Johnson's domestic dispute fuels debate in Britain over his PM credentials

Last Updated: Mon, Jun 24, 2019 10:12 hrs
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson leaves after listening to Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May deliver her keynote speech on Brexit at Lancaster House in London

New Delhi: 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 Britains next prime minister and the front-runners suitability for the job.

Polls conducted for the Mail on Sunday newspaper before and after front page reports of the argument showed that Johnsons 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 its always easier to just give an explanation, he told the BBCs Andrew Marr on Sunday.

But the key thing then is how you get on to the issues; what we cant have is it being a distraction from explanations about wider polices and where we go to and when.

The clear favourite, Johnson had tried to stay out of the limelight, and opponents have accused him of running from scrutiny to avoid the gaffes that have been a feature of his career so far.

Polling for the Mail on Sunday newspaper showed Johnson was seen as the best prime minister by 36% of all voters on Thursday, while Jeremy Hunt was supported by 28%.

But Johnson had lost the lead on Saturday, with 32% supporting Hunt and 29% Johnson.