Keeping count of Boris’s children

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds On holiday in Scotland August 2020 Pic from Carrie's Instagram account
Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds On holiday in Scotland August 2020 Pic from Carrie's Instagram account
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How many children of Boris Johnson are out there? It was reported last July that the birth of Frank Alfred Odysseus Johnson – his third child with his wife Carrie – was his ninth child.

However his sister Rachel Johnson thinks we may have overcounted, telling ITV’s Loose Women that her brother has “eight kids”, and to expect more. “He’s going to be 60 and he could probably carry on like Robert de Niro who at the age of 80 has had another baby – a little tiny daughter,” she says. Will there be space for them all in Number 10 after Boris’s political comeback?

Keir’s romantic date

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria were spotted at the Everyman Cinema in London’s Kings Cross this week, taking in the new Bob Marley biopic One Love.

“He obviously had a bit of time to head out on Valentine’s night despite his party woes over Israel,” says my spy among the cinema’s cosy sofas. “Keir didn’t seem to attract much attention from the largely youthful audience – at least nobody pelted him with popcorn. They ordered wine and stayed till the end.” Well, it was St Valentine’s night. Who says romance is dead?

Royal dog etiquette

Royal couple Zara and Mike Tindall, have three children and three dogs, Storm and Pepper (both black Labradors) and Blink (a brindle Boxer). One of the red lines in their 12-year marriage appears to be when Mike lets the dogs “kiss” him on the lips.

Mike tells the Oh My Dog! podcast: “Zara hates it when I do it, but I would be lying if I said it hasn’t happened. Boxers are apparently a pleasant snog as they “have the softest muzzles and they’re so nice”, he adds, but the doggy kisses get more unpleasant as the pets get older.

“Pepper the Black Lab always wants a kiss but her breath is so bad so she’s dead to me from the kissing point of view,” he says. Don’t try this at home.

Light up the flags!

MP Andrew Rosindell is urging UK embassies and consulates to illuminate the Union flag at night. They are already required to fly the flags during office hours.

But foreign minister David Rutley is lukewarm. “Where flags are flown overnight, Heads of Mission have discretion on whether they are illuminated taking into account local circumstances, which may prevent them from doing so,” he says.

Not good enough! Switch on the spotlights, David!

Call it a day Joe, says Superman

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Dean Cain, who played the Man of Steel in the 1990s US TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

And Cain has bad news for Joe Biden who – he says – is “not fit to be President” because he is “old and senile”.

Cain told GB News this week: “He has flashes of lucidity, but I think everybody knows he’s old and he’s senile.

“Bless him, he’s lived a long and and very, very good life I’m sure. But to be running the free world, I don’t think he is fit for it.”

New Balls please!

Former Labour minister Ed Balls wanted to change his surname in his teens.

“When I was 13, 14 and 15 I thought, my God I have got to change my name,” he told George Osborne on their Political Currency podcast.

“But by the time I got to be an adult and went to university, it becomes part of who you are. From that moment on, I would never think about changing my name.

“If you think it was bad for me, think how much worse it was for my sister Ophelia, she had a much harder time at school.”

Osborne then chimed in: “I was at school with someone called Richard Head. Or Dick as he was sometimes called.” You wouldn’t find that schoolboy banter on the BBC.

Gyles could be gnome alone

Great ideas from readers about what to do with diarist Gyles Brandreth’s ashes (he wants some of them mixed into paint and daubed on a canvas).

James Rollin says the ashes “should somehow be knitted into a brightly coloured sweater with a Unicorn motif”.

Sculptor Jane Robbins offers to mix his ashes into clay and create “a bust or even statue of him”. She adds, optimistically: “There’d surely be queues around the block to see it.”

My favourite is from Tim Harrison who says his own father wants his ashes “mixed with cement and poured into a mould to form a garden gnome. Once cured and decorated, it can then be passed down the generations, a perpetual reminder of his passing.”

Peterborough, published every Friday at 7pm, is edited by Christopher Hope. You can reach him at

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