Donor Tory’s Cotswolds estate hosts Boris and Carrie Johnson’s wedding party

Boris and Carrie Johnson celebrated their wedding at the large Cotswolds estate of a major Tory donor with guests including loyalists Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nadine Dorries (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

Boris and Carrie Johnson celebrated their wedding at the sprawling Cotswolds estate of a major Tory donor with guests including stalwarts Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nadine Dorries.

The outgoing prime minister and his wife welcomed family and friends to 18th-century Daylesford House to celebrate their nuptials in a wider circle, after the pandemic forced them to curtail festivities last year.

The thrice-married groom’s 81-year-old father, Stanley Johnson, and his sister Rachel Johnson were there to commemorate his last marriage, while Australian actress Holly Valance was also seen entering the property.

Political allies who were also pictured arriving included Conservative Lord Zac Goldsmith and Conservative MP John Whittingdale, as well as cabinet colleagues Mr Rees-Mogg and Mrs Dorries.

There were questions about whether the Johnson administration defectors would be selected from the guest list, and former health secretary Sajid Javid was among those not seen arriving.

Former Foreign Minister Rishi Sunak and current Foreign Secretary Liz Truss missed the party because they were on the campaign trail in a bid to replace the prime minister.

A likely less welcome guest was anti-Brexit protester Steve Bray, who appeared on a road near the wedding venue with a giant banner reading “corrupt Tory government”.

Protester Steve Bray (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

Protester Steve Bray (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

Mrs Truss, on a campaign visit to Bromley, defended Johnson for holding the lavish celebrations at a time when millions are struggling with soaring bills.

Asked if the prime minister should focus on the crises facing the country instead of partying, he told reporters: “I think he is entitled to enjoy his wedding day, and I wish him well, Carrie and the whole family.

The event was held in a huge white marquee in the extensive landscaped grounds of Daylesford House in Gloucestershire.

The Grade I listed mansion is owned by Lord Bamford, chairman of construction equipment manufacturer JCB, who has donated millions to the Conservatives.

Stanley Johnson arrives at Daylesford House (Beresford Hodge/PA) (PA Wire)

Stanley Johnson arrives at Daylesford House (Beresford Hodge/PA) (PA Wire)

This week staff were seen going in and out of the bunting-covered tent amid apparent preparations for the party.

Guests were able to relax on hay bales and benches set up outside the canopy and eat and drink from barrels and small tables while enjoying views of vast lawns and orchards.

Mr and Mrs Johnson had originally planned to hold their wedding party at the Prime Minister’s official country residence, Checkers, in Buckinghamshire.

Those plans led to suggestions that Johnson wanted to stay on as caretaker prime minister in part to do so, although Downing Street denied this.

They were said to have sent out save-the-date cards for a celebration on July 30, before deciding to change locations.

The couple married in a low-key private ceremony at Westminster Cathedral last year, arranged in secret, in front of a small group of family and friends.

This was followed by a reception in the gardens of 10 Downing Street with a limited number of guests due to coronavirus restrictions.

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson were known to plan to have a bigger celebration this year after restrictions were eased.

Boris Johnson with Lord Bamford (Ben Stansall/PA) Billionaire Lord Bamford is covering at least part of the cost of the party, The Mirror reported, citing anonymous sources.

It is not the first time that Johnson has benefited from the backing of the JCB chairman.

The Tory pair supported his 2019 leadership bid, with Johnson tearing down a wall with a JCB digger at the Staffordshire factory in a stunt to show he could “end Brexit”.

Lord Bamford’s wife, Lady Carole Bamford, established the luxurious Daylesford Organic Farm, with a chain of shops selling its produce throughout London.

Johnson reportedly received food from the Daylesford farm shop worth an estimated £12,500 during the pandemic, although Downing Street said he paid the cost of all food for “personal consumption”.

When asked about the wedding celebrations, the number 10 refused to comment on the “private matter”.

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