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Boris Johnson's neighbour heard 'loud scream and banging, followed by silence' before calling police

Tom Penn says he knocked three times at would-be PM's door without response before alerting officers

Samuel Osborne
Sunday 23 June 2019 09:27 BST
Conservative leadership hustings: Boris Johnson on police coming to his house following domestic row

The neighbour who alerted police about a loud row between Boris Johnson and partner has defended his actions, saying political leaders must be “held accountable for all of their words, actions and behaviours”.

The potential prime minister allegedly said “get off my f*****g laptop” before a loud crashing noise was heard.

In a recording of the altercation, obtained by The Guardian, Mr Johnson’s partner, Carrie Symonds, could reportedly be heard saying “get off me” and “get out of my flat”.

Scotland Yard confirmed police were alerted to the situation by a caller who “was concerned for the welfare of a female neighbour”.

Neighbour Tom Penn told The Guardian said he had recorded the altercation from within his own home after collecting a food delivery at his front door.

Mr Penn said: ”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.

“The police arrived within five minutes. Our call was made anonymously and no names were given to the police. They subsequently called back to thank us for reporting, and to let us know that nobody was harmed.

“To be clear, the recordings were of the noise within my own home. My sole concern up until this point was the welfare and safety of our neighbours. I hope that anybody would have done the same thing.”

Mr Penn also defended revealing details of the incident to the newspaper.

“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.”

Carrie Symonds: Who is Boris Johnson's partner?

Mr Johnson’s popularity ratings fell dramatically after news of the incident became public, according to a Survation survey for the Mail on Sunday.

On Thursday, the day before the police became involved, a Survation poll put the former foreign minister on an eight-point lead among all voters over his rival, Jeremy Hunt, but he had dropped three points behind the foreign secretary on Saturday.

Among Tory voters, Mr Johnson’s lead dropped from 27 per cent to 11 per cent in the same period.

When all voters were asked about the incident made them more or less likely to back Mr Johnson as leader, more than a third (35 per cent) said less likely, while just 9 per cent said more likely.

More than half of all voters, 53 per cent, said Mr Johnson’s private life was relevant to his ability to be prime minister, and three quarters said that a person’s character was “relevant” to the contest.

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