The thrice-married Prime Minister stumbled into an apparently spontaneous joke about his enormous brood
Boris Johnson made a bizarre joke about spending time in delivery rooms as he opened today’s first meeting of his new-look Cabinet.
The thrice-married Prime Minister, who has at least six children, told survivors of the cull and new entrants to the top team that they were all there on “merit”.
Urging them to bolster their efforts to deliver for the public, he made a gag about Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is also a father of six.
“I’m just thinking about delivery … I’ve seen a few delivery rooms, probably seen as many delivery rooms as anybody in this … with the possible exception of Jacob,” said Mr Johnson, who refuses to confirm exactly how many children he has sired.
“I know that delivery normally involves a superhuman effort by at least one person in the room.
“But there are plenty of other people in that room who are absolutely indispensable to that successful outcome.”
Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie is pregnant with their second child. He has four kids with ex-wife Marina Wheeler and a daughter who was the product of an affair.
The PM continued: “To mix my metaphors, this is, if you like, the half-time pep talk.
“This is the moment when we spit out the orange peel, we adjust our gum shields and our scrum caps.
“We get out onto the pitch in the knowledge that we’re going to have to do it together and we’re going to have to do it as a team.”
Mr Johnson has never confirmed how many children he has, though his mother’s death notice in The Times appeared to list six.
Today’s meeting was the first since this week’s reshuffle in which the PM sacked Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland.
New ministers around the table included Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, while Dominic Raab was demoted from Foreign Secretary to Justice.
The reorganisation has reportedly triggered a row over who will get access to grace-and-favour residence Chevening.
Both Mr Raab, who was also handed the role of Deputy Prime Minister, and his replacement as Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, have staked a claim to the property.
Asked about the alleged stand-off, the PM’s spokesman said: “You will appreciate that the reshuffle is still ongoing.
“There is a long process in place for nominating the occupants of Chevening House and we will update in due course.”
Pressed on whether both ministers had put in bids to use the residence, the spokesman added: “I’m not going to get into discussions.
“We will conclude the reshuffle and then we will get into the longstanding processes, like residences.”
The spokesman said there was not “one single post” that was entitled to use the Kent country house.
A source said Downing Street had already privately agreed that Mr Raab and Ms Truss will share Chevening.
It’s understood discussions are under way about how the arrangement will work in practice.
The lavish home is used by other groups and organisations, not just the minister who has responsibility for it.