Carrie Symonds and Boris Johnson take part in Clap for Carers
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Pictures of Dilyn, who is owned by Ms Symonds and her fiance Boris Johnson, were shared on Flickr earlier this week. But one of the pictures of the cute pet posing in the snow in the garden of 10 Downing Street showed the phone number on the tag of his collar. The photograph, which was taken by Pippa Fowles, a Ministry of Defence photographer, has since been taken down.
Downing Street defended the use of three taxpayer-funded “vanity photographers” to show the work of the Government and the pets of the Prime Minister.
When asked why it was necessary for the taxpayer to fund pictures of Larry the cat and Dilyn the dog, the spokesman said the photographers “document the work of not just the Prime Minister but the whole of the Cabinet”.
The spokesman was then questioned on what work the animals did for the Government.
He replied: “I point you back to what I have already said.”
The spokesman added: “We have three photographers in No 10. We have an MoD photographer as one of those three, you have seen recently that we have recruited a cross-Government photographer and you will know of Andy Parsons.
“The most recent addition to the team is a cross-Government photographer, which means that the primary role of them is to work across Government with other Government departments and ministers.”
When asked why press photographers could not do that job, the spokesman said: “It is obviously important that we record the activity of the Government and… we make these pictures available for editorial use.
“You are aware that we allow for other photographers to accompany ministers and prime ministers on visits also.”
Pictures of Mr Johnson with Dilyn at Chequers were also taken last year by Andrew Parsons, a party political special adviser who works part-time but earns the full-time equivalent of £100,000-£104,999.
A third photographer was recruited recently after being advertised with a salary of up to £60,635 a year.
It comes after Ms Symonds also hit the headlines last week after announcing she had joined animal rights charity The Aspinall Foundation as its head of communications.
The organisation is known to be devoted to the conservation of endangered species and returning them to wild protected areas.
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She is joining foundation from marine conservation NGO Oceana, where she specialised in combating plastic pollution.
Ms Symonds will still continue to advise the charity in a consultancy capacity on its global plastics objectives.
Damian Aspinall, Chairman of TAF, said: “Carrie takes up her new role at an exciting time for the Foundation and we are delighted to have someone of her calibre on the team.
“She’s a passionate champion for wildlife and conservation, whose energy and expertise will be a huge asset to us. “
Miss Symonds and Mr Johnson announced they were engaged in March last year.
A month later, she gave birth to their their son, Wilfred.
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