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BBC Radio 5 Live/ STRINGER/ EPA

As it stands, Boris Johnson is considered to be the favourite to become the next leader of the Tory party and therefore the UK's next prime minister.

However, there are still a lot of issues and questions about Johnson's activities outside of parliament that are still yet to be answered.

That being said, he still has an overwhelming amount of support from his Tory colleagues and, judging by last week's results in the first round of votes, he is likely to run away with this contest.

But, much like Johnson, even his supporters in his party can't fully answer questions about Johnson's life, which was evident when Johnny Mercer spoke to BBC 5 Live's Emma Barnett on Monday.

Barnett quizzed Mercer, the MP for Plymouth Moor View, on two contentious issues from Johnson's personal life.

The first relates to his career as a journalist where he reportedly conspired with a friend, who was being investigated by a News of the World reporter, to have that journalist 'beaten up'.

Mercer dismissed this as 'private business' from '30 years ago'.

Another issue surrounding Johnson at the moment are allegations about how many children the former mayor of London has fathered, which is officially four.

However, in 2013, following a court case where a judge had found it was in the public interest for people to know how many children Johnson was responsible for, it was reported that he had fathered two more children outside of his marriage.

Barnett told Mercer:

There was a court case in 2013, where a woman lost a privacy case by a judge who said it was in the public interest when he was running to be mayor, and he was in office, that it was in the public knowledge to know that he had an extramarital affair with a woman who later gave birth gave birth to a daughter while he was married.

That was a ruling by a judge. It then came out in that court case that it was alleged that he had another child outside of wedlock. So it’s between five and six children, our future prime minister has, and would you not say it is fair and right to be able to get a straight answer to how many children our next prime minister has?

Mercer once again dismissed this as being an issue about Johnson's private life.

I think that the way people will look at this is that an individual’s private life is their concern.

And what they are looking for, at the moment is leadership for this nation, out of a very clear and very difficult position.

Barnett pulled him up on this answer and asked why he believes Johnson doesn't have to be transparent about issues of this nature.

It was argued by a newspaper in that same court case that it went to the issue of recklessness, and whether on that account, he was fit for public office, we still don’t know from Boris Johnson himself, whether he has five children or six children. I don’t really care if I’m honest between the two.

What I care about is that we don’t know, and why we don’t know. You are saying these are important moments for leadership. Why can’t he be more transparent about how many children he has?

Mercer answered by saying that Johnson is within his right not to discuss his private life.

Discussing our personal lives and our private lives is a decision that public figures like me make.

I have chosen to discuss mine, Boris has not chosen to discuss his own. He’s well within his rights to do that.

Since the interview aired, Barnett has put out a series of tweets about the subject, including a reply to Guy Opperman, the Tory MP for Hexham, who criticised her for her line of questioning.

Twitter users have since complimented Barnett on her interview with Mercer and highlighting why it is important for the public to know about issues of this nature.

Just last week, Barnett also quizzed another Johnson supporter, Rishi Sunak, on the former foreign secretary's lack of media appearances during the contest.

HT iNews

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