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Boris Johnson refuses to comment after reports surface that police were called to home

Boris Johnson dodges questions on character

Britain's Conservative leader Boris Johnson refused to comment Saturday after reports surfaced that police had been called to the home he shares with his girlfriend. The Guardian reported on Friday that police were called after an altercation involving Johnson, the favorite of Tory lawmakers to replace Prime Minister Theresa May.

The Guardian newspaper reported neighbors reported hearing screaming, shouting and banging inside the home. The responding officers found all the occupants "safe and well" and no legal offenses were committed, police said. 

At the first of 16 "husting" events between Johnson and foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, the other finalist to become prime minister, Johnson was asked several times about the incident by moderator Iain Dale, an LBC radio presenter.

After being accused by Dale of ducking the question, Johnson did not respond directly, instead saying: "People are entitled to ask me what I want to do for the country," BBC News reports.

Dale responded "if the police are called to your home, it makes it everyone's business. You are running for the office of not just Conservative Party leader, but prime minister, so a lot of people who admire your politics do call into question your character, and it is incumbent on you to answer that question."

Johnson conceded it was a "fair point," but despite being pressed further, only said it was "pretty obvious from the foregoing" that he was not going to comment.

Johnson opened his address with a focus on delivering Britain's stalled exit from the European Union, Johnson told the audience "We need to get Brexit done" and be prepared to leave the EU without a withdrawal deal in place. 

"I am here to tell you that in all confidence we can turn this thing around," he said. "I am utterly convinced that with the right energy and the right commitment, common sense will prevail. But just in case it does not, we must prepare to come out anyway."

Johnson has won backing from the Conservative Party's die-hard Brexiteers by insisting the U.K. must leave the bloc on the rescheduled date of Oct. 31, with or without a divorce agreement with the EU to smooth the way.

Both Johnson and Hunt said they would succeed in seeing Britain out of the EU, a challenge that defeated May. She quit as Conservative leader earlier this month after repeatedly failing to win Parliament's backing for her Brexit deal and will leave 10 Downing Street when her successor is selected.

Hunt pitched himself as the better negotiator, warning that "catastrophe awaits," if the wrong leader is sent to Brussels for talks with EU leaders.

"If we send the wrong person, there's going to be no negotiation, no trust, no deal, and if Parliament stops that, maybe no Brexit," he said. "Send the right person, and there's a deal to be done."

For the party conference in Birmingham, both contenders were given time to make a short speech before answering questions from the host and audience members.

The Saturday "hustings" was the first of more than a dozen such party meetings set to take place across Britain in coming days. 

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