Boris Johnson’s backers have rallied to support him after police were called to an incident at the home he shares with his girlfriend.
Nadine Dorries said Mr Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds had suffered harassment and were under stress, but were “together, stronger united”.
She said she had spoken to both of them, adding: “I am totally stunned at the level of harassment they have had to endure.
“Hate mail, left-wing protests outside their flat, eavesdroppers.
“The stress is immense, more than most could endure. They are together, strong and united.”
Priti Patel told Sky News the matter was “done and dusted” and claimed any focus on it was because people had lost sight of the big challenges facing the country.
Jacob Rees-Mogg also defended the leadership candidate against “Corbynista curtain-twitchers”.
He told LBC: “I think it’s absolutely dreadful. I think the idea that snooping neighbours are recording what is going on for political advantage and then Class War protesters are coming to politicians’ front doors – which happened to me as well – is not a good place for politics to be.”
The support came as photographs – apparently taken over the weekend – showed the couple sitting in the countryside and holding hands.
There has been some speculation that the images were staged by Mr Johnson’s campaign.
The pair have apparently not been able to return to their flat in south London after protesters sat outside with signs reading: “Camberwell welcome migrants, not Johnson.”
At a hustings over the weekend, Mr Johnson refused to answer questions about the row – saying people did not want to hear about it.
But other MPs, including International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, have said Mr Johnson should provide an explanation for the argument to stop it becoming a distraction.
Mr Johnson has avoided another opportunity to be questioned on his plans for Brexit and the incident after Sky News postponed a planned leadership debate until July 1.
The frontrunner has not responded to Sky’s invitation to join the head-to-head debate in front of a live audience of Conservative voters, but his opponent Jeremy Hunt had been keen to go ahead with them.
Mr Hunt called Mr Johnson a “coward” saying the only way a winner could enter Number 10 with their head held high was by undergoing proper scrutiny before the party members get their postal votes.
Tom Penn, the neighbour who recorded the row with his partner and leaked it to The Guardian after calling the police, has been accused of being politically motivated.
He has defended his decision, saying: “Once it was clear that no one was harmed, I contacted The Guardian, as I felt it was of important public interest.
“I believe it is reasonable for someone who is likely to become our next prime minister to be held accountable for all of their words, actions and behaviours.
“I, along with a lot of my neighbours all across London, voted to remain within the EU. That is the extent of my involvement in politics.”
In a statement on the incident, Scotland Yard said: “There were no offences or concerns apparent to the officers and there was no cause for police action.”