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2020-04-29

It's a boy, British PM Johnson and fiancee are excited about the birth of their son

Image:-Britain March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds, gave birth to a healthy baby boy at a London hospital on Wednesday, slightly earlier than had been expected.

Symonds, 32, had previously said in early summer that their baby was due to "hatch." It was not clear whether Johnson, 55, would take paternity leave given that the government faces the worst health crisis since the influenza outbreak of 1918.

"Earlier this morning, the Prime Minister and Ms Symonds are thrilled to announce the birth of a healthy baby boy at a hospital in London," a spokeswoman said. "Mum and baby are doing very well.

“The PM and Ms Symonds would like to thank the fantastic NHS maternity team.” There was no announcement of a name. For Johnson, the new arrival tops a tumultuous month; he returned to work on Monday after recovering from COVID-19, which left him seriously ill at the peak of coronavirus outbreak in intensive care.

Symonds, a former executive in public relations, also had virus symptoms but was recovering more quickly.

While in office, few British leaders had babies although it has become more common among recent Downing Street occupants.

The wife of David Cameron, Samantha, gave birth to their daughter, Florence, in 2010 and the wife of Tony Blair, Cherie, gave birth to her son, Leo, in 2006.

Before that, in 1848 and 1849, as he was in office, Frances, the wife of John Russell, a 19th-century whig and Liberal politician, gave birth to two children.

"Great to hear Downing Street gets a new resident," said Finance Minister Johnson, Rishi Sunak.

Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labor Party, said: "Wonderful news. Many congratulations to Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds. "Since he became prime minister in July, Symonds and Johnson have lived together at Downing Street. In February they announced they were expecting their first child and they were engaged to marry.

Johnson, once dubbed by UK's riotous tabloid media as "Bonking Boris," has a complicated private life.

He was once sacked from the policy team of the Conservative Party for lying about an extramarital affair while in opposition. He was divorced twice and refuses to tell how many kids he has fathered.

When Johnson was London's mayor in 2013, judges in the appellate court ruled that the public had the right to know that he had an extra-marital affair with a woman who gave birth to his daughter.

Johnson's earlier marriage was to the lawyer Marina Wheeler. They had four children together but announced separation in September 2018. Earlier this year they divorced.

In February Symonds announced her engagement with Johnson.

"Many of you already know, but we got engaged at the end of last year for my friends that still don't ... And we got a baby that hatched early summer, "she said.

"To feel unbelievably blessed."