Boris Johnson should answer questions on everything, Tory rival Jeremy Hunt says

Pressure is mounting on Boris Johnson to explain why police were called to the home he shares with partner Carrie Symonds as his rival to be prime minister insisted he should answer questions on everything.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt took a swipe at his competitor for Downing Street after Mr Johnson repeatedly refused to reveal what led to the police involvement in the early hours of Friday morning.

Mr Hunt told Sky News: "I think someone who wants to be prime minister should answer questions on everything.

"But I'm not going to comment on issues of character because ... I am sure you and I have got things, that, you know, we would be embarrassed if they came out.

"I just think it's irrelevant given the gravity of the situation. I am not going to comment on Boris's personal life. That's for others to make their judgments on."

Asked if he agreed with claims that Mr Johnson's private life made him a security risk, Mr Hunt said: "I would never make those comments myself."

Tory leadership race, Boris Johnson profile
(PA Graphics)

He called on his supporters not to make such claims either as he does not "think the British public want a debate about people's private life".

Mr Hunt added: "They want a debate about the constitutional crisis that we are in at the moment with Brexit."

The Foreign Secretary insisted his predecessor in the Cabinet role was trying to avoid scrutiny in the battle for Number 10.

"What Boris needs to do is engage properly in this leadership debate.

"This is an audition to be the prime minister of the United Kingdom and Boris needs to show that he is prepared to answer difficult questions."

Hunt supporter and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox signalled it was better to be clear about what had happened.

Dr Fox told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show: "I think it is always easier to just give an explanation."

He added: "It is inevitable there is a focus on private lives. That does not concern me. What I am concerned about are the issues."

Shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne said Mr Johnson was "completely unsuitable" to be prime minister after police were called to his partner's home after reports of shouting and banging.

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New Conservative Party leader and incoming prime minister Boris Johnson gives a speech at an event to announce the winner of the Conservative Party leadership contest in central London on July 23, 2019. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
New Conservative Party leader and incoming prime minister Boris Johnson gives a speech at an event to announce the winner of the Conservative Party leadership contest in central London on July 23, 2019. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)
New Conservative Party leader and incoming prime minister Boris Johnson gives a speech at an event to announce the winner of the Conservative Party leadership contest in central London on July 23, 2019. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)
New Conservative Party leader and incoming prime minister Boris Johnson gives a speech at an event to announce the winner of the Conservative Party leadership contest in central London on July 23, 2019. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 23: Newly elected British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the Conservative Leadership announcement at the QEII Centre on July 23, 2019 in London, England. After a month of hustings, campaigning and televised debates the members of the UK's Conservative and Unionist Party have voted for Boris Johnson to be their new leader and the country's new Prime Minister, replacing Theresa May. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
New Conservative Party leader and incoming prime minister Boris Johnson gives a speech at an event to announce the winner of the Conservative Party leadership contest in central London on July 23, 2019. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Conservative Party leadership contender Boris Johnson, right, leaves his office in London, Monday July 22, 2019. Voting closes Monday in the ballot to elect Britain's next prime minister, from the two contenders Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson, as critics of likely winner Boris Johnson condemned his vow to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a Brexit deal.(Kirsty O'Connor/PA via AP)
CORRECTING DATE Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson arrives at his office in central London, Tuesday July 23, 2019. Britain’s governing Conservative Party is set to reveal the name of the country’s next prime minister later Tuesday, with Brexit champion Boris Johnson widely considered to be favourite to get the job against fellow contender Jeremy Hunt. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)
Conservative party leadership candidate Boris Johnson gestures while delivering his speech during a Conservative leadership hustings at ExCel Centre in London, Wednesday, July 17, 2019. The two contenders, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson are competing for votes from party members, with the winner replacing Prime Minister Theresa May as party leader and Prime Minister of Britain's ruling Conservative Party. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Boris Johnson remains the clear favourite to take over from Theresa May.
Conservative Party leadership contender Boris Johnson, centre right, leaves his office in Westminster area of London, Monday July 22, 2019. Voting closes Monday in the ballot to elect Britain's next prime minister, from the two contenders Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson, as critics of likely winner Boris Johnson condemned his vow to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a Brexit deal.(Yui Mok/PA via AP)
LONDON — Britain's governing Conservative Party is set to reveal Tuesday the identity of the country's next prime minister, with Brexit hardliner Boris Johnson the strong favourite to get the job.Party officials will announce whether Johnson or rival Jeremy Hunt has won a ballot of about 160,000 Conservative members.The winner replaces Theresa May, who announced her resignation last month, and will officially become prime minister on Wednesday.It will be a huge upset if the winner is not Johnson, a former London mayor who has wooed Conservatives by promising to succeed where May failed and lead the U.K. out of the European Union on the scheduled date of Oct. 31 — with or without a divorce deal.Several Conservative ministers have already announced they will resign to fight any push for a "no-deal" Brexit, an outcome economists warn would disrupt trade and plunge the U.K. into recession. Fears that Britain is inching closer to a "no-deal" Brexit weighed on the pound once again Tuesday. The currency was down another 0.3 per cent at $1.2441 and near two-year lows.May stepped down after Britain's Parliament repeatedly rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with the 28-nation bloc. Johnson insists he can get the EU to renegotiate — something the bloc insists it will not do.If not, he says Britain must leave the EU on Halloween, "come what may."Hunt has also vowed to leave the EU with or without a deal, so whoever wins Britain faces a volatile political showdown over Brexit. The new prime minister will preside over a House of Commons in which most members oppose leaving the EU without a deal, and where the Conservative Party lacks an overall majority.__Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit and the Conservative Party leadership race at: https://www.apnews.com/BrexitJill Lawless, The Associated Press
Boris Johnson, who is expected to win the Conservative leadership contest and become the next prime minister, possesses a propensity for gaffes which has infuriated his colleagues and former boss, Theresa May.During his time as foreign secretary they led to repeated calls for his resignation.Here The Independent looks back at Mr Johnson’s most damaging and humiliating blunders at the helm of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – and beyond. ‘Slip of the tongue’ on Iranian detentionDuring a 2017 select committee hearing the then-foreign secretary erroneously said Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe – still detained in Iran – was training journalists in the region. After Mr Johnson’s comments the 38-year-old Briton was hauled in front of an Iranian court and told her sentence could double.He later faced calls to resign and issued an apology 12 days after his remarks. But his cabinet colleague Liam Fox had insisted that people should not overreact to “slips of the tongue”. ‘Casual’ rule-breakingMr Johnson broke Commons rules by failing to declare a financial interest in a property within the mandated time limit. The Commons Standards Committee accused him of displaying “an over-casual attitude towards obeying the rules of the house”.The ruling came in April, just four months after the Ruislip MP was made to apologise for breaching the rules by failing to declare more than £52,000 of outside earnings. Crude remarks on child abuse investigationsComments Mr Johnson made about police probes into historical child abuse allegations during a radio interview sparked immediate condemnation.He said money spent on the investigations had been “spaffed up the wall” and would have been better used putting officers on the street. ‘Letter box’ comment about niqab wearersMs May publicly rebuked Mr Johnson in August 2019 after he compared women wearing burqas and niqabs to letter boxes.In a column for the Daily Telegraph – a weekly commitment that earns him some £275,000 a year – Mr Johnson described the garments as oppressive, adding it was “absolutely ridiculous” that people should “choose to go around looking like letter boxes”.Mr Johnson said some restrictions on wearing them were “sensible” but that he opposed a Denmark-style full ban in public places and claimed: “One day, I am sure, they will go.”He wrote: “If a constituent came to my MP’s surgery with her face obscured, I should feel fully entitled … to ask her to remove it so that I could talk to her properly.“If a female student turned up at school or at a university lecture looking like a bank robber then ditto: those in authority should be allowed to converse openly with those that they are being asked to instruct,” he wrote. Libya ‘dead bodies’ remarkAt the Conservative Party conference in October 2017 Mr Johnson was widely condemned after claiming the Libyan city of Sirte would have a bright future as a luxury resort once investors “cleared the dead bodies away”.Asked about a recent visit to Libya, where fighting still continues eight years after Muammar Gaddafi’s fall, he praised the “incredible country” with “bone-white sands”.He added: “There’s a group of UK business people, some wonderful guys who want to invest in Sirte on the coast, near where Gaddafi was captured and executed.“They have got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte into the next Dubai. The only thing they have got to do is clear the dead bodies away.” Describing Africa as ‘that country’Reflecting on his first three months in the job at the Tories’ 2016 conference Mr Johnson referred to Africa as “that country”, while painting the world a “less safe, more dangerous and more worrying” place than it had been a decade prior.Mr Johnson appeared to suggest the continent could benefit from adopting more British values, warning that a number of leaders were instead becoming more authoritarian.And he then said: “Life expectancy in Africa has risen astonishingly as that country has entered the global economic system.” Losing the no-deal argumentA second showing for Mr Johnson’s Telegraph column. In April 2019 the Independent Press Standards Organisation said the ex-foreign secretary had breached accuracy rules by claiming that polls showed a no-deal Brexit was more popular “by some margin” than Theresa May’s deal or staying in the EU.The paper argued it was “clearly comically polemical, and could not be reasonably read as a serious, empirical, in-depth analysis of hard factual matters”, but the watchdog ruled against it. Dram drama in BristolWhile foreign secretary he was berated at a Sikh temple in Bristol for talking about increasing whisky exports to India – despite alcohol being forbidden in the Sikh faith.A BBC recording captured a female worshipper asking him: “How dare you talk about alcohol in a Sikh temple?”. Mr Johnson apologised. Don’t mention the warDuring a visit to India early in 2017 Mr Johnson appeared to accuse the European Union of wanting to inflict Nazi-style “punishment beatings” on the UK because of Brexit.He said: “If [former French president Francois] Hollande wants to administer punishment beatings to anybody who seeks to escape [the EU], in the manner of some World War Two movie, I don’t think that is the way forward, and it’s not in the interests of our friends and partners.“It seems absolutely incredible to me that, in the 21st century, member states of the EU should be seriously contemplating the reintroduction of tariffs or whatever to administer punishment to the UK.” Tone deafness, colonial-styleBritain’s ambassador to Myanmar had to stop Mr Johnson as he recited a Rudyard Kipling poem in the country’s most sacred temple.The poem is written through the eyes of a retired British serviceman in what was then known as Burma, which Britain ruled between 1824 and 1948, and also references kissing a local girl.Campaigners called the September 2017 gaffe “stunning”. Mr Johnson had also referred to a golden statue in the Shwedagon Padoga temple as a “very big guinea pig” shortly before launching into verse.As he recited the poem video showed the British ambassador to the country, Andrew Patrick, growing visibly tense.When the then-foreign secretary reached the poem’s third line – “the wind is in the palm trees ... the temple bells they say” – Mr Patrick decided to interject. “You’re on-mic,” he said. “Probably not a good idea.”Mr Johnson replied: “What, The Road to Mandalay?”“No,” the ambassador said, “not appropriate.” Prosecco row bubbles overIn November 2016 Mr Johnson was mocked by European ministers following a bizarre argument about whose country would sell more prosecco or fish and chips post-Brexit. Italy’s economic minister Carlo Calenda said Mr Johnson’s approach appeared to be based on “wishful thinking”.“He basically said: ‘I don’t want free movement of people but I want the single market,’” Mr Calenda told Bloomberg. “I said: ‘No way.’ He said: ‘You’ll sell less prosecco.’ I said: ‘OK, you’ll sell less fish and chips, but I’ll sell less prosecco to one country and you’ll sell less to 27 countries.’ Putting things on this level is a bit insulting.”The row took place after Mr Johnson described suggestions that free movement of people was among the EU’s founding principles as “bollocks”. ‘Backie’ backlashA blast from the past. While mayor of London Mr Johnson was filmed breaking the law by giving his then-wife Marina Wheeler a lift on the back of his bike.National cycling charity CTC said he “should have known better”.Mr Johnson apologised through a spokesman after it emerged he had breached Section 24 of the Road and Traffic Act 1998. Offenders can ordinarily expect a £200 fine for committing the error.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II talks to London Mayor Boris Johnson during the Beijing Olympics Team GB reception at Buckingham Palace in London.
Boris Johnson watches the election results with his wife Marina (L), at the count in Watlington, Oxfordshire, after winning the Henley seat for the Conservatives in the 2001 General Election. The seat was Michael Heseltine's, who has stepped down at this election.
Spectator editor and Conservative MP Boris Johnson (left) chats to former Tory Chancellor Lord (Norman) Lamont at a party to mark the Spectator's 175th anniversary, at the Four Seasons Hotel, Park Lane, London. Among those also in attendance at the party were Home Secretary David Blunkett, broadcasters David Dimbleby and Andrew Neil, and TV chef Nigella Lawson.
Boris Johnson, Conservative MP and editor of The Spectator magazine, at a party to mark The Spectator's 175th anniversary, at the Four Seasons Hotel, Park Lane, London. Among those also in attendance at the party were Home Secretary David Blunkett, broadcasters David Dimbleby and Andrew Neil, and Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble. 16/10/2004 The Spectator editor Johnson, has been ordered by Tory leader Michael Howard to go to Liverpool to apologise for an article in his magazine accusing its people of 'wallowing' in their 'victim status'. Mr Johnson, who is also the Conservative shadow minister for the arts, said he would be travelling to the city next week in a 'spirit of complete humility' to apologise in person for the offence caused.
Shadow Arts Minister Boris Johnson campaigns for donations from delegates at the Conservative Party Annual Conference in Bournemouth. 15/10/2004: Tory MP Boris Johnson who edits The Spectator magazine where a leading article has accused Liverpudlians of wallowing in what they regard as their "victim status" over the murder of Ken Bigley and the Hillsborough football disaster in 1989.
Conservative Party MP Boris Johnson sits through a series of speeches during the Conservative Party Conference in Bournemouth.
Boris Johnson MP (centre) and editor of the Spectator at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts during a visit to the city to apologise for remarks made in his magazine about beheaded hostage Ken Bigley and the Hillsborough tragedy. But council leaders called on the people of Liverpool to ignore the "Boris Johnson show". The Tory MP for Henley created a storm of protest after the publication of a leader written in the Spectator, which suggested Liverpudlians were "hooked on grief".
Boris Johnson MP and editor of the Spectator magazine arrives at Claridges Hotel in London, where he is hosting the 'Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year' Awards. 13/11/2004 Boris Johnson who was Saturday November 13 2004, sacked from the Conservative frontbench amid fresh allegations about his private life, a spokesman for Tory leader Michael Howard said.
Boris Johnson arrives at his house in north London, after going for an early morning jog. The former Shadow Arts Minister and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, was relieved of his position by party leader Michael Howard, after revelations about his private life were published in a tabloid newspaper.
Boris Johnson, MP for Henley and Conservative spokesman on Higher Education, opens a footpath at the Environments Agency in Wallingford, Oxon, Friday April 7 2006. He later started a race between a car, a cyclist, runners and walkers to promote green travel. Watch for PA story.
England's Boris Johnson and Germany's Maurizio Gaudino shake hands at the end of the game
England's Boris Johnson (L) tackles Germany's Maurizio Gaudino during the Legends match at the Madejski Stadium in Reading.
Shadow education spokesman Boris Johnson MP, attends the final day of the Conservative Party's Annual Conference in Bournemouth.
Boris Johnson MP addresses a group of sixth form students from schools across London after being handed a petition against plans to scrap the last remaining ancient history A-level outside the House of Commons, London.
Boris Johnson (left) joins the Save our Services campaign against health cuts at St, Mary's Hospital in Sidcup, Kent.
Candidates for Mayor of London, Labour's Ken Livingston (left), Lib Dem candidate Brian Paddick (centre) and Boris Johnson of the Conservative party, appear together on television debate.
Conservative candidate for Mayor of London Boris Johnson launches the final phase of his mayoral campaign at Bounces Road Community Hall, North London today.
Conservative Party leader David Cameron congratulates Boris Johnson on becoming London Mayor at Tory HQ in central London.
Newly elected London Mayor Boris Johnson wears a policeman's hat in Trafalgar Square, central London during the Sikh New Year Festival celebrations of Vaisakhi.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson waves the Olympic Flag during the handover ceremony as President of IOC Jacques Rogge (centre) and Mayor of Beijing Guo Jinlong look on at the National Stadium during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, China.
Retired Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen (right) and current Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton (left) join Mayor of London Boris Johnson in backing an anti-drink-drive campaign at Potters Fields Park in London.
London Mayor Boris Johnson (2nd Left) celebrates St Georges Day in Leadenhall Market in the City of London today where he saw a festival of English food and drink.
Leader of the Conservative Party David Cameron (2nd right) with Mayor of London Boris Johnson (2nd left) as they celebrate St George's day in Leadenhall Market in the City of London.
Boris Johnson and TV star Kelly Brook launch the Mayor of London's Skyride, Peter's Hill steps, London.
London Mayor Boris Johnson with a sculpture of a blue cockerel as he unveils the next two commissions for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, which includes the cockeral (pictured) by Katharina Fritsch and a boy on a rocking horse named Powerless Structures by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset.
Boris Johnson pictured with members of the Genesis Mas band, who will be performing at the Notting Hill Carnival this weekend, at Potters Fields in central London.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson (left) with Prime Minister David Cameron during the lighting of the Paralympic Cauldron in Trafalgar Square, central London.
London Mayor Boris Johnson boards one of the first trains of the new London Overground extension connecting Clapham Junction with Canada Water. ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 10 2012. The new service will be London's first new orbital Journey times from south and east London. See PA story RAIL Link. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Actor Brian Blessed (left) and Mayor of London Boris Johnson sell poppies in Liverpool Street Station in central London with they collected money from commuters including nine year old Arthur Crowley (centre) from Salisbury.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson (centre) swings from a bus as Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers (left), Northern First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster and Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Jonathan Bell (second right) look on during a visit to Wrightbus Chassis plant in Antrim.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (left) and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov during a press conference following their meeting in Moscow.
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He told Sky News's Sophy Ridge On Sunday: "In one sense, of course, it is a private matter, but when you're running for public office, when you are wanting to be the prime minister of the UK, then these matters are in the public interest.

"I've long held the view that Boris Johnson is unsuitable to be prime minister of this country. I've had my run-ins with Boris – I, infamously, was almost tackled to the ground in the 2017 general election by this man."

Mr Johnson repeatedly refused to explain to Tory grassroots at a Saturday hustings what went on at the south London flat in the early hours of Friday morning, saying the party faithful did not want "to hear about that kind of thing".

Mr Johnson's campaign for Number 10 was rocked by the revelations that officers were called to the home he shares with partner Ms Symonds by a neighbour who claimed to have been "frightened and concerned" after hearing shouting, "a loud scream" and banging coming from the property.

A poll carried out after the reports emerged suggested Mr Johnson's support among Tory voters had dropped by more than half while among the general electorate it indicated he had slipped into second place behind rival Jeremy Hunt.

The Foreign Secretary ramped up his challenge to Mr Johnson on Saturday, saying in an open letter that their "character" was being tested in the final stage of the leadership race and "scrutiny can be uncomfortable".

When asked at the hustings about the incident, Mr Johnson said people "are entitled to ask about me and my determination, my character and what I want to do for the country".

But he would not elaborate on the police visit, preferring to talk about his time as mayor of London instead.

Moderator Iain Dale drew heckles from some in the crowd when he asked Mr Johnson whether a person's private life had any bearing on someone's ability to discharge the office of prime minister.

"Don't boo the great man," Mr Johnson said, but Mr Dale suggested he was "completely avoiding" the question.

Tory grandee Sir Malcolm Rifkind told BBC Radio 5 Live: "If you are a candidate to be prime minister and the police have been called to your house – fairly or unfairly – the fact is there was a police visit. You don't just say 'no comment'.

"That implies you may have something you don't want to disclose."

Sir Malcolm, who indicated he would back Mr Hunt in the race, added: "It was a lack of judgment to refuse to even make a short comment. All he could have said, quite reasonably, would have been that in all relationships there are occasionally outbursts of anger and disagreement."

The former foreign secretary rejected a suggestion that Mr Johnson should be allowed to draw a distinction between his private and public life.

"I'm sorry, you don't have that sort of private life if you're asking people to choose you to be their prime minister," Sir Malcolm said.

"Of course there are certain things that are utterly personal, but it's rather like Michael Gove being asked if he took cocaine."

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

On Saturday night, the neighbour who rang the Metropolitan Police went public after suggestions that his recording of the row had been leaked to The Guardian with political intent.

Tom Penn said the allegations were "bizarre and fictitious", explaining in a statement to the paper that he dialled 999 after hearing shouting coming from his neighbour's flat.

"It was loud enough and angry enough that I felt frightened and concerned for the welfare of those involved, so I went inside my own home, closed the door, and pressed record on the voice memos app on my phone," the 29-year-old playwright 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."

Whaling in Japan
Mr Johnson's father Stanley Johnson and Carrie Symonds at an anti-whaling protest outside the Japanese Embassy in central London (PA file)

The revelations threw Mr Johnson's leadership campaign into chaos and a poll by Survation for the Mail On Sunday suggested it had struck a blow to his dominant position in the race.

Two surveys suggested Mr Johnson's lead over Mr Hunt among Conservative voters had been cut from 27 points to 11, while among all respondents Mr Hunt was ahead on 32% with Mr Johnson on 29%.

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