Boris Johnson has refused to deny orchestrating the release of a photograph showing him and his partner apparently happy and at ease with each other, following reports the couple were involved in a late-night row.
The frontrunner in the Conservative Party leadership contest also would not deny the photo of him and Carrie Symonds sitting together in a Sussex field was taken before, not after, the argument on Thursday evening.
Several newspapers yesterday carried the soft-focus candid-style photo after Johnson faced days of questioning over what had happened in the south-London flat owned by Symonds.
The timing and framing of the photo led to allegations that it had been staged and deliberately handed to the press.
In an interview on LBC on Tuesday morning, Johnson admitted he knew the photograph existed.
Pressed repeatedly on whether it was an “old” picture, Johnson said: “I am not going to comment on the antiquity or the provenance of some photo.”
And asked if he knew the photo was going to be released to the media, he replied: “There are all sorts of photographs of me out on the internet that pop-up from time to time.”
“Newspapers will print whatever they are going to print,” he added. “Of course I knew there was a picture like that in existence.”
Johnson also brushed off suggestions the proof that the photo had not been taken in the last four days was the length of his hair was different.
In a separate interview with the BBC last night, Johnson said it was “simply unfair” to “drag” his loved ones into the political arena.
Police were called to the flat by worried neighbours after Symonds was heard screaming and shouting “get off me”. A recording of the argument was handed to The Guardian.
Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan police commissioner, this morning defended the decision by Johnson’s neighbours to call the police.
“I think it is important that people call the police when they are worried about somebody of course. I want people to tell us if they are worried about somebody,” she told LBC in an earlier interview this morning.