Bri­tain’s John­son do­mes­tic ‘row’ rocks lead­er­ship race

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Bri­tain’s lead­er­ship con­test was rocked on Satur­day by re­ports that po­lice were called to a late-night “row” be­tween fron­trun­ner Boris John­son and his part­ner, just hours be­fore cam­paign­ing opened to win over grass­roots Con­ser­va­tives.

The Guardian said of­fi­cers were alerted early on Fri­day af­ter a neigh­bour said there had been a loud al­ter­ca­tion in­volv­ing screams, shouts and bangs at the south Lon­don prop­erty, shortly af­ter John­son had se­cured his place in the fi­nal runoff to be­come prime min­is­ter.

The pa­per said late Fri­day John­son’s part­ner Car­rie Sy­monds could be heard telling the for­mer Lon­don mayor to “get off me” and “get out of my flat.”

Lon­don’s Metropoli­tan Po­lice said it re­sponded to a call from a lo­cal res­i­dent but that “all oc­cu­pants of the ad­dress... were all safe and well”.

John­son, who is the run­away favourite to beat Jeremy Hunt, re­fused to an­swer ques­tions on the is­sue dur­ing the first date of a month-long na­tion­wide tour he is con­duct­ing with Hunt to win over Con­ser­va­tive mem­bers, who have the fi­nal say.

“I don’t think peo­ple want to hear about that kind of thing,” he told in­ter­viewer Iain Dale, to cheers from a friendly crowd at the first of 16 “hus­tings” – where can­di­dates field au­di­ence ques­tions.

He in­stead tried to fo­cus on his poli­cies, say­ing “we need to get Brexit done” and promis­ing to pre­pare Bri­tain for a no deal exit from the EU, if a deal can­not be reached.

Who­ever takes the Tory party lead­er­ship in the week be­gin­ning July 22 – and there­fore be­comes prime min­is­ter – will face the loom­ing Brexit dead­line of Oc­to­ber 31.

But the race might ul­ti­mately turn into a pop­u­lar­ity con­test be­tween John­son – pug­na­cious but af­fa­ble with a ten­dency for gaffes – and the more di­plo­matic, low-key Hunt.

The “row” was splashed across the front pages of most news­pa­pers on Satur­day, and while book­mak­ers were still bet­ting for John­son, pun­dits warned the in­ci­dent could harm his chances. wang­[email protected] glob­al­

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