On Wednesday 29 April, Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds announced the arrival of their first child together.

A spokesperson for the couple said they were “thrilled to announce the birth of a health baby boy at a London hospital earlier this morning”, stating that “both mother and baby are doing very well”.

“The PM and Ms Symonds would like to thank the fantastic NHS maternity team,” they added.

Download the new Independent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Following the announcement of Ms Symonds’ pregnancy in February, the prime minister said he planned on taking paternity leave when his baby was born.

However, this statement was made before the events that followed the declaration of the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

Downing Street has since confirmed that the prime minister will take paternity leave by June, stating that he intends to take time off “later in the year, rather than now”.

Mr Johnson is the fourth prime minister to have a child while in office in 170 years.

He followed David Cameron, whose daughter Florence was born in 2010; Tony Blair, whose son Leo was born in 2000; and Lord John Russell, whose sons George and Francis were born in 1848 and 1849 respectively.

As per statutory paternity leave arrangements, new fathers are entitled to take either one or two weeks’ leave when their baby is born.

The government outlines that the statutory weekly rate of paternity pay is £151.20 or 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings, depending on which amount is lower.

Here is how Mr Cameron and Mr Blair decided to allocate their time following the births of their children while they were serving prime ministers.

David Cameron

David Cameron arrives with his wife Samantha and their baby daughter Florence (5 October 2010) (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

On 24 August 2010, Samantha Cameron gave birth to baby daughter Florence Rose Endellion via C-section at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.

Mr Cameron became the first serving prime minister to take statutory paternity leave.

Statutory paternity leave was introduced in 2003.

Shared parental leave was introduced 12 years later, allowing new parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay.

Following the birth of Mr Cameron’s daughter Florence, then-deputy prime minister Nick Clegg spoke about his colleague’s decision to take paternity leave.

“I spoke to him just after the birth of his baby daughter. We haven’t yet spoken about exactly what date he is returning,” Mr Clegg told LBC at the time.

“He obviously wants to take some time off, like any young dad does, for paternity leave and I will just carry on holding the fort.”

Tony Blair

Tony Blair kisses his baby son Leo outside No 10 Downing Street as his wife, Cherie, watches on (8 June 2001) (AP Photo/Adam Butler, File)

Although statutory paternity leave had not yet been introduced in the UK when Mr Blair’s son Leo was born in 2000, the then-prime minister did decide to reduce his schedule following the birth.

“I’ll take more time off. I’ll try to cut down on official things,” Mr Blair said at the time, according to The New York Times.

“You’ve got to have some common sense about it — you want to spend more time with your baby, but you don’t give up the job.”

Comments

Share your thoughts and debate the big issues

Learn more
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Create a commenting name to join the debate

Please try again, the name must be unique Only letters and numbers accepted
Loading comments...
Loading comments...
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Loading comments...
Loading comments...