‘I’ve Seen First Hand That Carrie Is A Woman Who Gets Things Done, She Wants To Deliver A Better World For The Next Generation’

This week we saw Carrie Symonds take her place at Downing Street to watch her partner Boris Johnson make his inaugural speech as Prime Minister. Here, her friend Nimco Ali explains why Carrie could be a force for good at Number 10...

Carrie Symonds

by Nimco Ali |
Updated on

Yesterday, Boris Johnson stood outside 10 Downing Street, giving his inaugural speech as our new Prime Minister, watched by his girlfriend Carrie Symonds.

While her presence didn’t generate quite as many headlines as Boris’s speech (and to be fair, he was laying out his plans for the country under his premiership, so we certainly should have have been listening), her presence certainly didn’t go unnoticed, drawing headlines for everything from her choice of dress to her body language.

READ MORE: The Gross Tabloid Language Around Carrie Symonds Is A Total Throwback

I’ve known Carrie for a couple of years now, and know she’ll find these headlines uncomfortable - she hates being followed by and snapped by the press, and finds the media attention a bit unnerving. I find them uncomfortable too, because she’s one of the kindest and most brilliant people I’ve met. She’s also smart and driven, and it’s frustrating to see all the tabloid headlines focusing on her hair or her ex boyfriends rather than all her amazing achievements (she does have good hair tho!).

We became close when she was director of communications for the Conservatives, and as an anti-FGM campaigner, I wanted there to help me raise awareness and get more Conservative MPs to take the issue seriously. She went beyond the call of duty, wanting to do anything that she could to help. This wasn’t a job for her, she really cared about it.

Carrie Symonds Nimco Ali
Carrie and Nimco at the launch Boris Johnson's bid for leadership of the Conservative party

Later that year, it was announced that John Worboys the serial taxi rapist, would be being released far earlier than expected despite never admitting his crimes and showing no guilt. It is thought he sexually assaulted as many as 100 women, and Carrie herself has written about being drugged by Worboys after he picked her up in her black cab when she was just 19.

She gave up her right to anonymity and campaigned and raised money for a judicial review to get the decision turned over and it was successful. She did that not for herself but for other women. It was painful for her and exhausting and emotionally draining and even created some enemies as she had to ruffle some feathers, challenge the system and push for what she believed in. - but she did it to protect other girls.

Caring about the world and wanting to make it a better place for women and girls is one of the things that we shared and which makes her very much part of the sisterhood and someone I see as a sister not just a dear friend.

READ MORE: Jess Philips: 'Carrie Shouldn't Have To Answer To Boris'

But now Boris is in at No10, what can we expect from her as his partner? As much as she hates the media scrutiny she’s faced recently, she’s been very good at putting that stuff into context. She knows there are much worse things in life than a few made-up stories in the tabloids, and understands the politics of it. She’s not the kind of person to feel sorry for herself, which I love and respect about her.

But equally, I can’t wait to see what she does next - she wants to make the world better place and is such a force for good. You only have to meet her for a few minutes and her optimism and can-do spirit rubs off on you.

We’ve already seen how much Carrie cares about women’s rights, but she’s also passionate about the environment and animal welfare too. She works for a charity called Oceana where she fights against plastic pollution. She recently helped organise a huge rally against Japan’s decision to resume commercial whaling. She spoke to crowds of people and was really nervous beforehand but spoke passionately and honestly.

Carrie, like me, is someone who wants to deliver a better world for the next generation and she is a woman who gets things done. She will be keen not to want to interfere with Boris’s work, and will be very much doing her own thing when she enters Number 10.

She will continue to work full time for Oceana, doing her bit to make sure we clean up the world’s oceans and protect marine life. She will continue to champion young women, she will continue to do her bit to help the environment and she will always want to help reduce the suffering of animals. She’s done that all her life and so that’s not about to stop now.

Some newspaper reports have spoken darkly of Carrie exerting ‘too much’ influence over Boris’s campaign. Well they don’t have to worry - she’s very independent, and also has no desire for the limelight. Although if Boris is inclined to do a bit more on the very important issues that Carrie cares about so strongly, how could that be a bad thing?

As for me? I’m just pleased to have someone as remarkable as Carrie in my chosen family - because that’s what she is it to me, family.

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