Thursday 22 August 2019

'I don't think they want to hear about that' - Boris Johnson refuses to answer questions about 'domestic incident'

Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during the first party hustings at the ICC in Birmingham Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during the first party hustings at the ICC in Birmingham Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during the first party hustings at the ICC in Birmingham Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during the first party hustings at the ICC in Birmingham Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to answer questions about police being called to his flat.

Speaking during a leadership hustings in Birmingham in the race to win the Tory crown and be next Prime Minister, Mr Johnson said: "I don't think they want to hear about that kind of thing."

The hustings event came a day after it emerged that officers were called to the London home Mr Johnson shares with partner Carrie Symonds after neighbours said there had been a loud altercation involving screaming, shouting and banging.

When asked by hustings moderator Iain Dale whether a person's private life has any bearing on someone's ability to discharge the office of Prime Minister, the crowd booed and Mr Johnson said: "Don't boo the great man."

Mr Johnson added: "I've tried to give my answer pretty exhaustively.

"I think what people want to know is whether I have the determination and the courage to deliver on the commitments that I'm making and it will need a lot of grit right now."

Mr Johnson said: "People are entitled to ask about me and my determination, my character and what I want to do for the country.

"Let me just tell you that when I make a promise in politics, about what I'm going to do, I keep that promise and I deliver."

Mr Dale told Mr Johnson he was "completely avoiding" the question.

Police were called to the home of Mr Johnson and his partner after a neighbour heard screaming during an apparent row between the couple.

Ms Symonds was reportedly heard telling Mr Johnson to "get off me" and "get out of my flat".

A neighbour made a recording of the row before dialling 999, saying they were concerned for Ms Symonds's safety.

The neighbour, who is not identified, then passed the recording to 'The Guardian' newspaper.

Meanwhile, the Tory leadership contender has promised to "get Brexit done", telling the audience at a hustings event in Birmingham he was the man to "unleash on the project."

Mr Johnson told Tory members: "The hour is darkest before dawn.

"And I am here to tell you that in all confidence we can turn this thing around."

Mr Johnson said: "I am utterly convinced, utterly convinced, that with the right energy, and the right commitment, common sense will prevail, but just in case it does not, we must prepare to come out anyway.

"And we must be able to come out on WTO terms, so that for the first time in these negotiations we carry conviction.

"And it is precisely because we will be preparing between now and October 31 for a no deal Brexit that we will get the deal we need.

"And the thing we need to do - you know what it is - we need to get Brexit done.

"Too many people feel left behind by the incredible success of this country.

"And our ambition must be now to bring Britain, bring the whole of the UK together, uniting all four nations, the awesome foursome and uniting society."

He said he wanted to increase education funding and improve infrastructure and broadband.

He added: "That is the way to create the platform for business to grow and invest."

During his Q&A, Mr Johnson dodged a question from Mr Dale about whether he would have former leadership rival Michael Gove in his Cabinet, saying:"There are plenty of candidates here in this room and it would be invidious of me to speculate about that."

The former foreign secretary was also put on the spot by a member of the audience, who referred to a reception in June 2018 when Mr Johnson is said to have replied "f*** business" when asked about corporate concerns regarding a hard Brexit.

Asked if his attitude towards British jobs is still as "careless" as it was then, Mr Johnson replied: "I bitterly resent the way one stray remark to the Belgian ambassador who was making the case that the UK would not be able to leave the European Union, I don't think that should be allowed to cloud what is, I think, a pretty extraordinary record as a politician for sticking up for business at every conceivable opportunity."

On the £39 billion Brexit financial settlement to the European Union, Mr Johnson said: "I think it is important that as the UK's negotiator we should retain some creative ambiguity about the money until such time as we get a resolution."

Mr Johnson was enthusiastic in his support for the Crossrail 2 proposal for London but less so when asked about the HS2 project to link London and the Midlands and north of England with a new high speed railway.

He said he is a "passionate believer" in transport infrastructure but added: "I have anxieties about the business case for HS2."

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