Boris Johnson has claimed allegations that he gave favourable treatment to businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri during his time as London mayor are politically motivated.
“Everything was done with full propriety,” the Prime Minister told the BBC this morning about his treatment of Arcuri’s firm while he was mayor.
He added that many people in Westminster and elsewhere were trying to “frustrate” him in delivering Brexit.
When asked if he was saying he thought the attack was political, he said: “I think you’ve got to be realistic if you’re in my position. You’ve got to expect a lot of shot and shell.”
Fresh details have emerged this morning about Johnson’s alleged relationship with Arcuri, whose company is claimed to have received £11,500 from a mayoral organisation and gained places on three trade trips despite being ineligible for all of them while he was in charge.
The Sunday Times reports Arcuri confided to four friends that she had a sexual affair with Johnson while he was mayor.
David Enrich, now the finance editor of The New York Times, said he was told of an alleged sexual relationship between the two by the entrepreneur’s friends.
He told the Sunday Times: “Two friends from her business class said they had been told by Arcuri that she was sleeping with Boris. They told me that before and after that story ran.”
The scandal is now the subject of four official investigations, including one by the police watchdog, which threaten to drag the Prime Minister further into the damaging claims that he committed the criminal offence of misconduct in public office.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) will consider whether it is necessary to look into the allegations, the latest of which came as Johnson arrived in Manchester this morning for the Conservative party conference.
The IOPC is involved because the role of London mayor when Johnson was in charge was also to be London’s police and crime commissioner.
When pressed this morning if had declared his friendship with Arcuri, Johnson said: “There was no interest to declare.”
Johnson appeared to echo comments from a senior government source late last week that the referral was “overtly political” and “a politically motivated attack”, coming days before the Tory party conference.
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