Carrie Johnson and the curious case of the vanishing Occasions story | Carrie Johnson

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At first look, the story seemed to be the political scoop of the weekend.

On Saturday, the Occasions reported claims that Boris Johnson had tried to rent his now spouse as his chief of employees when he was overseas secretary.

However nearly as quickly because the article hit the printers, it was withdrawn, with out rationalization or clarification.

The piece, written by the veteran foyer journalist Simon Walters, previously of the Every day Mail and Mail on Sunday, appeared on web page 5 of some early print copies of Saturday’s Occasions newspaper however was dropped for later editions.

It doesn’t seem that the article was ever revealed on the Occasions’ web site.

The story expanded on claims in a biography of Carrie Johnson by the Tory donor and peer Lord Ashcroft that Johnson had tried to nominate her to a £100,000-a-year authorities job when he was overseas secretary in 2018.

It stated the concept had fallen aside when his closest advisers realized of the concept to rent the Tory press chief, then often known as Carrie Symonds, whom he later married. Johnson was then nonetheless married to Marina Wheeler, a barrister.

A supply with information of the scenario informed the Guardian this account was right.

Nevertheless, a spokesperson for Carrie Johnson was categoric. “These claims are completely unfaithful,” she stated.

Downing Road declined to provide an on-the-record response to the story however a No 10 supply additionally stated the story was unfaithful – and recommended it was sexist.

“This can be a grubby, discredited story turned down by most respected media shops as a result of it isn’t true. The info converse for themselves.”

Walters informed the Guardian: “I stand by the story. I went to all of the related folks over two days. No person supplied me an on-the-record denial and Downing St didn’t deny it off the document both.”

Journalists on the Occasions have been baffled by the choice to withdraw Saturday’s story, with a number of sources suggesting there had been a high-level intervention to take away it.

The paper’s editor, John Witherow, is reported to be off work. His deputy Tony Gallagher edited the newspaper on Friday, with a number of sources saying he made the decision to drop the story from later editions.

A spokesperson for Information UK declined to touch upon why an article that appeared prominently in probably a whole bunch of hundreds of print newspapers had been faraway from later editions, with none rationalization.

Walters just lately left his senior place on the Every day Mail, the place he first revealed the scandal over Carrie Johnson’s renovations of the Downing Road flat.

MailOnline rewrote the Occasions’ story concerning the proposed authorities job for Carrie Johnson within the early hours of Saturday morning however has since additionally deleted its article with out rationalization or an editor’s observe. Information aggregation websites have additionally deleted their copies of the MailOnline article.

Eradicating the article could also be an instance of the Streisand impact – the place makes an attempt to delete info from the web make the general public way more fascinated with it.

Alastair Campbell, the previous No 10 director of communications below Tony Blair, tweeted on Sunday that the disappearance of the story seemed to be “additional proof that a lot of our media is actually an extension of the press workplace of a liar and a criminal”. He additionally stated that the Occasions proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, had “accomplished a lot harm to journalism”.

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