Johnson crisis: what was wife Carrie's role?

In the Partygate scandal surrounding British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson is increasingly coming under fire. Tory peer Michael Ashcroft's new book First Lady, which criticises that she wields too much influence, has fanned the flames of the scandal. Commentators examine to what extent the accusations are driven by misogyny.

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The Irish Times (IE) /

Mysogynistic demonisation

Pinning the blame on Carrie Johnson is unfair and discriminatory, The Irish Times argues:

“The reality is she is a political spouse and far from having scheming influence, she is doubly damned. Denied all the agency of her professional life, she is damned for her husband's mistakes - even if she has had no part in them. It might not seem like the most pressing feminist issue, but the persistent blame and criticism levelled at the female spouses of male leaders in a way that is never levelled at the male spouses of female leaders, demonstrates that feminism still has a long way to go.”

The Times (GB) /

Those who wield power must be held accountable

But there is perhaps a little truth to the allegations, writes The Times:

“Her supporters have attacked the supposed misogyny of such suggestions, yet Mr Johnson's reputation of lacking fixed convictions does lend plausibility to them. There is nothing wrong with Mrs Johnson being a force in government policy. But just as Hillary Clinton was appointed to head a task force during her husband's first term as US president, such a role must be clearly defined and accountable. As things stand, no one really knows what Mrs Johnson's role is, and the mystery adds to the malaise of her husband's administration.”