I have spent the weekend arguing with people on social media about Boris Johnson’s ear-wigging neighbours and the reaction of his opponents – including Nicola Sturgeon – has been staggering.
I have made it crystal clear, over and over again, that I don’t think the neighbours did anything wrong right up until the point they contacted a Left-wing newspaper. If they sincerely believed that Carrie Symonds was in danger – and I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, even though Carrie herself is not – then calling the police was the responsible thing to do.
According to the Office for National Statistics, an estimated two million adults in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in the last year (1.3 million women and 685,000 men). No one is suggesting we should turn a blind eye to that.
I even think it was acceptable for the neighbours to have recorded the episode on a mobile phone if they sincerely believed a crime was being committed – although a sound expert I’ve spoken to thinks it highly unlikely they could have made a phone recording of a high enough quality for a newspaper to make out everything Boris and Carrie were saying.
But the neighbours crossed the line when they contacted the Guardian, told a reporter what they’d heard and then sent him the recording. What possible justification is there for such a flagrant invasion of privacy? Had the police arrested Boris or Carrie, that would have been one thing. (To read more, click here.)