- Boris Johnson continues to be dogged by questions over the row with his girlfriend which resulted in police being called last week.
- An uncredited picture of the couple, apparently reconciled, was released to the press, which appeared on many front pages on Tuesday.
- However, social media users have questioned whether it was staged, or even taken some weeks before.
- Johnson on Tuesday repeatedly refused to say when the photo was taken.
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LONDON – Boris Johnson has refused to deny that a photo that appeared in the press of him with his girlfriend Carrie Symonds was staged by his campaign, following the furious row that resulted in police being called to their flat last week.
The picture appeared on many front pages in the United Kingdom on Tuesday, as apparent evidence that the two had reconciled, following the row in which Symonds was reportedly recorded at their flat screaming at Johnson to get off of her.
There was widespread speculation on social media that the photo, which appeared in the press without any credit to the photographer, had been planted by Johnson’s campaign.
The picture was also compared with recent photos of Johnson, with some people suggesting that the photo had been taken some weeks before he had his recent haircut.
I’m told by the Boris Johnson campaign that the picture is genuinely from Sunday.
Here – just to pass the time – is what Johnson’s hair looked like on Saturday so everyone can compare and contrast
Still hoping copyright of Sunday photo released…. pic.twitter.com/4aimcLHuHG
— Sam Coates Sky (@SamCoatesSky) June 24, 2019
Johnson was asked repeatedly by LBC presenter Nick Ferrari on Tuesday whether the photo had really been taken some weeks before, but refused to do so.
“There are all sorts of pictures of me out on the internet, which, er, pop up from time to time,” Johnson said.
— William Kedjanyi (@KeejayOV2) June 25, 2019
Asked whether he knew the picture had been put out by his campaign, he replied that: “It is entirely up to newspapers to decide what they want to print.”
Pushed on whether it was “quite an old picture,” he replied that “I am not going to comment.”
The row has derailed Johnson’s campaign, with the question over what took place inside the couple’s flat in Camberwell, south London, dominating recent interviews with the former mayor of London.
On Monday major Conservative Party donor John Griffin called on Johnson to come clean on the issue of his relationship with Symonds and other women over the years.
“We deserve an explanation about that row, and he has to handle it properly. He can’t assume that we are going to support him when he has not explained every detail,” he said.
“It is likely that he is going to become the PM and most members want to support him. But if I did anything wrong, I would need to explain. Because he hasn’t, it is a real worry.”
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He said that party members needed to be reassured about Johnson’s fitness for the job.
“We need to know if he can be trusted because he will get even more attention from women if he becomes PM. I would be concerned if he went marauding around, taking advantage of women by using his position. It would not be right at all,” he said.
There is little sign so far that the row has had a negative impact on his standing with the wider membership, however.
When asked by the commentator Iain Dale about the row at hustings event on Saturday, Dale was booed by party members for raising the issue.
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