Boris Johnson has blamed London mayor Sadiq Khan for fuelling allegations about his relationship with businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri.
The Prime Minister is facing claims that he offered Arcuri favourable treatment while he was mayor of London, allowing her to accompany him on high-profile trade missions and receive £126,000 in public money – privileges she allegedly would not have been eligible for otherwise.
Johnson has denied any allegations of impropriety.
Speaking to LBC this morning, Johnson said: “A lot of this is being generated by the current mayor of London, who certainly puts more money into his own PR than he does in projects for the benefits of Londoners.”
A spokesperson for Khan dismissed Johnson’s claim as “complete nonsense”.
The Prime Minister also rejected suggestions that the Tory party conference in Manchester had been overshadowed by allegations that he had touched the inner thigh of journalist Charlotte Edwardes at an event in the 1990s.
Johnson suggested the personal allegations against him were politically motivated by opponents of Brexit.
“This is a very difficult time,” he said. “Quite a lot of people don’t want Brexit to be done, and rightly or wrongly that they conceive of me as the person who’s going to deliver Brexit, and it’s inevitable that I will come under a certain amount of shot and shell.”
He said the allegations by Edwardes were “not true” and that it was “very sad for someone to make those allegations”.
Edwardes has responded to Johnson previously saying he did not remember the event by remarking: “If the Prime Minister doesn’t recollect the incident then clearly I have a better memory than he does.”