Potential Prime Minister Boris Johnson must long for the kind of headlines he faced last week, when the British press picked apart the filthy mess to be found inside his car.
Now the UK’s eyes are trained on what’s happening inside his house, after a neighbour called the police in the early hours of Friday morning.
Tom Penn says he called the police because he had been “frightened and concerned for the welfare of those involved”, with Johnson and his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, involved in an altercation.
Penn, who says he knocked on the couple’s door three times before calling for assistance, went public with his story in order to clear up some “bizarre and fictitious allegations”.
The Guardian reports:
…the neighbour heard a loud altercation involving screaming followed by slamming and banging. On a recording made by the neighbour, Symonds can be heard telling Johnson to “get off me” and “get out of my flat”…
“It was loud enough and angry enough that I felt frightened and concerned for the welfare of those involved, so I went inside my own home, closed the door, and pressed record on the voice memos app on my phone.
“After a loud scream and banging, followed by silence, I ran upstairs, and with my wife agreed that we should check on our neighbours. I knocked three times at their front door, but there was no response. I went back upstairs into my flat, and we agreed that we should call the police.”
Penn says that by virtue of the fact that he voted Remain in the Brexit referendum, his motives for calling the police have been questioned.
When pressed about the allegations in an interview with Iain Dale over the weekend, Boris attempted the typical ‘politician avoids question’ tactic. He wasn’t being let off the hook that easily, which led to this rather awkward exchange:
As the media descended on the area, other neighbours began to speak up about what they heard in the early hours.
Sadly for Boris, they’re all on the same page:
Another neighbour who heard the row, Earl McDermott, was reported as saying: “It was a proper tear-up. Glasses being smashed, screaming and a lot of arguing. I thought someone was being murdered.”
Nursery worker Fatimah, also a neighbour, backed up Penn’s account. “There was a lot of shouting, a lady was screaming and I could hear glasses or plates being thrown quite a few times,” she said. “The man was shouting back. I could hear it through my walls. It was obvious the lady was angry. She was screaming hysterically.”
Although the police who responded to the call said they spoke with the occupants of the house, and everyone was fine, many members of the British public have found Johnson’s response to be underwhelming.
Johnson has refused to give even a short statement, with CNN reporting that even those within his own party felt he dropped the ball:
Jeremy Hunt, Johnson’s rival for leadership of the Conservative Party, said in a piece for The Times of London on Monday that he was not interested in Johnson’s private life, but challenged his opponent to provide an explanation to the public about both his policies and the incident…
“Don’t be a coward Boris, man up and show the nation you can cope with the intense scrutiny the most difficult job in the country will involve.”
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox told the BBC that while Johnson’s private life “does not concern me,” he added: “I think it is always easier to just give an explanation.”
Former Conservative Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind also told the BBC: “If you are a candidate to be prime minister and the police have been called to your house — fairly or unfairly — the fact is there was a police visit. You don’t just say ‘no comment.’
At the centre of it all is Carrie Symonds, with different sources offering conflicting accounts of their relationship.
We will finish up with this, from the Telegraph:
Rumours had been circulating that Mr Johnson and his new partner had split up and that their partnership was floundering even before the bust-up in the early hours of Friday.
One source has suggested Mr Johnson was already sleeping on the sofa and that explains why Ms Symonds, a former Conservative Party director of communications, was so upset when wine was spilt on it.
But on Sunday, Mr Johnson’s camp was adamant that the row was no more than a typical contretemps between two lovers.
A source said: “The couple intend to live together in Number Ten if he is elected Tory leader and to marry after his divorce is finalised.”
Boris is just waiting for his divorce to his second wife Marina Wheeler to be finalised before he marries Carrie, you see.
(His serial cheating probably had a decent part to play in that divorce.)
Oh well, I guess three marriages is the perfect number to be the leader of a country, these days.
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