Carrie Symonds is ‘too scared to go home’ after she was recorded in a ‘political stitch-up’ by neighbours while she argued with her boyfriend Boris Johnson inside their flat, it was revealed last night.
Her argument with the PM-hopeful, 55, was reported to the police by Remainer couple Tom Penn, 30, and wife Eve Leigh, 34, who live in the flat above and were listening through the walls.
The 31-year-old now fears for her safety after it was also disclosed she had been receiving hate mail at her home in Camberwell, south London.
Meanwhile her street has been plastered with anti-Boris posters and leaflets.
Under fire: Tom Penn and Eve Leigh (both pictured), who live in the same block as Carrie Symonds, said they heard ‘screaming, banging and then silence’ in the early hours of Friday morning, which caused them to call the police
Carrie Symonds (pictured at his leadership launch earlier this month) is struggling after receiving hate mail at her flat in Camberwell, south London
The 31-year-old’s street has also been plastered with anti-Boris posters, with some saying ‘We’d rather endure him as our neighbour’ (pictured)
Ms Leigh, who is the daughter of a millionaire, has boasted of how she gave the finger to Mr Johnson in the street and even took to Twitter to say ‘all Tories suck’
She is described as a New York-born ‘Leftist’, once gleefully boasted on Twitter that she had given Boris ‘the finger’.
Ms Leigh also had a leading role in a theatre project called Brexit Stage Left – a festival of plays held in January and partly funded from a £1 billion EU cultural project.
The couple are both playwrights and claim that their decision to phone police was not political but out of ‘concern for their neighbours’ safety’.
Last night, a friend of Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds said: ‘Carrie really doesn’t feel safe in her own home anymore with anti-Boris leaflets and posters stuck up on the road, hand-delivered hate mail and now her private conversations being taped through the walls.’
Not only did the couple record the altercation, it also emerged yesterday they took the trouble to record police officers at the scene – and take down the registration numbers of their cars, all of which they passed to the Guardian.
Boris Johnson broke cover late on Saturday night to post a picture at a ‘Back Boris’ rally in Sutton Coldfield
Miss Symonds considers the recording to be a ‘stitch-up’ that had been ‘politically motivated’ and she accused the couple of eavesdropping.
‘It was a row like lots of couples have at the end of a demanding day but suddenly they found the police on their doorstep,’ a source from Mr Johnson’s camp told the Sun.
But the former foreign secretary repeatedly refused to be drawn on the explosive row during a hustings event in Birmingham yesterday, which Miss Symonds did not attend.
Despite the two flats being on different floors, their entrances are opposite a shared landing.
Speaking at a hustings in Birmingham on Saturday, Boris Johnson did not mention the issue in his opening comments, insisting: ‘We need to get Brexit done… and I am the right man’
Miss Symonds is said to have been heard screaming at Mr Johnson to get out of the flat in a Victorian House in Camberwell, south London that she bought last year and lives in with her lover (pictured)
Mr Penn and wife Ms Leigh called the police on the couple after they claimed they were ‘frightened and concerned’ by noises coming from the flat in the early hours of Friday morning.
But it has emerged Ms Leigh has been responsible for a range of anti-Conservative posts on social media.
Ms Leigh deleted her Twitter account yesterday, which had been active for seven years.
The theatre producer and writer wrote on Twitter last week that Tories were ‘pretending to respect the memories of the Holocaust dead’.
The American also claimed Theresa May had brought in ‘insanely cruel policies’, that Brexit was ‘racist’ and the Home Office was ‘lower than vermin’.
Another post on her account said: ‘Just gave Boris Johnson the finger, this weekend is unstoppable.’
A source close to Miss Symonds said the signal had come after Mr Johnson spoke to her while taking down anti-Boris posters, which Ms Leigh said she played no part in.
And she later added that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was not to blame for anti-Semitism in the party.
The Remainer even saw one of her plays star in Brexit Stage Left – the Europhile festival.
Did the couple record the bust-up, then, because they hoped to inflict on the Boris bandwagon a damaging blow? No, says Mr Penn.
The truth was they were genuinely concerned that something ‘dangerous’ might be happening in the flat.
In fairness to him, it did sound quite a quarrel.
Another neighbour said she had ‘never heard anything like it’.
But as it transpired, there was nothing sinister unfolding inside the Symonds-Johnson first-floor flat in Camberwell, South East London.
And certainly by the time police arrived, peace had been restored. Joking ensued. All was well.
But the brief episode, which also reflects, perhaps, our poisonous political times, does raise questions.
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.
Yet instead of letting the matter rest, Mr Penn rang The Guardian.
Not just to tip off the paper, but to tell his story, a detailed account of the night’s events.
What Tom Penn said in his statement on Saturday night:
‘In the early hours of Friday morning, I answered a phone call from a takeaway food delivery driver. At the same time, I heard what sounded like shouting coming from the street.
‘I went downstairs, on the phone to the driver, and collected my food. On the way back into my flat, it became clear that the shouting was coming from a neighbour’s flat. It was loud enough and angry enough that I felt frightened and concerned for the welfare of those involved, so I went inside my own home, closed the door, and pressed record on the voice memos app on my phone.
‘After a loud scream and banging, followed by silence, I ran upstairs, and with my wife agreed that we should check on our neighbours. I knocked three times at their front door, but there was no response. I went back upstairs into my flat, and we agreed that we should call the police.
‘The police arrived within five minutes. Our call was made anonymously, and no names were given to the police. They subsequently called back to thank us for reporting, and to let us know that nobody was harmed.
‘To be clear, the recordings were of the noise within my own home. My sole concern up until this point was the welfare and safety of our neighbours. I hope that anybody would have done the same thing.
‘Once clear that no one was harmed, I contacted the Guardian, as I felt it was of important public interest. I believe it is reasonable for someone who is likely to become our next prime minister to be held accountable for all of their words, actions and behaviours.
‘I, along 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.
‘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. I would encourage anyone to record any instances where they feel concerned for another person’s safety.’
Were the couple hoping to make a few quid?
Hardly. The Guardian doesn’t normally engage in cheque book journalism and, in any case, they don’t appear hard-up.
Ms Leigh was raised in a £15 million New York home and her father was American composer Mitch Leigh who wrote the 1965 Broadway musical Man Of La Mancha, which included the huge hit The Impossible Dream.
According to Mr Penn, they rang the paper because the matter was of ‘important public interest’.
The unfortunate events might possibly never have happened were it not for Mr Johnson’s runaway success in the Tory leadership race.
On Thursday, he saw off arch rival Michael Gove to leave him facing Jeremy Hunt, over whom he has a commanding lead.
Might he have allowed a night off from his alcohol-free diet to celebrate? It would seem so.
A loud altercation – involving red wine – between Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds could be heard coming from their flat after midnight.
According to The Guardian, which has listened to the recording, Mr Johnson was heard refusing to leave the flat and telling his girlfriend ‘to get off my f****** laptop before a loud crashing noise.
The paper claimed that Symonds then said Johnson had ruined the sofa with red wine.
‘You just don’t care for anything because you are spoilt. You have no care for money or anything.’
Friends of Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds told The Mail on Sunday the laptop was being used to search the internet for solutions to remove wine stains from upholstery.
At first Mr Penn and Ms Leigh weren’t named by The Guardian, which initially tried to disguise Mr Penn’s gender, though gave it away.
The paper reported that the couple called police as a last resort after receiving no response from inside the flat.
It quoted Mr Penn, who was waiting for a takeaway, as saying: ‘I’d heard the screaming and shouting that sounded like it was from the street before I went to get my food.
‘It became clear as I returned that it was coming from inside.’
The recording, he said, was made ‘purely out of instinct’.
He added: ‘I had my phone on me because I’d gone to pick up a Deliveroo so I was on the phone to the Deliveroo driver.
‘If I saw someone who I thought was in danger on the street I would start filming while seeking help.
‘I was inside my own flat hearing shouting, screaming and banging so I pressed record.
Boris Johnson attended the Uxbridge and South Ruislip Conservative Association Summer Drinks in Uxbridge just an hour after reports of the blazing bust-up between him and his partner
Mr Johnson attended the the Uxbridge & South Ruislip Conservative Association summer drinks this evening, an hour after reports of the row with Miss Symonds emerged
BoJo goes boho in ‘edgy’ part of London:
It is a pocket of London normally associated with bohemian types rather than aspiring Prime Ministers. Yet Boris Johnson lays his head in Camberwell, sharing his 31-year-old girlfriend Carrie Symonds’s flat on a quiet tree-lined street that features a mix of handsome Georgian properties and social housing.
Once one of the South London’s toughest neighbourhoods, these days Camberwell attracts creative Londoners drawn to its lively arts scene and diverse community.
But locals in the Labour- dominated area say it remains ‘edgy in parts’ and is certainly a step or two down from the would-be PM’s previous abode.
Before moving in with Miss Symonds, the former Foreign Secretary lived with wife Marina Wheeler in a £3.75 million Grade II listed home by the Regent’s Canal.
Ms Symonds’s flat is a stone’s throw from the estate where ten-year-old schoolboy Damilola Taylor was knifed to death in 2000.
Neighbour Ross Standaloft has written a withering rap song in which he describes Mr Johnson as a ‘Tory dumb dumb’ with ‘big floppy hair and an ever-flapping jaw’.
‘There are a lot of council tenants and a lot of the kind of people Boris probably doesn’t rub shoulders with much,’ Mr Standaloft said.
‘It felt like if there was something dangerous happening that having a recording of it would be important as evidence.
‘The screaming maxed out the volume of the microphone on my phone through two doors, which is why we became concerned.’
After the couple dialled 999, police in two cars and a van arrived in minutes, but left after receiving assurances the altercation was over.
The Mail on Sunday understands that one officer even joked that the couple had done well to remove the wine stain.
Yesterday, an ally of Mr Johnson claimed ‘the police had their time wasted and they knew it at the time’.
Former leadership candidate James Cleverly said ‘the big element of the Boris story isn’t that they had a heated argument, it’s that the police were called by the same person who recorded Boris and gave the story to The Guardian’.
Another neighbour in the building said: ‘It concerns us that someone inside the house has been recording things.
‘I am sorry Boris and Carrie have had to put up with this nonsense.’
The Guardian reported: ‘When police attended the scene, an officer could be heard on the radio asking a colleague to ‘restrict it’.’
In his statement last night, Mr Penn said: ‘In the early hours of Friday morning, I answered a phone call from a take-away food delivery driver. At the same time, I heard what sounded like shouting coming from the street. I went downstairs, on the phone to the driver, and collected my food.
‘On the way back into my flat, it became clear that the shouting was coming from a neighbour’s flat.
Speaking at a hustings in Birmingham today, Boris Johnson did not mention the issue in his opening comments, insisting: ‘We need to get Brexit done… and I am the right man.’
At one point Mr Johnson asked how long he had left on stage, joking: ‘There’s some quite hostile bowling.’
‘It was loud enough and angry enough that I felt frightened and concerned for the welfare of those involved, so I went inside my own home, closed the door, and pressed record on the voice memos app on my phone.
‘After a loud scream and banging, followed by silence, I ran upstairs, and with my wife agreed that we should check on our neighbours. I knocked three times at their front door, but there was no response.
‘I went back upstairs into my flat, and we agreed that we should call the police.
Guardianista neighbours in £720,000 flat next to Carrie Symonds’
Remain-backing playwrights Eve Leigh and Tom Penn do not look out of place in trendy Camberwell, but last night they were branded ‘neighbours from hell’ by a Johnson-supporting Tory MP.
After the pair admitted their role in briefing The Guardian about Carrie Symonds’ and Boris Johnson’s nocturnal activities, allies and friends of Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds pointed to their neighbours’ anti-Brexit sentiment and ‘hatred’ of the Tory Party.
Ms Leigh is the daughter of multi-millionaire musical theatre producer Mitch Leigh. A successful writer, she was the star of a theatre project called Brexit Stage Left, which received financial backing from Eurodram, a cultural campaign funded with Brussels cash.
Eurodram’s website reveals it is ‘co-funded by the Creative European Programme of the European Union’.
The event in January described itself as a ‘festival of staged readings of provocative cutting-edge plays from across the EU’. The former palm-reader bought her luxurious flat above Carrie Symonds’ apartment for £720,000 in April last year.
In March this year, she married her partner Tom.
Last night he confirmed that he had backed Remain in the EU referendum, but insisted that had nothing to do with the weekend’s events.
Ms Leigh was described by one interviewer as an ‘American Leftist Buddhist Jewish playwright.’
Her religious outlook influenced the theme of her most recent play, The Trick, which tackles the topics of ageing and coping with grief. However, it received mixed reviews from critics.
The Evening Standard called it ‘a mystifying muddle’ and said ‘it’s all increasingly wearisome’.
The Guardian gave it two stars and said it was ‘overbearing in its manipulative attempts to make us feel sad’.
Other work by the playwright includes ‘a documentary audio piece about childhood, told through the prism of a Bulgarian borstal’.
Mr Penn has yet to match his wife’s levels of fame or critical attention in the theatre world.
‘The police arrived within five minutes. Our call was made anonymously, and no names were given to the police.
‘They called back to thank us for reporting, and to let us know that nobody was harmed.
‘Once clear that no one was harmed, I contacted The Guardian, as I felt it was of important public interest. I, along with a lot of my neighbours across London, voted to remain within the EU. That is the extent of my involvement in politics.’
What the neighbours heard: How the blazing plate-smashing row between Boris and his younger girlfriend unfolded
The neighbour who recorded a late-night bust-up between Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds has revealed tonight he called police because he feared for the safety of the people inside the flat.
Tom Penn, who has lived at the flat in Camberwell, south London, for over a year, said he heard screaming, banging and then silence in the early hours of Friday morning, which caused him to call the police.
Mr Penn, who said he voted remain in the EU Referendum in 2016, declared he went public with the recording because he believes a future prime minister should be held to account over his actions.
At a hustings event in Birmingham today, Mr Johnson, 55, flatly refused to answer questions about the explosive row with 31-year-old Miss Symonds – who did not attend the event.
Mr Penn released a statement tonight where he said he called police after hearing shouting from Miss Symonds’ flat.
He had been on the phone to a takeaway delivery driver at the time as he went downstairs to collect the food.
News of the row at Ms Symonds’ flat emerged last night, after a neighbour handed a recording of the altercation to the Guardian newspaper. In the recording Mr Johnson can be heard shouting ‘get off my f***ing laptop’ before a loud crashing noise is heard.
The couple were recorded by neighbours having a ‘plate-smashing, screaming row’ during which Miss Symonds demanded he leave. Police were called, but no formal action was taken.
It followed reports Miss Symonds screamed ‘get off me’ and ‘get out of my flat’ during a terrifying bust-up with Mr Johnson in the early hours of Friday morning at her flat in Camberwell, south London.
Tom Penn, 29, who has lived at the flat in Camberwell, south London (pictured, Mr Johnson leaving the flat yesterday morning), for over a year, said he wanted to explain his reasons for recording the argument and calling the police
Next-door neighbour, 32-year-old nursery worker Fatimah, was among those who heard the loud dispute. She said: ‘There was a lot of shouting, a lady was screaming and I could hear glasses or plates being thrown quite a few times.
‘The man was shouting back. I could hear it through my walls. I was watching TV and muted it because I was so worried. It lasted for about ten minutes. I have never heard anything like that before.
‘You could hear glass being smashed and other things. It was obvious the lady was angry, she was screaming hysterically. My walls were shaking from all the noise and things that were being thrown around.’
And Earl McDermott, who lives nearby, told MailOnline: ‘It was a proper tear up. Glasses being smashed, screaming and a lot of arguing. I was walking past Johnson’s house and you could hear it coming from the top floor. I thought someone was being murdered.’
The Tory leadership hopeful and possible future prime minister shares the home with his partner Carrie Symonds (pictured at his leadership launch earlier this month)
In the recording of their argument, Miss Symonds, who Mr Johnson is said to be hoping to marry after he left his second wife, was heard complaining that he had spilled red wine on her sofa. She then said: ‘You just don’t care for anything because you’re spoilt. You have no care for money or anything.’
The neighbour who took the recording, told the Guardian: ‘There was a smashing sound of what sounded like plates. There was a couple of very loud screams that I’m certain were Carrie and she was shouting to ”get out” a lot.
‘She was saying, ”get out of my flat” and he was saying no. And then there was silence after the screaming. My partner, who was in bed half asleep, had heard a loud bang and the house shook.
Boris Johnson gave a thumbs up during a visit to Nash’s Bakery in Bicester, Oxfordshire, after police were called to the home of his girlfriend Carrie Symonds in Camberwell, south London on Friday night
‘I [was] hoping that someone would answer the door and say ”We’re okay”. I knocked three times and no one came to the door.’ That neighbour called the police.
Nursery worker Fatimah, who described ‘glass being smashed’ in the property, said: ‘I have a four year old son and I was worried the noise would wake him up.
‘He had a much calmer voice and he was just telling her to calm down, but she was still chucking things about.’
Johnson visited the bakery today on the the first weekend of phase two of the Conservative Party leadership campaign
She added: ‘I didn’t call the police because the police arrived like a few minutes after. I saw a police van and a police car turn up. I knew they would probably deal with the situation.
‘It went on for just over ten minutes. His voice was quite quiet but her voice was more loud. I couldn’t make out what she was saying because she was just very, very angry.’
She said she was unsure who called police.
Her husband, Imran, 33, said his wife had been frightened by the commotion.
Next-door neighbour, 32-year-old nursery worker Fatimah, was among those who heard the loud dispute. Her husband Imran (pictured today), 33, said his wife had been frightened by the commotion. He said: ‘She heard lots of shouting and screaming and something being smashed and broken’
Speaking outside the home this morning, he said: ‘I wasn’t at home, but my missus heard stuff.
‘She said she heard lots of shouting and screaming and some things being smashed or broken.’
Asked how he felt about the incident, he said: ‘It’s no big deal for me – we’re all human’.
One neighbour told the Telegraph: ‘I heard the row, it was pretty loud. I was quite worried to be honest, it was bad.
‘I heard a lot of smashing – it sounded like plates or glasses – and I could hear her shouting. It was definitely her, I didn’t hear him. There was a lot of shouting and swearing. It didn’t last that long, maybe five minutes. It was unusual because it’s very quiet around here. We don’t usually here things like this.’
Two police cars and a van arrived within minutes, shortly after midnight, but left after receiving reassurances from both the individuals in the flat that they were ‘safe and well’.
Neighbours told the Times they had not even realised that Mr Johnson had been living in the apartment until earlier this week.
One said: ‘Boris has been visiting for six to nine months. I think he lives there now because of the frequency we see him. He leaves the house about 8am and he gets picked up by his minders.’
Mr Johnson was caught out as the words used by Ms Symonds – ‘get off me’ and ‘get out of my flat’ – were picked up on a neighbour’s phone.
In a statement, Scotland Yard confirmed they were called to Miss Symonds’s flat at 24 minutes past midnight. It went on: ‘The caller was concerned for the welfare of a female neighbour. Police attended and spoke to all occupants of the address, who were all safe and well.
‘There were no offences or concerns apparent to the officers and there was no cause for police action.’