Conservative leadership hopefuls Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are tonight facing off in a live debate on ITV. The debate, hosted by Julie Etchingham will see Mr Hunt and Mr Johnson take questions from a live audience of around 200 people. Heading into the debate both seemed confident with Mr Johnson telling the BBC: “Now’s the time to really get a grip on this, stop being so defeatist on our approach to the EU negotiations, and maybe be a lot more positive about our country and what it can do.”
Five fast facts about Boris Johnson’s girlfriend Carrie Symonds
1. Daughter of The Independent co-founder Matthew Symonds
Ms Symonds was born on March 17, 1988, to parents Matthew Symonds and Josephine Mcaffee.
Matthew Symonds is the co-founder of the Independent, and Ms Mcaffee one of the paper’s lawyers.
Ms Symonds grew up in southwest London.
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2. She attended the private Godolphin and Latymer School
Ms Symonds attended the private all-girls Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith, West London.
The school costs around £7,205 per term, with add-ons such as music lessons, speech and drama lessons and even lunch costing extra.
After Godolphin and Latymer, Ms Symonds went on to study theatre studies and history of art at Warwick University.
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3. She was offered a lift by serial rapist John Warboys at the age of 19
In 2007, aged 19, Ms Symonds was approached by serial rapist John Worboys whilst waiting at a bus stop on King’s Road in west London.
She told The Telegraph in 2009 that Worboys had offered to take her home for £5, and offered her a glass of champagne which she poured away.
Ms Symonds then said she was challenged by Worboys to down a shot of vodka for £50 and a free lift home, says the newspaper.
She said: “I downed it, which was stupid, as I just wanted to get home. From that point on I can’t really remember what happened.”
She later found out about Worboys’ other victims and was one of those who expressed outrage when a parole board ordered his release, eventually forcing a High Court ruling last year that put him back behind bars, reports The Times.
She said it was “absolutely terrifying” to find out how many women he had gone after, adding: “I was definitely in a position of danger, in a situation where I was not in control and I will never know what really happened to me.”
4. She met Mr Johnson when she began working at Conservative HQ as a press officer
Ms Symonds joined Tory HQ as a press officer in 2009 and met Mr Johnson three years later when she was asked to work on his London mayor re-election campaign.
She later became director of communications at Conservative Campaign headquarters.
5. Ms Symonds now works with Bloomberg
Ms Symonds leads Bloomberg’s ecological initiative Vibrant Oceans and describes herself in her Twitter biography as “Conservationist. Oceans. Fighting plastic pollution. Former Director of Comms for Conservatives & former Govt Special Adviser. Patron of @ConservativeAWF”
It is not known how long Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds have been together, but the pair live together in his south London home.