Saturday 18 January 2020

Neighbour reported row to paper to 'hold Boris accountable for actions'

Carrie Symonds
Carrie Symonds

The neighbour who alerted police about the disturbance at the flat Boris Johnson shares with his partner Carrie Symonds has defended his actions.

Tom Penn said he "felt it was of public interest" to tell the Guardian about events at the south London property in the early hours of Friday.

Mr Penn and his wife have found themselves under scrutiny amid the fallout from the incident involving the hot favourite to become the next prime minister and his girlfriend.

According to reports, Mr Penn's wife tweeted about giving Mr Johnson "the finger" last weekend, although the tweet is no longer publicly available.

On Saturday, Brexit Minister James Cleverly, a supporter of Mr Johnson, said a "big element" of the story "isn't that there was a heated argument, it's that the police were called".


"The police were called by the same person who recorded Boris and gave the story to the Guardian," he tweeted.

In a statement, Mr Penn defended his decision to reveal details of the incident to the newspaper.

"Once clear that no one was harmed, I contacted the Guardian, as I felt it was of important public interest," he said.

"I believe it reasonable for someone who is likely to become our prime minister to be held accountable for all of their words, actions and behaviours.

"I, with a lot of my neighbours all across London, voted to remain within the EU. That is the extent of my involvement in politics.

"The unpleasant things being said about myself and my partner, and some quite frankly bizarre and fictitious allegations, have been upsetting for not only us, but also for family, friends and fellow Camberwell neighbours, who are currently being harangued by the media.

"I would ask that you leave private citizens alone and focus instead on those who have chosen to run for power within the public eye."

Scotland Yard said it was alerted to the situation by a caller who "was concerned for the welfare of a female neighbour".

The Guardian said it had heard a recording of the incident in which Mr Johnson could allegedly be heard saying "get off my f**king laptop" before a loud crashing noise.

At one point Ms Symonds was heard telling Mr Johnson to "get off me", the paper said.

Mr Penn said he recorded the altercation within his own home.

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