When Jo Johnson quit government, reports began to circulate that his wife Amelia Gentleman – the Guardian journalist – had put pressure on him to leave frontline politics and thereby not serve in his brother Boris Johnson’s government. The Sun reported that Gentleman had grown tired of ‘seeing Boris presiding over an increasingly fractured government, threatening to break the law and promising to drag the country out of the EU or die in a ditch’ and told Jo he had to choose between her and his brother.
Now Gentleman has offered an insight into her relationship with her husband’s brother. Writing about her work uncovering the Windrush scandal – which saw Commonwealth immigrants to Britain wrongly deported and blighted Theresa May’s government – Gentleman says she has always endeavoured to keep her private life separate to her professional life:
‘I am married to Jo Johnson, who at the time was a minister in May’s government. As a news reporter, I have to be politically independent; I let him get on with his job and he doesn’t interfere in mine. Life is busy and mostly we focus on the day-to-day issues that come with having two children. Clearly, there are areas of disagreement, but we try to step around anything too contentious for the sake of family harmony.’
But political matters were still occasionally discussed at family get togethers. Gentleman says she spoke about Windrush and her reporting on the issue with Boris Johnson only once:
‘I had only one brief exchange about the issue with his brother Boris, who was then the foreign secretary, at a noisy family birthday party later in the year. He said: “You really f—ed the Commonwealth summit.”’
Mr S suspects Johnson will not thank Gentleman for the disclosure.