So, Boris, rioters make you angry. What about your Bullingdon pal?

Johnson called on to identify friend who smashed restaurant window

When a member of Oxford's notorious Bullingdon Club hurled a pot plant through a restaurant window, he was maintaining a tradition going back generations. It was what Evelyn Waugh called "the sound of the English county families baying for broken glass".

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, the Chancellor, George Osborne, and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, were some of the best-known members of the club – an elite dining society notorious for its drunken excesses. It has a tradition of "omerta", a code of silence, among its members.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, mystery continues to surround the identity of the undergraduate responsible for that act of vandalism in June 1987. However it seems that The Independent on Sunday is a tiny bit closer to eliminating possible culprits. It has always been known that Mr Johnson was among the party of Bullingdon members on the night of the incident, as was Mr Cameron.

But last week an eyewitness came forward with a tale of how he recalled witnessing a man "with a shock of white blond hair" lob the pot plant. Happily, we are assured it was not the Mayor of London but one who may also have had blond locks.

Paul Wiffen, a fellow Oxford alumnus, felt compelled to speak out after hearing Mr Johnson speak of his "blinding anger at the callousness and selfishness of the rioters".

But last night, Mr Johnson's spokesman, Guto Harri, admitted that the Mayor remembers the name of the Bullingdon hooligan responsible for an act of vandalism similar to those he condemned. Why then, we asked, did Boris not reveal who it was at the time, considering police had interviewed members of the drinking club in an attempt to discover the culprit?

"That's neither here nor there," said Mr Harri. "It is not my job to hand over a witness to the police to something that happened 25 years ago." But, we asked, was that not a conspiracy of silence? He refused to discuss the matter further. But back to the witness.

Mr Wiffen, who was not in the Bullingdon Club but is a graduate of Keble College from a slightly earlier time, recalls visiting college friends in June 1987. "Everybody was celebrating the end of their finals, and we saw the Bullingdon crowd several times that evening, staggering around town completely wrecked out of their heads," he said.

"What I saw quite late on in the evening from a distance was this guy throwing a pot plant through a restaurant window. There were a whole bunch of them, and then the rest of them all ran off, leaving him on his own, and he legged it."

The 52-year-old filmmaker, who is standing as a candidate for the UK Independence Party in the London Assembly elections next year, added: "I don't agree with any of these rioters at all. I don't think there's any excuse for it, but if there is any excuse it's being in a dead-end situation.

"But the Bullingdon crowd had all the privilege in the world. They were at the best university in the world and then behaved like complete thugs, like football hooligans in period costume."

The events of that night have been much dissected since Mr Cameron and Mr Johnson assumed office. Mr Cameron is known to have retired to bed early. Mr Johnson has recounted that he and several others were chased by police through the Botanic Gardens and spent a night in the cells, though others have said that Mr Johnson actually peeled off home too.

There is no suggestion that Mr Johnson was responsible for breaking the window, as his spokesman was only too keen to echo yesterday: "He knows very clearly that he did not do it." Mr Harri dismissed Mr Wiffen's account as being "politically motivated".

Yet whoever did throw the plant pot has evaded justice thanks to Bullingdon members' loyalty. Now it is a matter for the London Mayor as to whether he will name the guilty party.

Sonia Purnell, author of a biography of Mr Johnson, due out this autumn, said: "I've been told he wasn't one to lose control, but he liked to play up to the idea that he did. He wasn't one of the worst behaved – far from it."

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
life
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are currently...

Year 1 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 1 Primary Supply Teachers ne...

Early Years Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Early Years supply teachers neede...

Science Teacher - Biology

£120 - £162 per day + UPS: Randstad Education Hull: Science Teacher required f...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits