Friday 19 July 2019

Boris refuses to deny photo with girlfriend taken six weeks ago

The real deal?: The ‘leaked’ photo has been described as poorly staged and has provoked several odd conspiracy theories
The real deal?: The ‘leaked’ photo has been described as poorly staged and has provoked several odd conspiracy theories

Ed Dracott

Boris Johnson refused to deny a potentially staged photograph was six weeks old as he faced a grilling over his relationship with Carrie Symonds.

Mr Johnson broke cover yesterday for a radio phone-in that was dominated by the mystery over the release of a grainy image which showed the couple holding hands at a picnic table in the Sussex countryside.

The picture emerged just days after police were called to Ms Symond's Camberwell home after neighbours reported hearing a loud row.

LBC's Nick Ferrari repeatedly pressed Mr Johnson on whether he knew the image was being circulated and questioned the date of the photograph.

Breaking cover: Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Breaking cover: Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

He made the point that Mr Johnson's hair appeared longer in the image than his current, cropped style and when asked if the image was "at least six weeks old", Mr Johnson would not confirm.

Mr Johnson confirmed he knew "there was a picture like that in existence" but declined to say where or when it had been taken.

"It's not a state secret, it just happens to be something that I don't want to get into," he said.

During the 20-minute phone-in Mr Ferrari urged Mr Johnson to confirm that the picture was not recent, asking him if his hair "in this photograph is not your hair currently, is it?"

Despite failing to confirm if it was an "old picture" the former foreign secretary revealed he no longer had his hair cut by a Turkish barber.

Although Mr Johnson was questioned at least 23 times about his hair cut he refused to be drawn.

"I'm not going to comment on the antiquity or the provenance of some photo that newspapers decide to put on their front pages," he said.

Mr Johnson has hired Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, to get his election campaign back on track as he turned up the pressure on Jeremy Hunt over a no deal Brexit.

He revamped his team after supporters complained his leadership bid was being overshadowed by the row over his personal life.

The leadership front-runner used radio interviews yesterday to pledge that he would take the UK out of the EU on Oct 31 "do or die" and wrote to his opponent Jeremy Hunt to challenge him to do the same "come what may".

The letter was sent within hours of Mr Duncan Smith's appointment, and the man who led the party from 2001 to 2003 is expected to focus relentlessly on Brexit as he supports Mr Johnson for the remainder of the campaign.

In his letter to Mr Hunt, Mr Johnson said: "We must not kick the can down the road again. The British people have had enough of being left in limbo.

"For my part, I have been clear that, if I am elected leader, we will leave on October 31 with or without a deal. Will you join me in this commitment to leave on October 31 come what may?"

Mr Hunt responded by taunting Mr Johnson over his refusal to take part in a Sky News debate last night, saying he would give "full and frank answers" if Mr Johnson turned up.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has said he makes models of buses out of old wine crates to relax.

The former mayor of London said he liked to unwind by painting passengers enjoying themselves on his model vehicles. "I like to paint or I make things," the Tory leadership candidate told TalkRadio. "I get old wooden crates, right? And I paint them. I suppose it's a box that's been used to contain two wine bottles."

Irish Independent

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