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Allies defend Johnson after domestic row with girlfriend

UK News | Published:

Supporters have lined up behind Boris Johnson after police visited the home of the former foreign secretary and his partner, Carrie Symonds.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson’s supporters have lined up to defend him over the domestic incident which saw police called to the home he shares with partner Carrie Symonds.

Tory MP Nadine Dorries said the pair had suffered harassment and been placed under immense stress but were “together, strong and united”.

Fellow Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg hit out at “Corbynista curtain-twitchers” over the row.

Police were called to a disturbance at the couple’s south London flat in the early hours of Friday morning after a neighbour raised concerns.

The neighbour, Tom Penn, recorded the incident and subsequently went to the Guardian newspaper.

On Monday, Ms Dorries said she had spoken to Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds.

“I am totally stunned at the level of harassment they have had to endure,” she said.

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“Hate mail, left-wing protests outside their flat, eavesdroppers.

“The stress is immense, more than most could endure.

“They are together, strong and united.”

Tory leadership race
A poster on a gate opposite the south London home of Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson (Aaron Chown/PA)

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Mr Rees-Mogg told LBC: “I think it’s absolutely dreadful.

“I think the idea that snooping neighbours are recording what is going on for political advantage and then Class War protesters are coming to politicians’ front doors – which happened to me as well – is not a good place for politics to be.”

Former cabinet minister Priti Patel said Mr Johnson was being subjected to “a very clear politically-motivated series of personal attacks”.

But Mr Penn defended his actions.

“Once clear that no-one was harmed, I contacted the Guardian, as I felt it was of important public interest,” he said.

“I believe it is reasonable for someone who is likely to become our next prime minister to be held accountable for all of their words, actions and behaviours.

“I, along with a lot of my neighbours all across London, voted to remain within the EU. That is the extent of my involvement in politics.”

In a statement on the incident, Scotland Yard said: “There were no offences or concerns apparent to the officers and there was no cause for police action.”

Labour MP Jess Phillips later raised a point of order in the House of Commons and spoke generally on the need for MPs to undergo domestic violence training.

Addressing Speaker John Bercow, she said: “I wonder if you could give me some advice or perhaps commission in your role as chair of this House some training for the members of this House around the issue of domestic violence.

“This weekend I have been shocked and appalled at the rush of members of this House to insist on the idea of moving back the dial in this area to suggest that matters such as this are private family matters, are issues that are to be kept within the confines of walls.

“I am certain that in almost any circumstance that the people in this House don’t believe that is the case, however, I guess they had their priorities elsewhere when they went out to say it.”

Mr Bercow made clear he was not commenting on any particular case, adding anything he said should “not be interpreted as an attempted commentary on particular circumstances” – with the same applying to Ms Phillips’ comments.

He added: “Insofar as she asks me to confirm my understanding, and what I’m sure will be the understanding of colleagues, that domestic violence or abuse is a matter of enormous and consuming public concern and that it cannot be regarded as a purely private matter, I’m very happy to confirm that from the chair.”

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