyramid of piffle’.
But Conservative leader Michael Howard later sacked him as arts spokesman because of his lying. It later emerged that Ms Wyatt had an abortion and a miscarriage during the relationship.
Although his wife kicked him out of the marital house, he was allowed back after two months – only to be caught a year later cycling to afternoon assignations with education journalist Anna Fazackerley. Five years later he strayed again with art consultant Helen Macintyre, who gave birth to a daughter. After Ms Macintyre’s partner ordered a DNA test, a court ruled it was in the public interest for the press to reveal that Johnson was the father.
Boris cannot be accused of being a hypocrite: he has never stood on a platform of family values, expressing doubt that ‘a bunch of uniformly virtuous politicians’ would benefit the nation.
Miss Wyatt wrote in The Mail on Sunday about Boris, saying he was ‘a man of strong beliefs, but... he is not always sure what they ought to be’. She added: ‘There is an element of Boris that wants to be Prime Minister because the love of his family and Tory voters is not enough’.
After his affair with Ms Macintrye, it was reported that Marina had forced Boris to sign over their house in Islington and a farmhouse in Oxfordshire, so he would automatically lose them if he wandered again.
PERFECT PUTDOWN: Amber Rudd delivered a killer line about Boris’s dubious reputation