Fiona Bruce blasted after calling Stanley Johnson's domestic abuse 'one off'

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Fiona Bruce has sparked backlash after calling Stanley Johnson’s domestic abuse, in which he broke his wife’s nose and left her hospitalised, a ‘one-off’.

Boris Johnson’s father is alleged to have broke his mother Charlotte’s nose in a biography, The Gambler.

In it, it is alleged that the PM’s parents had a ‘violent and unhappy’ relationship before they divorced in 1979.

Charlotte is quoted as saying of Stanley: ‘He broke my nose. He made me feel like I deserved it.’

At the time of the book’s release, Stanley is said to ‘deeply regret’ the alleged incident, declined to comment when approached and said he had not read the book.

Referring to the incident on BBC Question Time, journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown points out: ‘I’m not blaming Boris Johnson or Stanley Johnson, he was a wife-beater Stanley Johnson, on record.’

Fiona intervenes to say: ‘I’m not disputing what you’re saying, but just so everyone knows what this is referring to.

‘Stanley Johnson’s wife spoke to a journalist Tom Bower, and she said that Stanley Johnson had broken her nose and she had ended up in hospital as a result, Stanley Johnson has not commented publicly on that.

‘Friends of his have said it did happen, it was a one-off.’

Yasmin continues: ‘Yes but it did happen. Anyway, what I think is it’s not Stanley Johnson or Boris Johnson that bothers me.

‘They are who they are and they do what they do. They think this kingdom is their fiefdom.

‘But it’s the system, we need to look at the system where these nominations happen. Why should any Prime Minister good or bad be allowed to do this?

‘Can’t we have a better, fairer system, so his dad could get it too?’

The clip has sparked outrage on social media, with one person writing: ‘In the week of ‘International Women’s Day’ Fiona Bruce states Stanley Johnson broke his wife’s nose ‘but it was only a once off’ staggering!!!’

Another penned: ‘“One off” domestic violence is still domestic violence. It should never be reduced to anything less just because it was ONCE! Once is ENOUGH!!!!!!’

Someone else wrote: ‘I’m complaining to the BBC about the way Fiona Bruce has downplayed a serious assault by a man against a woman’.

‘I’m not one to rant on about BBC apologies but one really is needed here. Fiona Bruce downplays domestic violence and, in so doing, misrepresents personal accounts to the contrary. Shameful for any person to do so, and especially a woman. Apology needed,’ another viewer commented.

The panel were involved in a discussion surrounding reports that Boris has nominated his father for a knighthood as part of his resignation honours list.

Former MEP Stanley is said to be one of 100 people proposed by the former prime minister for Cabinet Office vetting.

Any honour for the 82-year-old would likely lead to questions about Boris using the system to award family members, which comes after the ex-Conservative leader faced accusations of cronyism in 2020 after nominating his brother Jo Johnson for a peerage. He is now Lord Johnson of Marylebone.

In 2021, two women accused Stanley of touching them at Conservative party conferences.

Senior Tory MP Caroline Nokes claimed he had forcefully smacked her on the backside and made a vulgar comment at the Conservative Party conference in 2003.

Political correspondent Ailbhe Rea said he had groped her at the 2019 Conservative conference.

Stanley said after that he had ‘no recollection’ of either incident.

Question Time airs Thursdays at 10.40pm on BBC One.

Domestic abuse helpline

If you are in immediate danger call 999. If you cannot talk, dial 55 and the operator will respond.

For emotional support, you can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. Alternatively, for practical and emotional support, please contact Women’s Aid Live Chat 10am – 6pm seven days a week.

You can also reach the National Centre for Domestic Violence on 0800 270 9070 or text NCDV to 60777.

For free and confidential advice and support for women in London affected by abuse, you can call Solace on 0808 802 5565 or email [email protected]

Male victims of domestic abuse can call 01823 334244 to speak to ManKind, an initiative available for male victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence across the UK as well as their friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues and employers.

Alternatively, the Men’s Advice Line can be reached at 0808 8010327, or emailed at [email protected]

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