Some background for non-UK readers. The contest for the next leader of the Conservative party, and therefore our next Prime Minister, is now between two: Boris Johnson and someone else. Johnson is the clear favourite to win. Johnson has a pretty colourful love life, such that uncertainty about how many children he has produced is a talking point.
Last week neighbours of Johnson’s current girlfriend heard screaming, crashing and shouting coming from her home very late at night. One particular neighbour, Mr. Penn, knocked on the door but there was no response. He then rang the police, who quickly came to the property. The police were satisfied that all occupants were OK, they had no concerns and left. One other neighbour described the earlier noise as so bad they thought someone had been murdered.
That would have been that, except that one of those neighbours, a Mr. Penn, contacted the Guardian about the story, and had also switched on his phone inside the flat when the noises started. The reason he gave for contacting the Guardian was simply that the story was of public interest. The Guardian rang the police and they initially said there was no incident that night. When the Guardian rang back with further details the police corroborated the story.
The story was of course of public interest. It was on the front page of every newspaper the next day, including the right wing press. So far, the right wing press were acting as proper newspapers. It is what happened next that tells a more interesting tale. Mr. Penn decided to go public (the Guardian had kept his identity secret) because
“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.The attempts from some areas of the press to instead focus their stories on us, and in particular my wife, have been eye-opening, and very alarming.”
“'Leftist' millionaire's daughter whose playwright husband called police on Boris after recording screaming bust-up 'gave the finger' to PM-hopeful in the street - as it's revealed Johnson's girlfriend Carrie no longer feels safe at home.”
Here is some more from the text:
“Most curious of all is what the couple did – and why they did it – after they were assured by police that there was nothing to worry about, that no one was hurt, no crime had been committed and that there was no cause for further action. At this point many in their position might have slunk away, faintly embarrassed they had dropped their neighbours (with whom they share a tiny communal landing) in it with police.”