Boris Johnson has been targeted by a smear campaign spreading ‘bogus’ claims that girlfriend Carrie Symonds was recorded accusing him of having an affair, a source has claimed.
A Westminster insider claimed previously that during a heated row between the pair recorded by neighbours last week, Symonds could be heard making allegations about a romance between Johnson and a member of his Common staff.
But a source with “close knowledge of the argument” has told the Mail on Sunday that the rumours about accusations of infidelity were unfounded.
“Everything on that recording has been reported,” the source said.
A supporter of Mr Johnson added that the Commons affair claims were “completely bogus”.
Mr Johnson, currently running for the Tory leadership, has faced pointed questions about his private life since a row at Symonds’s flat last week in which neighbours heard her saying “get off me” and “get out of my flat”.
Police later attended the property, and excerpts of a recording were published in the Guardian the next day.
At a leadership hustings in Carlisle yesterday, one Tory member asked Johnson: “With a chequered private life, can we trust you with the great lady Britannia?”
Johnson replied: “Every time I was asked to deliver something in London, I over delivered on my promises.”
Another member advised him to lay off the wine, referencing reports that the row at Symonds’s flat began after he spilt red wine on her sofa.
He replied: “It is important not to spill a drop.”
Johnson remains the favourite to replace Theresa May as British prime minister, continuing to command a strong lead among Tory members, two thirds of whom still back him.
But a YouGov poll published yesterday found that Jeremy Hunt, the current foreign secretary and Mr Johnson’s rival, is the preferred choice among the wider public, 41 per cent of whom said they’d pick Hunt compared with only 29 per cent for Johnson.
MPs have also been alarmed by rumours that the advisers surrounding Mr Johnson, some of whom could follow him into Downing Street if he wins, have begun to feud, the Mail on Sunday reported.
Mr Hunt sought to narrow Mr Johnson’s lead at a hustings in Carlisle yesterday, saying that he would not support a general election before Brexit had been delivered, and going on to attack Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“We cannot go back to the people and ask for another mandate until we have delivered the mandate that they gave us last time,” he said.
“If we forget that, we forget the lessons of the local elections, the European elections, the Peterborough by-election… who comes through the middle? It’s Labour.
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“If we ignore that, we ignore the crocodile lurking under the surface of British politics which is a Labour Party led by the most ruthless, dangerous, anti-Western, anti-British, hard-Left cabal we have ever seen in British politics, under Jeremy Corbyn.
“We must not let him in.”
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