Boris Johnson has refused four times to say where a picture of him hand in hand with partner Carrie Symonds came from,
And he refused a further three times to say when it was taken, blustering: “No – why should I?”
But he admitted to LBC’s Nick Ferrari that “of course” he knew “there was a picture like that in existence.”
But he refused a further five times to say whether he knew the photo had been released.
The Johnson camp has been accused of ‘staging’ the picture to distract from questions over reports of the couple’s blazing row over the weekend.
Mr Johnson was also branded a hypocrite after complaining about having his privacy invaded while allegedly trying to boost his image with the seemingly blissful pictures.
Confronting Johnson with the front page of today’s Daily Mirror, Mr Ferrari said: “Are you happy with it in the majority of the front pages?”
Johnson claimed he had not seen the front pages, because he had given “several speeches this morning…or at least one speech this morning.”
Asked if he knew the picture was being put out there, he said: “There are all sorts of pictures of me out on the internet, which pop up from time to time.”
Asked if he knew the picture was out there, he said: “Of course I knew there was a picture like that in existence.”
Mr Ferrari then changed tack, asking when it was taken – and suggesting it had been snapped before Johnson had had his hair cut into its current form by “the Turkish chap.”
Johnson replied: “Well no, you’re wrong about that, because I no longer have my hair cut by the Turkish chap. I have my hair cut by a very nice person called Kelly or possibly Tamara.”
Asked when he last had his hair cut, he replied: “You’d have to ask Kelly or Tamara. It was quite recently, actually.”
Here’s the excruciating exchange in full
NICK FERRARI: [If you’re concerned for your privacy,] why the picture today?
BORIS JOHNSON: Newspapers will print whatever they’re going to print
NF: Where it come from?
BJ: What I want to do is talk –
NF: Boris Johnson, where did the picture come from?
BJ: The longer we spend on issues –
NF: We’ll come to that, don’t worry. We’ve got 20 minutes to do this. Where did the picture come from?
BJ: The longer we spend on things extraneous –
NF: Did you know of its publication?
BJ: The longer we spend on things extraneous to what I want to do –
NF: Is it actually you, or is it Ed Sheeran?
BJ: [Laughs] The bigger the waste of time –
NF: Where has the picture come from?
BJ: Look, I’m not going to ask the –
NF: Are you happy with it on the majority of the front pages?
BJ: Actually as I’ve been saying… I haven’t seen the majority of the front pages
NF: Well I’m showing it to you now. Are you happy with that?
BJ: I think the longer we spend – I can’t determine what the newspapers decide to –
NF: But you knew the picture was being put out there?
BJ: I can’t determine what the newspapers –
NF: Did you know the picture was being put out there, Mr Johnson?
BJ: There are all sorts of pictures of me out on the internet, which, er, pop up from time to time –
NF: Did you know this picture was being put out?
BJ: I am aware of alls sorts of pictures of me out on the internet. And it is entirely up to newspapers to decide what they want to print. But the longer we spend on this –
NF: Did you know this picture was out there?
BJ: Of course I knew that there was a picture like that in existence, whether it was the decision of the, er –
NF: When was it taken?
BJ: I don’t want to go into…
NF: So that’s a state secret, when the picture was taken? When was it taken?
BJ: It’s not a state secret. It just happens to be something I don’t want to get into.
NF: You won’t even tell me when the picture was taken?
BJ: No! Why should I?
NF: Because it’s not recent, is it? Your hair in this photograph is not your hair currently, is it?
BJ: If I may say so this conversation is now descending into farce…
NF: This is quite an old picture isn’t it?
BJ: I’m not going to comment on –
NF: It’s before the haircut you had from the Turkish chap
BJ: No you’re wrong about that, I no longer have my hair cut by the Turkish chap, I have my hair cut by a very nice person called Kelly or possibly Tamara
NF: When did you last have your hair cut?
BJ: You’d have to ask Kelly or Tamara, it was quite recently actually. Anyway… this is beyond satire… I am not going to comment on the antiquity of provenance of some photo that the newspapers decide to put on their front pages. This is about a far more important agenda.