Reports of a heated late-night row between Boris Johnson and his girlfriend sparked a debate on Sunday about whether it would hurt his campaign to be Britain’s next prime minister and the front-runner’s suitability for the job.
Polls conducted for the Mail yesterday newspaper before and after front page reports of the argument showed that Johnson’s lead over rival Jeremy Hunt, the foreign minister, had evaporated amongst all voters and had narrowed among Conservatives.
Johnson declined to answer questions about the incident at a hustings event in Birmingham, in central England, on Saturday, saying that the audience wanted instead to hear about his plans for Britain three years after the country voted to leave the European Union.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, who is backing Hunt, agreed the reports should not distract from important policy debate in the race to become the next prime minister which will be decided by 160,000 Conservative party members next month.
“I think it’s always easier to just give an explanation,” he told the BBC yesterday. “But the key thing then is how you get on to the issues; what we can’t have is it being a distraction from explanations about wider polices and where we go to and when.”