Boris Johnson ducks questions on police visit to his home at leadership hustings

PUBLISHED: 17:18 22 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:18 23 June 2019

Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during the first party hustings. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during the first party hustings. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Boris Johnson repeatedly refused to answer questions about police being called to his flat as he took part in the first hustings for Conservative party leader.

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Pressed on the incident as he faced an audience of Tory members in Birmingham, Johnson said: "I don't think they want to hear about that kind of thing."

The Tory-organised event came a day after it emerged that officers were called to the London home Johnson shares with partner Carrie Symonds after neighbours said there had been a loud altercation involving screaming, shouting and banging.

When asked by hustings moderator Iain Dale whether a person's private life has any bearing on someone's ability to discharge the office of prime minister, the crowd booed and Johnson said: "Don't boo the great man."

Johnson added: "I've tried to give my answer pretty exhaustively.

"I think what people want to know is whether I have the determination and the courage to deliver on the commitments that I'm making and it will need a lot of grit right now."

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Johnson said: "People are entitled to ask about me and my determination, my character and what I want to do for the country.

"Let me just tell you that when I make a promise in politics, about what I'm going to do, I keep that promise and I deliver."

Dale told Johnson he was "completely avoiding" the question.

During his Q&A, Johnson dodged a question from Dale about whether he would have former leadership rival Michael Gove in his cabinet, saying:"There are plenty of candidates here in this room and it would be invidious of me to speculate about that."

The former foreign secretary was also put on the spot by a member of the audience, who referred to a reception in June 2018 when Mr Johnson is said to have replied "f*** business" when asked about corporate concerns regarding a hard Brexit.

Asked if his attitude towards British jobs is still as "careless" as it was then, Johnson replied: "I bitterly resent the way one stray remark to the Belgian ambassador who was making the case that the UK would not be able to leave the European Union, I don't think that should be allowed to cloud what is, I think, a pretty extraordinary record as a politician for sticking up for business at every conceivable opportunity."

On the £39 billion Brexit financial settlement to the European Union, he said: "I think it is important that as the UK's negotiator we should retain some creative ambiguity about the money until such time as we get a resolution."

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