As the news broke that Boris Johnson and his wife of 25 years, Marina Wheeler, would be divorcing, speculation about whether he’d make a play for Conservative leadership grew.
On the talkRADIO mid-morning show, Mike Graham wondered if his alleged philandering - the news of the divorce comes amid reports that Johnson cheated on his wife for the fourth time - would affect his “likeability” and “electability”.
Guest Laura Perrins, co-editor of The Conservative Woman (which promotes socially conservative viewpoints rather than the political party), said that his private life probably wouldn’t affect his leadership chances, but speculated that having a single man as Prime Minister could be like “Celebrity Big Brother in 10 Downing Street”.
'Boris has never been a fan of the commandment about adultery'
“Boris is like that old joke about Moses coming down the mountain saying, ‘I’ve got good news and bad news - the good news is I got him down to ten, the bad news is adultery stayed’,” Perrins said.
“Boris has never been a fan of that particular commandment, but no, in this day and age I don’t think it’ll affect his chances of getting into Number 10.”
She added: “Personally, I don’t think he’ll ever get there.”
- Read more: Boris Johnson attacks Theresa May’s Chequers plan saying it will lead ‘a victory for the EU’
- Read more: Dominic Grieve: I'll quit the Conservative party if Boris Johnson becomes leader
“Why?” Graham asked. “His unpopularity in his own party?”
“Well, he’s one of those people who the normal rules of life don’t apply,” Perrins responded. “He’s not held to the same standard. I don’t know why, I’m not a particular fan, but his popularity seems to be pretty strong.
“He just doesn’t seem to be able to execute this leadership siege or whatever he wants, when it really comes to the crunch, he doesn’t seem to be able to go in for the kill.”
'Similarly to Trump, his private life doesn't matter'
Graham wondered whether there could be a chance Johnson leaked the divorce story himself “to try and get rid of the skeletons in his closet”, and Perrins said that no amount of negative reports about his private life would discourage his supporters.
“I think there probably is something to that theory… They’re divorcing, that’s all in public record now in the courts. If it wasn’t leaked today, someone would have leaked it to the papers tomorrow.
“It was never hidden that Boris Johnson thinks marriage vows are an optional extra. Similarly in relation to Trump, really, it doesn't matter how much dirt you bring up on him related to his private life - they knew what they were getting when they voted for him.”
Boris dating as PM would be 'like Celebrity Big Brother'
Watch: Katie Perrior tells Mike Graham about the time she caught a woman touching Boris Johnson's bottom
Co-host Katie Perrior wondered what it would be like having a divorced, single Prime Minister. “It’s a bit different when you’re inside Number 10 Downing Street, and you’re going out to restaurants or having cars pull up with dates, because you’re going on a date because you’re a single man in your fifties. It’s unlike anything that’s happened in modern times!” she said.
“I don’t think a divorced man has ever been in Number 10, but times are very different now,” Perrins replied.
In fact, two Prime Ministers have divorced, but not recently - the Duke of Grafton in 1769, and Sir Anthony Eden in 1950, although his divorce and remarriage happened before he took office.
“It would certainly be interesting to see how it would all pan out. I’m not a huge fan of Boris Johnson, but reading the public mood, none of this seems to matter.
“It’ll sort of be Celebrity Big Brother in 10 Downing Street.
“Would it be a factor amongst Conservatives in choosing a leader? That could be. Would it be a factor in a general election? Probably not, mainly because the opposition would be absolutely hideous.”