I submitted this letter to the Conservative cheerleading Daily Mail. Unsurprisingly they declined to publish it, but as today Boris Johnson launches his Conservative leadership ( and concomitantly Prime ministership) campaign, this matter needs a public airing.
I was very interested in your Comment on Tuesday (Daily Mail, 11 June 2019) call to Boris Johnson to come out of his bunker.
What reason could the lead candidate to be our next Prime Minister have to hide away from the media, especially as he was once a journalist himself?
One reason might be some of the nefarious activities in which Mr Johnson indulged when he was a reporter, which some might regard as far worse than taking Class A illegal drugs.
The most notorious occurred in 1990, when Mr Johnson was Brussels correspondent for the Daily Telegraph.
The tale involved Johnson’s old Eton School friend, Darius Guppy, who became worried that a News of the World reporter, Stuart Collier, was sniffing around about his past his dubious activities, and might be about to expose them.
Guppy wanted Collier to be frightened off by an attack on him, but he did not know where Collier lived
He asked Johnson to help him find it, and his phone conversation was secretly recorded by Peter Risdon, a business associate of Guppy, who distrusted him.
In the call, Guppy tells Johnson one of the London heavies who was lined up to beat up Collier was becoming impatient.
Shortly after, Johnson revealed that his anxiety that the man from the News of the World could discover that he was involved, saying:
"He is extremely dangerous, extremely dangerous. If you f--k up in any way, I mean frankly if he suspects that I am involved in this ... forget about me. Honestly, Darius, you have really got to think whether it's worth your while."
Mr Johnson blurted out he had approached 4 individuals to try to get Mr Collier's details, only two of whom he could fully trust. "If it got widely known that he'd been beaten up, it would inevitably get back to the contact I've used."
Johnson anxiously asks Guppy: "How badly are you going to hurt this guy?"
Guppy answers: "Not badly at all."
Johnson then asks "If this guy is seriously hurt, I am going to be f--king furious." Guppy: "I guarantee you he will not be seriously hurt."
Johnson worriedly asks: "How badly hurt will he be?"
Guppy responds: "He will not have a broken limb or a broken arm and he will not, er, he will not be put into intensive care or anything like that. He will probably get a couple of black eyes and a, and a cracked rib or something like that."
Mr Johnson: "A cracked rib."
Guppy: "Nothing which you didn't suffer in rugby okay but he will get scared and that is what I want him to do, I want him to get scared..."
The full transcript can still be read on line at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/darius-boris-and-a-blast-from-the-past-1658043.html
Fellow journalists should ask Mr Johnson to defend this action when he does surface.
Is someone prepared to facilitate GBH on an innocent reporter suitable to lead the Conservative Party and be our next Prime Minister?