Will Rudd’s ‘not safe to drive’ jibe thwart John­son?

The Mail on Sunday - - Bojo's Brexit Re­volt - By Glen Owen PO­LIT­I­CAL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

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

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