Boris Johnson misses COBRA heatwave meeting to ‘host leaving party at Chequers’

Boris Johnson misses COBRA heatwave meeting to 'host leaving party at Chequers' 2
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Boris Johnson missed an emergency COBRA heatwave meeting ‘to host a farewell party at Chequers this weekend with his wife Carrie’.

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Nadine Dorries was spotted smiling as she left the grace-and-favour country home in Buckinghamshire on Sunday following reports the PM hosted his ‘leaving do’ with ‘friends and family’.

No 10 have denied to say if the bash was taking place but revealed Mr Johnson ‘worked’ from the luxury retreat this weekend despite reports that he skipped a second Cobra meeting in a row yesterday as Britain prepares to endure temperatures of up to 39C (102F) next week.

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Cabinet Office Minister Kit Malthouse chaired the meeting of the Cobra (Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms) civil contingencies committee, which comes just three days after the first crisis meeting was held on Monday.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the move was a ‘progression’ of the ‘significant work ‘ that had already been done to prepare, and there were contingency measures which have been enacted or are ready to be enacted.

A No10 spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘The Prime Minister has worked from Chequers this weekend.

‘Ministers have chaired a COBR meeting on our response to the extreme weather, and we continue to monitor the situation closely.’

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Formal invitations to the event at Chequers were reportedly sent out earlier this week. 

Nadine Dorries was spotted smiling as she left the grace-and-favour country home in Buckinghamshire on Sunday following reports the PM hosted his 'leaving do' with 'friends and family'

Nadine Dorries was spotted smiling as she left the grace-and-favour country home in Buckinghamshire on Sunday following reports the PM hosted his ‘leaving do’ with ‘friends and family’

Formal invitations to the event at Chequers (pictured) were reportedly sent out earlier this week

Formal invitations to the event at Chequers (pictured) were reportedly sent out earlier this week

Boris Johnson missed an emergency COBRA heatwave meeting 'to host a farewell party at Chequers this weekend with his wife Carrie'

Boris Johnson missed an emergency COBRA heatwave meeting ‘to host a farewell party at Chequers this weekend with his wife Carrie’

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A Tory source told Sky News: ‘The invitation comes from Mr and Mrs Johnson.

‘It is their farewell bash at Chequers this weekend. Partners and children are all invited.’

Pro-EU protestor Steve Bray was also pictured outside the luxury retreat this evening, holding placards that read ‘Get your Johnson out of our democracy’. 

Meanwhile, Labour accused Mr Johnson of being ‘missing in action’ as he ‘prepares to party while Britain boils’.

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Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said: ‘Boris Johnson has gone missing in action again. He’s back to his old trick of skipping important Cobra meetings. 

‘The public will have no confidence in this zombie Conservative government responding swiftly and decisively to this national emergency as this disgraced prime minister prepares to party while Britain boils.’

Pro-EU protestor Steve Bray was also pictured outside the luxury retreat this evening, holding placards that read 'Get your Johnson out of our democracy'

Pro-EU protestor Steve Bray was also pictured outside the luxury retreat this evening, holding placards that read ‘Get your Johnson out of our democracy’

Angela Rayner, Labour's deputy leader, said: 'Boris Johnson has gone missing in action again. He's back to his old trick of skipping important Cobra meetings'

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said: ‘Boris Johnson has gone missing in action again. He’s back to his old trick of skipping important Cobra meetings’

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Ms Rayner added of Mr Johnson’s absence: ‘Where’s the plan for the delivery of essential services and how people will be kept safe at work, on transport, in schools, hospitals and care homes?’

The PM’s leaving bash comes as Downing Street confirmed earlier this month that Boris and Carrie Johnson have been forced to scrap their wedding party at Chequers.

The Johnsons reportedly planned a big party at the grace-and-favour country home to mark their marriage at the end of July. 

But a source previously said that they would now be looking at other venues, insisting: ‘Nothing had been 100 per cent firmed up’. The PM’s spokesman later confirmed that there would be no party at Chequers, adding: ‘As you’ll know, taxpayers don’t cover prime ministers’ personal expenditure’.

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Boris announced his decision to step down amid a sea of ministerial resignations on July 8, but said he intends to stay on as caretaker leader until a suitable replacement is found, likely to be by the Autumn. And hours later the party plan emerged.

Carrie Johnson carried seven-month-old daughter Romy as she watched husband Boris Johnson deliver his resignation speech outside Downing Street earlier this month. Pictured, Boris ally Nadine Dorries (right) cooed over baby girl

Carrie Johnson carried seven-month-old daughter Romy as she watched husband Boris Johnson deliver his resignation speech outside Downing Street earlier this month. Pictured, Boris ally Nadine Dorries (right) cooed over baby girl 

The couple tied the knot in a secret ceremony at Westminster Cathedral in front of just a handful of guests in May 2021

The couple tied the knot in a secret ceremony at Westminster Cathedral in front of just a handful of guests in May 2021

One Tory MP told the Mirror: ‘It beggars belief that even after all the criticism Johnson has faced regarding integrity and probity, one of the reasons he is staying is to have his wedding party at Chequers. It’s a national asset, not his personal home. The Johnsons should do the decent thing and find a different venue. And Boris should do the decent thing and leave No 10 immediately’.

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But one of the PM’s closest colleagues, new Education Secretary James Cleverly, said the party should be at Chequers if he wants it and called the criticism ‘churlish’.

‘Private functions like that do not impose a burden on the public purse’, he said. ‘I think it’s churlish to be negative about two people who want to celebrate their marriage and their love for each other’.

The Evening Standard reported last month that this would take the form of a ‘champagne-soaked soiree’ at the PM’s country residence to celebrate the couple’s first anniversary. 

Carrie, who entered No. 10 as Boris’ girlfriend and leaves as his wife and the mother of two of his children, smiled encouragingly as the Prime Minister announced he was stepping down, admitting: ‘No one is indispensable’. 

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During his speech, Boris acknowledged the sacrifices made by his wife and family, saying: ‘I want to thank Carrie and my children and all my family, who have put up with so much for so long.’

Boris Johnson misses COBRA heatwave meeting to 'host leaving party at Chequers' 3

No10 had appealed for Conservative MPs to come and watch the speech in the street, but there was only a small crowd of people present, pictured. Mrs Johnson, pictured in red, watched alongside Johnson ally Nadine Dorries (pictured in white)

Carrie and Romy Johnson watched the speech

In a statement in Downing Street, the PM tried to sound an upbeat tone as he confirmed that his time in office is coming to an end

In a statement in Downing Street, the PM tried to sound an upbeat tone as he confirmed that his time in office is coming to an end. Mr Johnson was watched by his wife Carrie (left) and their daughter Romy

The couple tied the knot in a secret ceremony at Westminster Cathedral in front of just a handful of guests in May 2021. 

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But their plan to use a grace-and-favour country home to host their delayed wedding party even as Johnson prepares to depart Downing Street further angered already disgruntled Conservatives.

The pair also have some work cut out for them when it comes to the guest list for their lavish do.

Their save-the-date cards went out last year, but given that a host of Boris’ Conservative MPs have called for his resignation in recent weeks and declared they do not have faith in his ability to lead the nation, several invitees may soon find out their presence at the wedding bash is no longer desired.

A Downing Street source said: ‘The party is still going ahead, but the guestlist will be a headache.

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‘Boris and Carrie sent the ‘save the date’ cards last year but obviously recent developments mean a few of the people they sent them to would not now be as welcome as they once were.’

How Boris and Carrie planned to build a £150,000 treehouse for Wilf and hoped to host summer BBQs at Chequers – which they ‘use more than recent PMs’ DESPITE ‘falling out with staff’ 

Chequers, bequeathed to the nation in 1917 by Lord and Lady Lee of Fareham, is part-funded with a grant from the Cabinet Office

Chequers, bequeathed to the nation in 1917 by Lord and Lady Lee of Fareham, is part-funded with a grant from the Cabinet Office 

Chequers, bequeathed to the nation in 1917 by Lord and Lady Lee of Fareham, is part-funded with a grant from the Cabinet Office.

Lord and Lady Lee wanted the 16th century, 1,000-acre estate to be a ‘place of rest and recreation for Prime Ministers’ to help them cope with the pressures of government. 

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The grant was around £690,000 a year under Mr Cameron, but has now risen to £916,000 under Mr Johnson. 

One source previously acknowledged that the Johnsons ‘use Chequers more’ than recent PMs, and the costs are higher as a result. 

In May, it was claimed the head housekeeper at the PM’s Chequers residence quit after clashing with Carrie.

Charlotte Vine MBE reportedly left with a payoff in 2020 after signing a non-disclosure agreement.

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According to the Times, the departure came after tensions with the premier’s wife. However, a spokeswoman for Mrs Johnson insisted that there was no dispute.

Ms Vine is said to have first worked at the 16th-century Buckinghamshire manor house in 2004.

She left to join the household at another ministerial residence, Dorneywood, before returning to the top job at Chequers.

The Times said Ms Vine faced disciplinary action over ‘inappropriate handling of a personal item’ belonging to Mr Johnson, but this was later dropped and she left with a pay-off in January 2020.

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A source told the newspaper that the friction with Mrs Johnson began soon after they began using the residence.

‘Carrie took something Charlotte said completely the wrong way. It started over a catering matter. It led to Carrie refusing to go to Chequers when Charlotte was there.’

A spokeswoman for the PM’s wife told MailOnline: ‘It is untrue to suggest there was a personal dispute between Mrs Johnson and the head housekeeper.

‘Nor was there any request from Mrs Johnson for staffing changes.’

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There are also claims that there has been a reduction in the number of staff introduced by David Cameron during the coalition’s austerity drive.

Four more workers are said to have been added since Mr Johnson became PM.

Meanwhile it also emerged last month that emerged Mr Johnson planned a £150,000 treehouse in the grounds of Chequers for his two-year-old son Wilf but abandoned the idea after police raised security concerns.

The Prime Minister and his wife Carrie Johnson wanted to build the structure, which included bulletproof glass, in 2020. According to The Times, there were discussions about having Tory donor Lord Brownlow pay for the project.

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Asked if a penny of taxpayer or donor money was spent on plans to build a Chequers treehouse, the PM said: ‘I’m not going to comment on non-existent objects or non-existent jobs to do with my family.’  

Meanwhile insiders told only last month how Mr Johnson planned to host a series of ‘barbecues and drinks’ at Chequers for party loyalists to shore up support this summer.

Several barbecues were lined up at the Prime Minister’s grace-and-favour residence as a reward for loyal supporters.

Insiders said the invitation list has been drawn up specifically to include MPs who publicly said they would vote for the Prime Minister in a confidence vote.

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Mr Johnson’s ‘summer sausage offensive’ was planned as several events in the second half of July, insiders said.

 

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