Boris Johnson

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The neighbour who called police about a loud row at the home of Boris Johnson – and later reported it to a newspaper – has defended his actions.

The Guardian said Mr Johnson’s partner Carrie Symonds could be heard telling the Tory MP to “get out of my flat”.

Tom Penn told the paper he was worried about his neighbours’ safety, adding: “I hope that anybody would have done the same thing.”

On Saturday, the Tory leadership hopeful avoided questions on the row.

Mr Penn said he began recording from inside his flat in Camberwell, south London, after he heard “slamming and banging”.

He said he contacted the Guardian with the recording “once clear that no-one was harmed” because he “felt it was of important public interest”.

“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,” he said.

In the recording – heard by the Guardian but not by the BBC – Mr Johnson was reportedly refusing to leave the flat and told the woman to “get off” his laptop, before there was a loud crashing noise.

Ms Symonds is reported to be heard saying that the MP had ruined a sofa with red wine, adding: “You just don’t care for anything because you’re spoilt. You have no care for money or anything.”

‘Screaming and banging’

Mr Penn said he was collecting a takeaway meal from outside his front door when he first heard shouting.

He said the shouting was “loud enough and angry enough that I felt frightened and concerned for the welfare of those involved”.

He added: “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.”

Police said they spoke to all occupants of the address, who were safe and well.

Another neighbour, who would only give her name as Fatima, told the BBC: “I heard a female voice, shouting and screaming, and then I heard things smashing, it sounded like plates or glasses.

“I couldn’t hear what she was saying but she sounded really angry.”

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Carrie Symonds has been in a relationship with Mr Johnson since 2018

Mr Penn also criticised “unpleasant things” being said about him and his partner in the media, saying he was upset by some “quite frankly bizarre and fictitious allegations”.

Some of Mr Johnson’s supporters have expressed scepticism about Mr Penn’s political motivation for calling the police and contacting the Guardian.

Mr Penn told the paper: “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.”

‘Error of judgement’

On Saturday, Mr Johnson and Jeremy Hunt made their pitches to party members on why they should succeed Theresa May as prime minister.

Mr Johnson repeatedly avoided questions about the incident, saying people did not “want to hear” about it.

When the event moderator Iain Dale accused him of ducking the question, Mr Johnson did not respond directly, instead saying: “People are entitled to ask me what I want to do for the country.”

Mr Dale was heckled by some in the audience when he pressed the MP on whether he thought a person’s private life had any bearing on their ability to be prime minister, leading Mr Johnson to insist: “Don’t boo the great man”.

The LBC presenter said on Sunday while the audience had clearly become frustrated with his questioning of Mr Johnson on the matter, it was “my job” to persist.

He said: “There will have been lots of other people in the audience who didn’t boo, and who actually did want to hear the answer to that question.”

Meanwhile, former Tory foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who is backing Jeremy Hunt for the party leadership, told the BBC he believed Mr Johnson had made an “error of judgement” in refusing to answer Mr Dale’s questions.

“Just saying ‘no comment’ implies, ‘it’s none of your business’, and it is the business of the public to know why the police have been called to his property,” he said.

It was the first of 16 events, or hustings, to choose the next Conservative party leader – and prime minister – following Theresa May’s resignation after she failed to get her Brexit deal through Parliament.

She remains in office until her successor is found.

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