The frontrunner was being challenged over whether his comments played a role in the resignation of Sir Kim Darroch, the UK’s ambassador to the US. During a Conservative leadership debate on ITV Mr Johnson refused to say Sir Kim would definitely remain in post if he became Prime Minister. At the Cheltenham hustings Mr Johnson was asked by host Iain Dale whether he regretted his response.
He replied: “Well I think it would have been better if the whole subject had never come up”.
An audience member then shouted “answer the bloody question” to Mr Johnson sparking applause from the crowd.
The Conservative frontrunner jokingly responded “that’s the first heckle we’ve had in the hustings isn’t it?”
The heckler was later revealed to be a 74-year-old man from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, though he declined to give his name.
After the hustings he commented: “Why not answer the question that he is asked?
“He was asked did he regret what he did or didn’t say about the ambassador. He just said ‘I thought it was terrible that this stuff was leaked’.
“He needs to learn that he can safely say ‘I got that wrong, I’m sorry, I will do it better’.”
Sir Kim announced his resignation as ambassador to the US shortly after the ITV debate commenting “the current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role”.
He will remain in place until a new ambassador is appointed.
Mr Johnson is battling with foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt for the Conservative leadership.
Both men claim they are best placed to ensure the UK leaves the EU on October 31 as planned.
However there may not be support in Parliament for Brexit taking place on this date without a formal exit deal.
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