Boris Johnson refuses to answer questions about 'row' with partner at Tory hustings

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks

Boris Johnson refused to answer questions about police being called to his flat following an alleged row with his partner Carrie Symonds.

Appearing at a Conservative Party hustings in Birmingham on Saturday, the Tory leadership hopeful refused to answer Iain Dale's questions about the incident, saying "I don't think they want to hear about that kind of thing".

Mr Johnson said: "I don't think people want to hear about that kind of thing. I think what they want to hear is about my plans about my future for the country."

The early hours altercation overshadowed events at the hustings, where Jeremy Hunt followed his rival on stage stating that sending the right person to Brussels was vital.

"If we send the wrong person, there's no negotiation, no trust, no deal. Send the right person and there's a deal to be done," he said.

But it was frontrunner Mr Johnson who was first put on the spot.

And he said he didn't think people were interested in reports of the row on Friday.

To applause he said: "People are entitled to asked about me and my character. When I make a promise, I keep that promise and I deliver."

Pressed again by his host to answer for his private life, he said: "What people want to know is whether I have the determination and courage to deliver on the promises I'm making."

Boris Johnson refused to answer questions about the alleged incident at his home in Camberwell. Credit: PA

Iain Dale was roundly booed by the Tory faithful when he asked Mr Johnson if a person's private life had a bearing on whether they could be prime minister.

Mr 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."

Mr Dale put it to him that he was not going to make any comment at all regarding what happened in the early hours of Friday, and Mr Johnson said that was "pretty obvious".

Mr 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."

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

  • Mr Johnson promises to 'get Brexit done'

The Conservative leadership frontrunner was the first to appear on stage before Jeremy Hunt for the first of 16 national hustings event this afternoon where he will face questions.

The former Mayor of London also promised to "get Brexit done", adding: "The hour is darkest before dawn.

"And I am here to tell you that in all confidence we can turn this thing around."

Mr Johnson scratches his head as he is questioned by Iain Dale. Credit: PA

Mr Johnson said: "I am utterly convinced, utterly convinced, that with the right energy, and the right commitment, common sense will prevail, but just in case it does not, we must prepare to come out anyway.

"And we must be able to come out on WTO terms, so that for the first time in these negotiations we carry conviction.

"And it is precisely because we will be preparing between now and October 31 for a no deal Brexit that we will get the deal we need."

Mr Johnson said there should be "creative ambiguity" over whether to pay the £39bn divorce bill.

  • Mr Johnson's prime ministerial pledges

Mr Johnson outlined a number of key policy positions which he would rectify should he win the keys to Number 10 next month.

The Uxbridge MP said he was keen to "level up" funding for education, roll out full fibre broadband, increase police and build more homes.

On education, Mr Johnson said: "I want to see kids around the country have an opportunity, have the basic tool of self-improvement that every child in this country deserves."

Referring to poor internet coverage in parts of the UK he said there are "whole areas of the country where people are looking at the spinning pizza wheel of doom".

He said: "The internet is no longer a luxury, it's the basic utensil of economic growth and of communication."

  • Jeremy Hunt on Brexit

Mr Hunt said if the wrong person is sent to Brussels, "catastrophe awaits".

He added: "If you choose me I'll be the first prime minister whose been an entrepreneur by background."

Mr Hunt said entrepreneurs negotiate, adding: "If we send the wrong person there's going to be no negotiation, no trust, no deal, and if Parliament stops that, maybe no Brexit.

"Send the right person and there's a deal to be done. Send that right person and we can do what we all need to do, which is come back with something positive for our country.

"And that's what I want to do."

He said he would only take Britain out of the EU without a deal as a matter of very last resort.

Answering a question from the floor about a no-deal Brexit, he said: "I am aiming, heart and soul, to get a deal.

"There would be an economic impact of no deal but if that was the only way, then I would do that.

"I hope Parliament would see that I'm a PM committed to getting a deal. It's going to be tough but I think the EU will listen to a new PM."

Jeremy Hunt presses his case for leader. Credit: .
  • Hunt says he's the man to get things done

Mr Hunt, the current Foreign Secretary, said defence spending, corporation tax cuts, social care reform for the elderly, education were top priorities.

Addressing the audience, sans jacket, he said education was a key aim "so that no one leaves education unable to read and write - I want to abolish illiteracy".

"We will get more young people voting Conservative," he told the audience.

"I will never provoke a general election before we've left the EU."

Jeremy Hunt has been speculating on a new campaign slogan... Credit: .
  • Jeremy Hunt on #HuntyMcHuntFace

Jeremy Hunt described himself as "the underdog", saying: "The internet, because I'm the underdog, the internet has been kind to me for the first time in my life.

"And they're actually, they're running a campaign to help me find the slogan that I should be putting to the country and to the membership.

"And we've had #TakeAPuntOnHunt, #JezzasTheBezza and #HuntyMcHuntFace.

"Now be very careful how you say that one because we're the party of family values."

  • Hunt defends record on the NHS

Mr Hunt defended his record as health secretary during which he was regularly accused of cutting services to the bone and clashed often with nurses and doctors over pay.

He said he was only too aware that he made "life and death decisions as health secretary", adding: "Sometimes we get it wrong, and in order to get things right I had to fight some difficult battles.

"I'm not a Prime Minister to court popularity. I'm proud of the changes I made [as health secretary]."