Mary Wakefield

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(journalist, editor)
Mary Wakefield.jpg
SpouseDominic Cummings

Mary Wakefield is commissioning editor at the Spectator magazine.[1] She is married to Dominic Cummings, the Special Adviser to Boris Johnson, and lives in a £1.6 million townhouse in the heart of Islington in north London.[2]

Laid low with coronavirus

In the Spectator of 25 April 2020, Mary Wakefield described her symptoms:

"My version of the virus began with a nasty headache and a grubby feeling of unease, after which I threw up on the bathroom floor. ‘That’s disgusting, Mum,’ said my four-year-old son, handing me a towel with a look of patronising distaste.

"That evening, as I lay on the sofa, a happy thought occurred to me: if this was the virus, then my husband, who works 16-hour days as a rule, would have to come home. I let myself imagine a fortnight in bed with ‘mild symptoms’, chatting to Dom and son through an open door. More fool me.

"My husband did rush home to look after me. He’s an extremely kind man, whatever people assume to the contrary. But 24 hours later, he said ‘I feel weird’ and collapsed. I felt breathless, sometimes achy, but Dom couldn’t get out of bed. Day in, day out for ten days he lay doggo with a high fever and spasms that made the muscles lump and twitch in his legs. He could breathe, but only in a limited, shallow way.

"After a week, we reached peak corona uncertainty. Day six is a turning point, I was told: that’s when you either get better or head for ICU. But was Dom fighting off the bug or was he heading for a ventilator? Who knew? I sat on his bed staring at his chest, trying to count his breaths per minute. The little oxygen reader we’d bought on Amazon indicated that he should be in hospital, but his lips weren’t blue and he could talk in full sentences, such as: ‘Please stop staring at my chest, sweetheart.’

"When do you go to hospital? Do you really wait until the lips go blue? Cedd, in his doctor’s uniform, administered Ribena with the grim insistence of a Broadmoor nurse, and this might be my only really useful advice for other double-Covid parents or single mothers with pre-schoolers: get out the doctor’s kit and make it your child’s job to take your temperature. Any game that involves lying down is a good game. My other corona tip is to order at least a litre of PVA glue. As Dom lay sweating, Cedd and I made a palace out of polystyrene packaging. I’ve laughed in the past at men who obsess over model railways. I won’t laugh again. In a chaotic and unpredictable environment, there’s nothing more comforting than having total control over your own tiny world. Long after my son lost interest I was busy gluing on towers, and cutting coloured acetate to make window panes. When Dom finally made it into the kitchen, he found me manically applying cheap plastic stick-on gems to a loo-roll tower. ‘Mum’s busy playing,’ I heard Cedd tell Dom, as he trotted off to fetch the oximeter.

"Just as Dom was beginning to feel better, it was reported that Boris was heading in the other direction, into hospital."[3]

Not my thigh

In October 2019, Mary Wakefield denied she was the second woman allegedly groped by Boris Johnson at a 1999 lunch while he was editor of the Spectator.

Journalist Charlotte Edwardes has said that the prime minister squeezed her thigh and that of another unnamed woman without their permission at the magazine’s offices in London.

Asked if the allegations were true during a TV interview at the Conservative annual conference in Manchester, Mr Johnson responded simply: “No.”

And Mary Wakefield moved to quash rumours whirling around the Manchester gathering that she might be the other woman mentioned. In a statement, she said:

“I am not the woman referred to in Charlotte Edwardes’ column.
“Boris was a good boss and nothing like this ever happened to me. Nor has Charlotte, who I like and admire, ever discussed the incident with me.”[4]