Downing Street has dismissed “incorrect” claims from a right-wing think tank that Boris Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds is helping to run the country.
The Bow Group has said an inquiry should look at Symonds’ “possible influence” in government hiring and appointments.
Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the group, said Symonds “currently holds no official role in the Conservative Party or the government, yet consistent reports in the press suggest that Ms Symonds is taking a central role in running the country, without any authority or accountability to do so”.
But the prime minister’s press secretary Allegra Stratton gave the claims short shrift, saying there would be no response to the think tank’s call.
She stressed that Symonds was on maternity leave, looking after her son with Johnson.
It comes after two allies of Symonds, Baroness Finn and Henry Newman, were appointed as key advisers in No 10.
Their rise followed the departure of former Vote Leave figures Dominic Cummings, Lee Cain and Oliver Lewis from No 10 in recent months.
Stratton said “it’s incorrect” to say Symonds has a central role in government.
“The prime minister’s fiancee is on maternity leave, she’s raising their son Wilf and shortly she will be taking up a new role at the wildlife charity The Aspinall Foundation.”
Conservative MP Laura Trott questioned whether some of the hostile briefing against Symonds could be because she is a woman.
The Sevenoaks MP, who worked in the No 10 Policy Unit during David Cameron’s premiership, told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: “I used to work with Carrie, she’s an incredibly talented and able person and I think there should be some consideration given… About whether some of these things would be said about a man.
“It’s very distasteful and I think it’s incredibly unnecessary.”
Asked whether Johnson felt there was an element of sexism in the allegations against his fiancee, Stratton said: “That’s something I have heard him say.”