Boris Johnson’s bid to become prime minister has been thrown into chaos after police were called to blazing row between the MP and his girlfriend. Neighbours heard ‘plate-smashing’ and a ‘screaming row’ between Mr Johnson and Carrie Symonds. She is said to have yelled at him ‘get off me, get out’ at the home they share together in south London. On Saturday Mr Johnson, 55, is gearing up to go head to head with his leadership challenger Jeremy Hunt in the first run-off hustings. However, questions about his complicated private life are set to dominate the battle for Downing Street. Police officers were alerted early on Friday to a loud row between the couple said to involve screaming, shouting and banging. The Met Police said they were alerted to the situation by a caller who ‘was concerned for the
A neighbour, a 32-year-old nursery worker who would only give her name as Fatimah, said: ‘Just after midnight I heard a lady shouting, but I couldn’t make out what she said, then I heard plates and glasses smashing and things being thrown around. ‘I was watching something on the television and I had to mute it because I was quite concerned, it was coming through the walls.’ Another neighbour, who did not want to be identified, told The Telegraph: ‘I heard the row, it was pretty loud. I was quite worried to be honest, it was bad. ‘I heard a lot of smashing – it sounded like plates or glasses – and I could hear her shouting. It was definitely her; I didn’t hear him. There was a lot of shouting and swearing. It didn’t last that long, maybe five minutes.’ A recording was made of the row at Ms Symonds flat – which Mr Johnson moved into after he split with his wife of 25 years, Marina Wheeler, last year. In it, he shouts ‘get off my f***ing laptop’ before there is a loud crashing noise. Ms Symonds, 31, is heard to complain that red wine has been spilt on her sofa, saying: ‘You just don’t care for anything because you are spoilt. ‘You have no care for money or anything.’ MPs have said Mr Johnson could seek an injunction to stop the recording becoming public.
he Met Police said they had responded to a call from a local resident at 12.24am but after officers attended it was deemed ‘there were no offences or concerns’ and no need for police action. Mr Johnson’s team have said ‘no comment’ when questioned about the row. He appeared not to have told his campaign team about the police’s visit until news of it broke on Friday night. The revelations come as Mr Johnson prepared to face the Tory faithful with Mr Hunt at the hustings in Birmingham. They are the first of 16 before the Tory party membership will decide on a new Prime Minister. Mr Johnson is the favourite but has been avoiding the media during the leadership contest. Political experts said that the only person who could derail Mr Johnson’s campaign was Mr Johnson himself by making a huge gaffe. He refused to attend a BBC debate and reports by Sky News say he has now rejected a live TV debate with them too. Mr Hunt has vowed to make the contest a test of ‘character’ and has been stressing his own stable home life.
Security minister Ben Wallace, who is a close ally of Mr Johnson, attempted to play down the row. In a since-deleted tweet he called it a ‘non-story’ but later backtracked. One unnamed Tory MP told the MailOnline: ‘Boris is clearly the favourite in this leadership race but four weeks is a very long time in politics.’ They added: ‘This guy is going to be PM and all this stuff is going on in his private life – how chaotic is he? ‘If he can’t hold it together at his age, what the hell is going on? ‘This will go on and on. It will damage him.’ One Tory MP told the Sun: ‘What the hell is he thinking? This is our worst nightmare.’ Labour’s Keir Starmer tweeted: ‘Was there ever a man less suited to being Prime Minister?’
Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP Mr Johnson announced last autumn that he and his wife were divorcing after 25 years of marriage. The couple said the decision had been taken some months earlier. Announcement of the split came after newspaper allegations about Mr Johnson having had another extra-marital affair. The break-up of the relationship is said to have severely strained relations between Mr Johnson and the four children he shares with Ms Wheeler. It is not known how many other children Mr Johnson has. In 2013, it emerged he had fathered a child with Helen Macintyre and a judge ruled the public had a right to know after a battle to keep the birth a secret. During the same court case, it was alleged he may have had a sixth child. He has said little in public about his relationship with Ms Symonds, a former head of communications for the Conservative Party. She attended his leadership bid launch and there is speculation she would move into Downing Street with Mr Johnson if he were elected.
The revelations about Mr Johnson followed a day of turmoil for the Tories which saw a difficult by-election looming after Chris Davies was ousted as the Tory MP for Brecon and Radnorshire after constituents signed a petition to remove him following a conviction for faking expenses claims. And Chief Whip Julian Smith promised an investigation after MP Antoinette Sandbach was called a ‘disgrace’ by an unnamed male colleague. Meanwhile, Mark Field, an ally of Mr Hunt, was suspended as a Foreign Office minister after manhandling a climate change protester at a black-tie dinner.