Boris Johnson: Tory minister attacks 'lefty neighbours' for telling police of loud altercation involving likely new PM, then deletes tweet

Ben Wallace backtracks after claiming 'what a non-story' - while senior Labour MP warns of likely prime minister's 'problem with women'

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Saturday 22 June 2019 16:22 BST
Labour MP Mary Creagh: 'We have seen in the past, with Boris Johnson, that he seems to have a problem with women'

A minister and key Boris Johnson ally dismissed the police being called to investigate a screaming row at his home as a “non-story” and attacked the “lefty neighbours” who alerted them.

Ben Wallace, the security minister, later deleted the tweet after criticism – while a leading grassroots Conservative said the controversy would quickly “puff up and blow away”.

But a senior Labour MP, Mary Creagh, said the incident raised questions, saying: “We have seen in the past, with Boris Johnson, that he seems to have a problem with women.”

Mr Johnson's team have refused to comment on the domestic dispute at the south London flat he shares with his young girlfriend Carrie Symonds, a former Tory aide.

Ms Symonds was heard screaming and telling the 55-year-old Tory leadership favourite to “get off me” and “get out of my flat”.

Mr Wallace said, in the deleted tweet: “What a non-story 'couple have row.' Lefty neighbours give recording to Guardian. Newspaper reaches new low is a better news story.”

Replying to a Twitter user objecting to the suggestion it was a “non-story”, Mr Wallace referred to domestic abuse, saying: “Didn't say DA was a non-story. It is incredibly serious. But the report said 'row'.”

James Cleverly, the Brexit minister, echoed the criticism, saying: The big element in the Boris story isn’t that there was a heated argument, it’s that the police were called. The police were called by the same person who recorded Boris and gave the story to The Guardian.”

Tim Sinclair, a Conservative local elections candidate in Stratford-on-Avon, said the story would blow over, adding: “Despite his background, he's actually regarded as a man of the people purely because he acts normally – he speaks his mind, he does things and behaves in ways that normal people can look at.

“While this isn't what you might call normal, having police come to your door, actually it shows him to be a real human being; having a row that gets a bit out of hand.”

But Ms Creagh, a Labour Commons committee chairwoman, referred to Mr Johnson’s notorious comment that Muslim women wearing veils resemble letterboxes as evidence of his “problem with women”.

“There is a picture starting to build about Boris Johnson – and it’s not a pretty one,” she told Sky News.

“These latest allegations are of great concern both for Tory voters and for everyone in the country.”

A recording of the incident, on Thursday night, revealed Mr Johnson shouted at Ms Symonds to “get off my f***ing laptop” before a loud crashing noise was heard.

She was heard complaining that he had spilled red wine on her sofa, before adding: “You just don't care for anything because you're spoilt. You have no care for money or anything.”

The neighbour who recorded the row told The Guardian: “There was a smashing sound of what sounded like plates. There was a couple of very loud screams that I'm certain were Carrie and she was shouting to ‘get out’ a lot.”

In a statement, Scotland Yard said of its investigation: “The caller was concerned for the welfare of a female neighbour. Police attended and spoke to all occupants of the address, who were all safe and well.

“There were no offences or concerns apparent to the officers and there was no cause for police action.”

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