Boris Johnson’s former aide says she felt like his ‘nanny’
Boris Johnson’s former senior aide has said she feels like his “nanny” when she remembers to schedule his naps and “reduce his temper tantrums”.
Special adviser Cleo Watson told how staff created a “puppy gate” barrier to prevent Mr Johnson from leaving his office while he was in self-isolation during the pandemic.
Ms Watson, who was brought into government by Dominic Cummings after working on the 2016 Leave campaign, compared her reluctance to stand down to Donald Trump’s refusal to concede defeat after the 2020 US presidential election.
She also admits that there were days when people at the heart of the government thought that the virus had won, that we had acted too late and that our measures were not working.
The revelations are included in an article Ms Watson wrote for Tatler where she describes her experience working as deputy chief of staff and at No 10.
Following Dominic Cummings’ departure in November 2020, he claimed the Prime Minister had compared him to an “ugly old lamp”, a colleague left behind after a divorce before sacking him.
She said: “He probably knows best what it feels like when a marriage breaks up,” she says, one of many barbs aimed at Mr. Johnson’s character at the absurdity of his behavior. There is a long list of explanations.
“My role in No 10 is great, but a lot of the time I was very close to being Boris’s nanny,” she added, explaining how she regularly took Mr Johnson’s temperature in the early days of the pandemic.
“Each time, unwilling to waste a good slap opportunity, he dutifully bowed.”
Comparing working at Downing Street to a nursery, she said: “That, plus the constant questioning of whether she’d washed her hands (‘recently’) about running her hands through her hair. What do you mean?’) which made him look like one of those troll toys from the ’80s at daily televised press conferences, and ‘King Flu’ and ‘A! Corona’. !’, characterizes most of the terrifying pre-death period in the nursery.
“During his recovery, Nanning moved quickly: I insisted he drink vitamin-packed green juices from Daylesford instead of his usual Diet Coke. Trying to find diary time for his naps. Or very gradual exercise…
“I want everything to go back to normal.
“Why does everything happen to meeeeeee?’ Fury of anger.”
He added: “The Prime Minister himself was subject to a considerable amount of house training.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson – in pictures
“Like many, he was ‘pinged’ a couple of times and insisted on working from his downstairs office in isolation.
“Pretty soon, he needed to set up chairs as barriers to the door, because he couldn’t resist stepping over the threshold into the room next to ours to look over his shoulder at people working. Have been (always in someone else’s pair of reading glasses. Found lying around).
So the Prime Minister’s ‘Puppy Gate’ was made.
“He would kneel on chairs, his elbows bumped up, like an unruly golden retriever, screaming for attention.”
Describing the possibility of seeing a comedy in this situation while a lot of time has passed, he said: “Because between the hard 18-hour days, the terrible days when we thought the virus had won, that we had a long had worked since and our measures were not. Not working, there was some mild relief.
Downing Street said it did not want to comment on Ms Watson’s account of her time.