Boris Johnson is planning a massive party at the Prime Minister's grace and favour mansion Chequers as he clings on to power, it has been claimed. Sources in the Conservative Party told the Mirror the wedding was planned for later this month.
Mr Johnson and his wife Carried married at Westminster Cathedral in front of just a handful of guests in May 2021. They then celebrated in the Downing Street garden but were only allowed 30 guests because of Covid restrictions in place at the time.
They are now planning extravagant festivities on July 30 at the beautiful 16th Century manor house in Buckinghamshire which has traditionally been used as a country retreat for the prime minister of the day. It's understood that family and friends have been invited.
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One Tory source 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". A second insider added: "It's crass if it goes ahead."
But a spokesman for Mr Johnson said: "The PM has a strong sense of duty and will continue to serve his country until a new leader is in place solely to continue his obligation to the public."
Mr Johnson intends to remain in No 10 until his successor is elected, but he faces resistance to that plan from within his own party and the Opposition. There is not yet any agreement on when he actually has to leave No 10 - and all its trappings - with the executive of the Tory backbench 1922 committee expected to draw up a timetable.
Just minutes before the PM delivered his statement, No 10 sources claimed there were tensions between him and key aides over whether he would commit to a departure date.
Speaking outside Downing Street earlier, he said: "I've agreed with Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of our backbench MPs, that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now. The timetable will be announced next week. And I've today appointed a Cabinet to serve, as I will, until a new leader is in place."
Chequers has a heated indoor swimming pool, putting green and 1,500 acres of grounds. It was donated to the nation in 1917 by Lord and Lady Lee of Fareham as a “place of rest and recreation for Prime Ministers”. Built in 1565 and costing taxpayers almost £1million a year, the sumptuous red-brick is far from most Brits’ everyday experience.
The Chequers Trust received a £916,000 “grant in aid” from the Cabinet Office in 2020/21 – up from £882,000 last year and £879,000 the year before.
The Grade I-listed manor has walled gardens, a vast art collection and a half-kilometre driveway through a valley, lined by beech trees donated by Winston Churchill.