Tories want answers after cops called to Johnson's home over loud row
He refuses to comment on loud row between him and girlfriend
LONDON: The man tipped to be the next British prime minister is under pressure from his Conservative Party members to explain what happened at his home on Friday morning.
Police were called to Mr Boris Johnson's home after neighbours heard a loud altercation between him and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds.
He declined to answer questions about the incident.
"I don't think (audience members) want to hear about that kind of thing, unless I'm wrong," Mr Johnson said when asked about the incident.
"I think what they want to hear is what my plans are for the country and for my party."
Tory grandee Malcolm Rifkind criticised the response, telling BBC Radio 5: "The fact is there was a police visit. You don't just say 'no comment'. That implies you may have something you don't want to disclose."
Former Tory foreign office minister Alan Duncan told the Guardian his former boss now had a "big question mark over his head", adding Mr Johnson had shown a "lack of discipline" throughout his career.
Although still heavily backed to beat Mr Jeremy Hunt to become Conservative Party leader, and therefore prime minister, a snap poll published in the Mail On Sunday suggested the incident had cut his support.
Among voters, Mr Hunt is the preferred candidate to become prime minister, according to the Survation poll in the Mail On Sunday, as Mr Johnson saw a 7 per cent decline in support.
He also saw his lead over Mr Hunt with Tory voters slashed from 27 per cent to 9 per cent since Friday.
But it is the party's 160,000 members who will have the final say, and their support appeared undimmed during the first day of "hustings" - internal party debates to decide the new leader - on Saturday.
The crowd gave Mr Johnson a standing ovation and loudly heckled interviewer Iain Dale as he quizzed the former London mayor over Friday's domestic incident.
The Guardian newspaper, which first reported the story, said a neighbour had heard a woman screaming followed by "slamming and banging". At one point Ms Symonds could be heard telling Mr Johnson to "get off me" and "get out of my flat".
A neighbour told the Guardian they recorded the altercation from their flat out of concern for Ms Symonds.
The Guardian said it had reviewed the recording and Mr Johnson could be heard refusing to leave the flat and using a swear word to tell Ms Symonds to get off his laptop.
Crashing sounds can also be heard, the newspaper said.
Ms Symonds is heard saying Mr Johnson had ruined a sofa with red wine, according to the Guardian's account.
"You just don't care for anything because you're spoilt. You have no care for money or anything," Ms Symonds is quoted as saying by the newspaper. - REUTERS, AFP