Boris Johnson faces calls to explain himself over his relationship with businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri after her bombshell revelation that they had a four-year affair.
The PM was Mayor of London when the relationship happened between 2012 and 2016, and in that time Ms Arcuri was allowed on three taxpayer-funded trade missions he led.
Her revelations are hugely significant, raising questions over public cash and whether Boris breached a code of conduct.
Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Mirror, Ms Arcuri said she didn’t fully understand the rules around the trips and she now believes Boris should have declared the friendship. She adds: “I would have seen no reason why he shouldn’t declare me.”
Now calls have been mounted for him to be summoned to answer questions about his time as mayor.
The Greater London Authority probe will examine whether he breached the Nolan Principles of Public Life.
It will examine whether he behaved with “honesty and integrity”, whether Jennifer was given “preferential treatment” and if there was any conflict of interest which should have been declared.
Boris spoke at a series of technology events organised by Jennifer, who went on to receive £126,000 of taxpayer money in event sponsorships and grants.
The bulk, £100,000, came in a government grant in 2019.
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Boris Johnson faces an inquiry by the Greater London Authority – responsible for the mayor’s office – over claims his failure to declare his relationship with Arcuri may have been a breach of the Nolan Principles of Public Life, which are contained in the Mayor of London’s code of conduct.
Arcuri was granted access to events at three top level trade missions, despite her businesses not meeting the criteria for the trips.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct said there was no evidence he’d committed the criminal offence of misconduct in public office but he may have breached the Nolan Principles.
Len Duvall, the chair of the GLA oversight committee which is conducting the investigation said: “Our investigation will consider whether Boris Johnson conducted himself in a way that’s expected from anyone in that position.
“It’s important we get those answers, because Londoners deserve to have their politicians held accountable.”
Jennifer maintains she was invited on trade trips in her own right as a member of the London tech-scene “ecosystem”.
Caroline Pidgeon AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member and GLA Oversight committee member, told The Mirror: “We should not forget that the extensive IOPC’s investigation concluded that Johnson should have declared an interest, and that this failure could have amounted to a breach of the code of conduct while he was Mayor of London.
“The intimate relations of politicians are a personal matter, but favouring people in awarding contracts and public money because of a personal relationship is a totally different matter.
“The case for Boris Johnson being summoned and having to answer vital questions over whether he was putting personal interests before the interests of Londoners has suddenly become stronger.”
Meanwhile Labour‘s Shadow Cabinet Office minister Fleur Anderson said: “This week, Labour challenged the Conservatives on when they were going to publish the delayed Register of Ministers’ Interests – a breach of the Ministerial Code – but got little reassurance that they are taking that delay seriously.
“The Prime Minister’s form is particularly poor on this, as these new revelations underline.
“Given the catalogue of cronyism surrounding the Tories, they should be ramping up transparency and accountability urgently.”
No 10 declined to comment.
- Read Jennifer Arcuri’s full story in the Sunday Mirror, in shops today.