Boris Johnson paternity case deemed to be in the public interest
The Appeal Court yesterday ruled that information regarding the “lovechild” of Boris Johnson should be made available, as it is a matter of “public interest” which could influence people’s opinions regarding his suitability for public office.
The mayor of London had an affair with Helen Macintyre, who once worked for him in an unpaid capacity, and gave birth to a daughter, Stephanie, in November 2009.
The child’s father has never been formally identified on her birth certificate and her paternity has never been officially confirmed or denied by either Miss Macintyre or Mr Johnson.
The court rejected the claims made by art consultant Miss Macintyre, who took legal action against the Daily Mail arguing that her child’s paternity should be kept secret.
Last summer Justice Nicola Davies, a High Court judge, stated that the Daily Mail was justified in publishing the story because the mayor’s “recklessness” in conducting such affairs called into question how appropriate he was for public office.
Miss Macintyre was not rewarded damages for details regarding her affair with the mayor of London and her daughter’s paternity being published or an injunction preventing the Daily Mail from reusing the same information and although she appealed this decision the Court of Appeal rejected the application.
Lord Justice Dyson stated: “the core information in this story, namely that the father had an adulterous affair with the mother, deceiving both his wife and the mother’s partner, and that the child born about nine months later, was likely to be the father’s child, was a public interest matter which the electorate was entitled to know when considering his fitness for high public office.”
The court also ruled that due to the fact “much that has been published… in relation to the baby’s paternity remains available online” an injunction would not be granted and that in a cross examination Miss Macintyre had accepted that she was “playing with fire” in conducting an affair with the father, an affair which was bound to attract “very considerable media attention”.