Labour MPs claim Boris Johnson had his ‘secret’ wedding to ‘bury bad news’


Labour MPs faced a backlash today after launching bitter jibes about Boris Johnson’s wedding to Carrie Symonds. 

Keir Starmer sent a gracious message to the happy couple as the news emerged last night, saying he wished them  a ‘happy life together’.

But some senior members of his party were not as tactful. Former frontbencher Jon Trickett tweeted saying it was a good way to ‘bury this week’s bad news’ on coronavirus and the No11 flat refurbishment. 

Meanwhile, shadow justice minister Karl Turner swiped that weddings were meant to be ‘happy events’ but people were asking ‘who paid’ because they assumed the PM was up to ‘some sort of fiddle’. 

And Veteran Labour MP Barr Sheerman tweeted: ‘Where did the Prime Minister’s previous marriages take place should there be blue plaques?’ 

Boris Johnson married girlfriend Carrie Symonds in a secret ceremony yesterday morning, the Mail on Sunday can reveal 

Labour former frontbencher Jon Trickett tweeted saying the PM's wedding was a good way to 'bury this week's bad news' on coronavirus and the No11 flat refurbishment

Labour former frontbencher Jon Trickett tweeted saying the PM’s wedding was a good way to ‘bury this week’s bad news’ on coronavirus and the No11 flat refurbishment

Shadow justice minister Karl Turner swiped that weddings are meant to be 'happy events' but people were asking 'who paid' because they assumed the PM was up to 'some sort of fiddle'

Shadow justice minister Karl Turner swiped that weddings are meant to be ‘happy events’ but people were asking ‘who paid’ because they assumed the PM was up to ‘some sort of fiddle’

Veteran Labour MP Barry Sheerman mocked the PM for being married three times

Veteran Labour MP Barry Sheerman mocked the PM for being married three times

Mr Johnson, 56, exchanged vows with Ms Symonds, 33, in Catholic Westminster Cathedral in front of a handful of close friends and family yesterday – becoming the first Prime Minister to marry in office since Lord Liverpool married Mary Chester in 1822.

It comes just six days after the couple – who became engaged on the Caribbean island of Mustique in December 2019 and have baby Wilfred, aged one – sent out save-the-date cards to guests telling them to keep Saturday, July 30, 2022 free for a marriage celebration.

Despite sending out the cards, the couple are understood to have been secretly planning the small ceremony for six months.

Under current Covid rules there is a limit of 30 guests at weddings – although the cap is expected to be lifted on June 21st – ‘freedom day’ – when most restrictions are set to be lifted. 

With Mr Johnson pegged to be back at work next week, it looks unlikely the couple – who will make their debut appearance as husband and wife at the G7 summit in June – will have a honeymoon.

One-year-old Wilfred attended the wedding, as did two official witnesses. Ms Symonds shared a picture of their son yesterday in a field of bluebells – which some speculated was a nod to the tradition of ‘something blue’.

Mr Johnson’s sibling’s Rachel, Jo and Leo Johnson are also understood to have attended, along with his father Stanley.

Responding to the news, Sir Keir said: ‘Congratulations to Boris & Carrie. Whatever our political differences, I wish them a happy life together.’

But Mr Turner posted: ‘A couples wedding day is meant to be a wonderfully happy event. So isn’t it awful that when our PM gets married people ask ‘who paid’. It is, I think, even more tragic that people jump to the question because they fully expect our PM to be involved with some sort of fiddle.’

He added a shrug emoji.

Mr Trickett wrote: ‘Boris ”secret wedding” – a good way to bury this weeks bad news: COVID Indian variant; Dom Cummings testimony; ”who should we allow to die?”; fishy goings on in No 10 flat; the Richest get even richer etc etc.’

But the MP faced angry responses to the swipe, with social media users accusing him of ‘class hatred’ and trying to ‘politicise a wedding’, and pointing out that Sir Keir had been far more ‘gracious’. 

Mr Johnson, 56, exchanged vows with Ms Symonds, 33, in Catholic Westminster Cathedral (pictured) in front of a handful of close friends and family - becoming the first Prime Minister to marry in office since Lord Liverpool married Mary Chester in 1822

Mr Johnson, 56, exchanged vows with Ms Symonds, 33, in Catholic Westminster Cathedral (pictured) in front of a handful of close friends and family – becoming the first Prime Minister to marry in office since Lord Liverpool married Mary Chester in 1822

Ms Symonds shared a picture of their son yesterday in a field of bluebells - which some speculated was a nod to the tradition of 'something blue'

Ms Symonds shared a picture of their son yesterday in a field of bluebells – which some speculated was a nod to the tradition of ‘something blue’ 

Mr Johnson's father, Stanley, was photographed outside No10 last night with his daughter Julia, shortly after attending the service

Mr Johnson’s father, Stanley, was photographed outside No10 last night with his daughter Julia, shortly after attending the service 

It comes just six days after the couple sent out save-the-date cards to guests telling them to keep Saturday, July 30, 2022 free for a marriage celebration. Pictured: Guests leaving Downing Street after the wedding. It is not clear what their relation to the newlyweds is

It comes just six days after the couple sent out save-the-date cards to guests telling them to keep Saturday, July 30, 2022 free for a marriage celebration. Pictured: Guests leaving Downing Street after the wedding. It is not clear what their relation to the newlyweds is

Despite sending out the cards, the couple are understood to have been secretly planning the small ceremony for six months. Pictured: A guest leaving Downing Street after the wedding. It is not clear what their relation to the newlyweds is

Despite sending out the cards, the couple are understood to have been secretly planning the small ceremony for six months. Pictured: A guest leaving Downing Street after the wedding. It is not clear what their relation to the newlyweds is

Musicians were also seen leaving Downing Street last night. Ms Symonds wore a white dress, without a veil, for the ceremony and walked down the aisle to the strains of classical music

Musicians were also seen leaving Downing Street last night. Ms Symonds wore a white dress, without a veil, for the ceremony and walked down the aisle to the strains of classical music

The ceremony was officiated by Father Daniel Humphries (pictured). He baptised the couple's one-year-old son Wilfred last year and gave them their pre-marriage instructions.

The ceremony was officiated by Father Daniel Humphries (pictured). He baptised the couple’s one-year-old son Wilfred last year and gave them their pre-marriage instructions.

How can divorced people get married in a Catholic church? 

Carrie Symonds is a practising Catholic. Boris Johnson has also been baptised as a Catholic – a first for a sitting PM. 

Mr Johnson had earlier abandoned his mother’s Catholicism, becoming an Anglican while at Eton. 

He said deeming himself a ‘serious, practising Christian’ would be ‘pretentious’ in a 2015 interview. 

But the PM – who is twice divorced – yesterday married Ms Symonds, 33, in Catholic Westminster Cathedral.

They kissed after exchanging their vows for Father Daniel Humphreys, who baptised their son Wilfred into the faith at the same cathedral last autumn.

He also gave the newlyweds their pre-marriage instructions. 

The Roman Catholic church does not allow divorcees to be married in its churches – but there are a couple of ways the newlyweds could have gotten around the rules. 

Catherine Pepinster, Catholic author and broadcaster, explained that as Boris Johnson was himself baptised a Catholic but married previously in non-Catholic settings, the church did not recognise his previous marriages. 

She said: ‘As far as the Church is concerned, this is his first marriage. 

‘They don’t need to be annulled. They didn’t happen, according to Roman Catholic canon law.’

In the eyes of Catholic law, civil divorces do not have any bearing. Those who are officially divorced are still married in the eyes of the Catholic church.

As someone cannot be married to more than one person, divorcees cannot technically re-marry.

But, previous marriages can be annulled in the eyes of the church. 

This relies on the church finding that the marriage was never properly entered into in the first place.

The church recognises that divorce is sometimes necessary for none Catholics to settle civil matters, such as childcare.

During Covid, many couples have held a small marriage ceremony with just close friends – while arranging a larger celebration for after the end of all restrictions.

The 30 guests were invited at the last minute, with only a handful of church officials involved in the preparations for the service at 2pm yesterday.

Armed police stood guard as visitors were ushered out half an hour earlier by staff who told them the building was going into lockdown.

Ms Symonds wore a white dress, without a veil, for the ceremony and walked down the aisle to the strains of classical music. 

They kissed after exchanging their vows for Father Daniel Humphreys, who baptised Wilfred into the faith at the same cathedral last autumn. 

He also gave the newlyweds their pre-marriage instructions. 

Last night, cathedral chaplain Father Michael Donaghy admitted even he didn’t know the identity of the VIP bride and groom until it was all over. 

He said: ‘It’s been kept very confidential.’ One witness told how the party was ‘bundled into a car’ after leaving the cathedral 

Ms Symonds is a practising Catholic. Mr Johnson was also baptised as a Catholic – a first for a sitting PM – although he later became an Anglican.

A Westminster Cathedral spokesperson told the Sunday Times: ‘On Saturday 29 May, the wedding of Carrie Symonds and Boris Johnson took place in Westminster Cathedral. 

‘The bride and groom are both parishioners of the Westminster Cathedral parish and baptised Catholics. 

‘All necessary steps were taken, in both church and civil law, and all formalities completed before the wedding.’

Mr Johnson had earlier abandoned his mother’s Catholicism, becoming an Anglican while at Eton.

An image of  the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus appears above the altar in the cathedral’s Lady Chapel, where the couple were wed.

One guest described Ms Symonds as looking ‘extremely happy’ and Mr Johnson as ‘very smart and dapper….he didn’t take his eyes of her’.

While their official guest list is still under lock and key, Mr Johnson’s father, Stanley, was photographed outside No10 this evening with his daughter Julia, shortly after attending the service. 

Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster was the first political figure to send her best wishes, writing on Twitter: ‘Huge congratulations to Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds on your wedding day.’

Tory MP Ric Holden posted: Big congratulations to our Prime Minister @BorisJohnson and Carrie on getting married Very best to both them and to Wilfred for the future!’ 

The couple became engaged on the Caribbean island of Mustique in December 2019 and have baby Wilfred, aged one (pictured together with their dog Dilyn)

The couple became engaged on the Caribbean island of Mustique in December 2019 and have baby Wilfred, aged one (pictured together with their dog Dilyn)

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