PMQs: Boris Johnson dodges question over seeking Foreign Office role for wife Carrie Johnson

Boris Johnson declared the Conservative Government “loves the railways” amid the biggest rail strikes in more than 30 years, as he avoided answering a question on whether he had tried to get his wife a job with the Foreign Office.

Asked by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions whether either he or transport secretary Grant Shapps had met with Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union officials this week, Mr Johnson said: “This is the Government that loves the railways, that lifts the railways.

"Ninety-six billion pounds was put into the integrated railway plan building … but what we’ve got to do is modernise our railways.

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"And it is a disgrace that when we are planning to make sure that you don’t have ticket offices that sell fewer than one ticket every hour that he [Sir Keir] yesterday had 25 Labour MPs at the picket line and the shadow deputy leader … backing the strikers while we back the strivers.”

Boris Johnson at Prime Minister's Questions. Picture: BBC Parliament

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Services had started later than normal across Scotland and the rest of the UK on Wednesday as trains were delayed leaving depots due to Network Rail signallers and control room staff who would usually have worked overnight shifts taking part in Tuesday’s strike.

Sir Keir responded by taking a swipe at reports that Mr Johnson attempted in 2019 to secure a senior role for his-then girlfriend, Carrie Johnson, at the Foreign Office.

"I’m surprised he’s giving advice about my team,” the Labour leader said. “If I do need advice, let’s say about a £100,000 job at the Foreign Office, I will ask him.”

Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street to attend Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images

Asked by a Labour MP whether he had ever considered his spouse for a UK Government post or one connected to the royal household, Mr Johnson said: "I know why the party opposite wants to talk about non-existent jobs in the media, Mr Speaker, because hey don't want to talk about what’s going on in the real world.

"I’m proud to say that actually we now have 620,000 more people in pay-rolled employment than before the pandemic began, which would never have been possible if we’d listened to the right honourable gentleman opposite.”

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