Boris Johnson is not a good role model for children, according to a senior government adviser known as Britain’s toughest manager.
Katharine Birbalsingh, chair of the Social Mobility Commission, told Sky News’ Beth Rigby Interviews that from his personal life to his messy hairstyle, the three-times-married Prime Minister is “raising an eyebrow” on her.
She added that even though she didn’t know all the details of the partygate scandal, it made her stop and think ‘I would definitely never be able to put it up and say, be like him’.
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Ms Birbalsingh rose to prominence when, as a central London teacher, she addressed the Conservative Party Conference in 2010 to say the education system was broken and keeping ‘children poor poor” – upsetting some in the teaching profession but winning a standing ovation from Tories.
She then co-founded Michaela Community School in Wembley, north London, where she is now headmistress – and has strict rules when it comes to uniform and behavior.
Ms Birbalsingh told Sky’s political editor, Beth Rigby, that she was a “small c Tory”, but not a member of the Conservative Party.
When asked if she thought the prime minister was a good role model for children, she said: “No, I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I wish he was, but he it’s not. And that’s kind of sad.
“I like Boris, I don’t think he’s a villain… But I don’t think he’s a good role model for kids.”
When asked why, she replied, “Well, his personal life for example. It kind of raises an eyebrow at me.
“His hair – you know, we have strict rules at school.
“I looked at his hair and I thought, God, I couldn’t put it on the wall and say, let’s all have a haircut like him.
“You might think that’s a bit pedantic and a bit silly, but that’s not really the case, I think, for our kids.
“It’s important to look professional, and sometimes Boris looks professional, but sometimes he’s not professional enough for me, let’s put it that way.”
Asked about ‘family values’, Ms Birbalsingh said: ‘It’s kind of a thing that gives me a little pause… I would say I’m relatively liberal on these things to a certain extent, but he kind of pushes the boat a bit on that.”
She said she didn’t know “enough of the ins and outs of all the recent partygate stuff”.
“I’m too busy working to keep up with all of this, but it kind of makes you pause and say hmm, I sure would never be able to put it up and tell him, be like him. I couldn’t do that.”
Ms Birbalsingh’s comments come a day after another government adviser was forced from his post following remarks about the prime minister.
On Tuesday, Baroness Morrissey – a City luminary who served as senior non-executive director at the Foreign Office – called Mr Johnson a ‘liability’ and said he should step down in an interview with LBC.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was reportedly outraged by the comments and ordered his dismissal.