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The Telegraph

Boris Johnson ‘refused to send’ Carrie Symonds’ letter of complaint about their dog

Carrie Symonds drafted a letter of complaint following a newspaper report on her dog, claiming the animal’s rights were being infringed like a child, but Boris Johnson refused to send it after he described it as “nonsense”. Ms Symonds reportedly went “crackers” over the “completely trivial” story in The Times last March about their dog, Dilyn, according to Dominic Cummings. The story claimed that Ms Symonds and the Prime Minister were considering re-homing the dog because of its poor health. According to the Daily Mail, the letter Ms Symonds drafted accused The Times of being in breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice in Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 3 (Harassment) and Clause 6 (Children). The draft letter, which was signed by both their names, said it was “totally untrue to suggest that he suffers from chronic ill health” and added that “Dilyn is and always will be a much loved member of our family”. The letter claimed the article made a number of “highly inaccurate damaging allegations about our home and private life” and that it was “extremely upsetting and hurtful”. It details that the couple had received “abuse” from the public who had been “misled into believing that we would callously rehome our much-loved family dog”. It ends by saying the couple have been left with no option but to “pursue the matter formally with IPSO”. Mr Cummings, the Prime Minister’s former chief adviser, told the Commons Health and Social Care and Science and Technology Committees on Wednesday that the story had contributed to chaotic scenes in Downing Street as the Government was scrambling to respond to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Mr Cummings said that the Prime Minister had been distracted by the story when he reportedly told him there were “big problems coming” if self-isolation measures were not announced immediately, warning of “100,000 to 500,000 deaths”. Mr Cummings said: “It sounds so surreal it couldn’t possibly be true… that day, The Times had run a huge story about the Prime Minister and his girlfriend and their dog. “The Prime Minister’s girlfriend was going completely crackers about this story and demanding that the press office deal with that.” The report at the time stated Dilyn had proven quite a “sickly animal” and quoted one Whitehall source predicting: “I’m not sure that dog is going to make it through the next reshuffle.” However, sources told the Mail that Mr Cummings intervened and told Mr Johnson it was a waste of time.

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