Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s girlfriend Carrie Symonds is about five months pregnant with the couple’s first child – and it’s already been dubbed a ‘Brexit baby’.
After informing family and close friends, Ms Symonds put rumours to rest and confirmed the news on her private Instagram profile, writing: “We got engaged at the end of last year… and we’ve got a baby hatching early summer.”
The boy or girl will be at least the sixth child with three different women for the PM, who is still married to his second wife and proposed to his soon-to-be third wife at Christmas or New Year’s.
He will become the first British prime minister to marry in office for 250 years and the first to have a child in office since David and Samantha Cameron welcomed their daughter Florence.
An early summer birth would suggest the new arrival was conceived during the Autumn, around the time that the October 31 Brexit deadline was extended.
Mr Johnson, aged 55, had four children – all adults now – with his estranged spouse Marina Wheeler and a love child who was conceived during an affair with property developer Helen Macintyre.
Asked as recently as December’s general election campaign, Mr Johnson has repeatedly refused to reveal how many children he has fathered, but Ms Symonds’ pregnancy has cast a new spotlight on the guarded politician’s family life.
There had been speculation for weeks that Ms Symonds – the first unmarried partner of a prime minister to reside in 10 Downing Street – was pregnant.
She confirmed the news on Instagram, posting a photo showing Mr Johnson kissing her cheek while she is beaming. It was unknown if they have set a wedding date.
She wrote: “I wouldn’t normally post this kind of thing on here but I wanted my friends to find out from me…
“Many of you already know but for my friends that still don’t, we got engaged at the end of last year… and we’ve got a baby hatching early summer.
“Feeling incredibly blessed.”
A spokesperson for the couple said: “The Prime Minister and Miss Symonds are very pleased to announce their engagement and that they are expecting a baby in the early summer.”
Mum-to-be Ms Symonds, 31, has rarely been seen in public in recent months and has been keeping a low profile since Mr Johnson won last December’s general election.
In mid-February she was pictured leaving Downing Street via a back entrance, and she is said to have spent increasingly more time at Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country house in Buckinghamshire, this winter.
The couple – who recently adopted a Jack Russell-cross puppy called Dilyn – spent New Year’s Eve on the exclusive Caribbean island of Mustique, where they stayed at a VIP villa that cost an estimated £29,500 for ten days.
But they spent much of the time out of the public eye, and it is possible that he popped the question during their five-star getaway.
The pregnancy and engagement announcement came amid speculation that Mr Johnson – who years ago wrote an article describing the children of single mothers as “ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate” – and Ms Symonds would get married soon after his divorce with Ms Wheeler is finalised.
During the December campaign he refused to answer whether he and Ms Symonds were considering having children or tying the knot.
PM’s turbulent love life and affairs
The divorce between Mr Johnson, whose love life and extra-marital affairs have been well documented over the years, and Ms Wheeler recently moved a step closer to being approved after the former lovers ended a year-long dispute over money.
The Prime Minister was frequently accused of adultery during their marriage and fathered a love child born to Ms Macintyre in 2009.
Not a lot is know about his youngest child, Stephanie Macintyre, and it’s believed that she doesn’t have anything to do with her dad or half-siblings.
His first marriage, to Allegra Mostyn-Owen, collapsed because of his adultery. The marriage was annulled in 1993, and 12 days later he married Ms Wheeler.
Mr Johnson was sacked from the Tory front bench in 2004 for lying about an affair with the journalist Petronella Wyatt, which led to her having an abortion.
The Appeal Court ruled in 2013 that the public had a right to know he had fathered a daughter during an adulterous liaison while Mayor of London in 2009.
Claims that Mr Johnson squeezed the thigh of journalist Charlotte Edwardes, at a private lunch at The Spectator magazine’s HQ shortly after he became editor in 1999, overshadowed his first Conservative Party conference as PM.
But in a public display of affection, Mr Johnson kissed Ms Symonds after his speech to party members at the event.
Mr Johnson greeted Cabinet ministers before embracing his girlfriend, kissing her on the cheek and then walking out of the hall holding her hand.
Meanwhile, allegations about Mr Johnson’s relationship with American entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri, and whether she enjoyed preferential treatment while he was London mayor, also dominated the headlines in September.
Mr Johnson has insisted Ms Edwardes’ allegations are not true and has denied any impropriety in relation to the claims about Ms Arcuri.
Mr Johnson is said to have met Ms Symonds in 2012 when she was seconded to work on his Mayor of London re-election campaign as a press officer.
Neither has revealed when they began seeing each other romantically.
Their relationship came to light in September 2018 after it emerged Ms Wheeler had left Mr Johnson and was seeking a divorce after 25 years of marriage.
In June, police were called to Ms Symonds’ flat in Camberwell, south London, after an alleged altercation between her and Mr Johnson.
Ms Symonds was allegedly heard by neighboirs shouting “Get off me” and “get out of my flat” during the incident.
She moved into No10 last July after Mr Johnson was elected Tory leader and replaced Theresa May as Prime Minister.
London-born Ms Symonds, who turns 32 in March, went on to become the head of communications for the Conservative Party after working for Mr Johnson’s mayoral campaign.
She now works in public relations for the Oceana conservation group.
Congratulations roll in for couple
A friend previously revealed that Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds “love each other very much” and “want to get married as soon as the time is right”.
Congratulations rolled in for the couple after their big announcement.
Former chancellor Sajid Javid , who resigned from Government this month after a dispute with Mr Johnson, offered the couple his congratulations, tweeting it was “wonderful news!”
But not all politicians were so fulsome.
Labour MP Florence Eshalomi queried the timing of the announcement, appearing to reference Sir Philip Rutnam’s resignation from the Home Office some hours earlier.
She tweeted: “Very convenient for this news to be announced today.”
Pitches are already being made by MPs for the Prime Minister’s wedding to take place in their constituency.
Sacked former Scottish secretary David Mundell joked that the pair should elope, writing on Twitter : “Gretna Green is a great place for a wedding.”
In December, Mr Johnson’s sister Rachel Johnson said she has yet to meet Ms Symonds.
But their father Stanley, who appeared alongside Ms Johnson on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, said he has met Ms Symonds, adding: “The Johnsons are united in this.”
Back in January last year, Ms Symonds was joined by Stanley Johnson at an event in London opposing Japan’s plans to resume commercial whaling.
The pair were spotted smiling and chatting together after they both addressed the crowd.
Earlier in February, a court gave childhood friends Mr Johnson and Ms Wheeler’s divorce the go-ahead as they reached a deal over money.
During a brief hearing, a family court judge gave Ms Wheeler – a 55-year-old human rights lawyer and Queen’s Counsel who had battled cervical cancer – permission to formally end the marriage.
The estranged couple – who have two sons and two daughters – announced in September 2018 that they were divorcing following a quarter century of marriage, saying that “as friends we will continue to support our four children in the years ahead”.
They initiated proceedings the same month.
It came after Ms Wheeler allegedly accused her husband of infidelity.
Journalists are barred from disclosing details of the former couple’s financial settlement.
In recent months, American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri denied claims that she had an affair with Mr Johnson while he was with Ms Wheeler.
Amid questions over how many children the Prime Minister has, Ms Arcuri claimed Mr Johnson told her that he has a fifth child.
Other babies welcomed into No10
Mr Johnson is not the first prime minister to welcome a baby into Number 10.
Tony Blair walked into Downing Street in 1997 as a father-of-three but had added to his family by the end of his decade-long premiership.
His wife Cherie Blair gave birth to son Leo three years after the then-Labour leader’s first landslide general election win.
Mr Blair’s youngest son was the first child legitimately born to a serving prime minister for more than 150 years.
Before Mr Blair, it was Lord John Russell and wife Lady Russell who produced the last child to be born to the office holder of First Lord of the Treasury – the prime minister’s official title.
Lady Russell gave birth to two sons, George and Francis, during her husband’s first stint in office between 1846 and 1852.
After a century-and-a-half delay between prime ministerial babies, Downing Street only had to wait 10 years for the patter of tiny feet to return to its corridors.
Conservative prime minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha welcomed daughter Florence Rose Endellion Cameron into the world in 2010.
Mr Cameron had only formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats three months prior to her being born, with the general election that year producing a hung parliament.