Boris Johnson given two-week deadline to explain relationship with ex-model awarded public money

London Assembly requests full details of personal, social and professional ties to Jennifer Arcuri

Peter Stubley
Tuesday 24 September 2019 18:50
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'Everything was done with complete propriety' Boris dodges questions over Jennifer Arcuri reports

Boris Johnson has been given two weeks to explain his links to an American model turned technology entrepreneur who was awarded £126,000 in public funds.

The London Assembly wrote to the prime minister asking him to give details of his “personal, social and professional” contact with Jennifer Arcuri while he was mayor.

It also requested an explanation of how he disclosed his close relationship with Ms Arcuri during his dealings with City Hall.

Mr Johnson has denied he misused public funds, insisting “everything was done entirely in the proper way”.

However he may now have to appear before the London Assembly’s oversight committee to give full details of his ties to Ms Arcuri.

Committee chairman Len Duvall wrote to Mr Johnson on Monday to register his concern over allegations that “you failed to declare a potential conflict of interest in relation to the awarding of public funds to Jennifer Arcuri”.

He added: “Accordingly, I now write to ask that you provide, within 14 days of receipt of this letter, details and a timeline of all contact with Jennifer Arcuri during your period of office as mayor of London, including personal, social and professional, and an explanation of how that alleged personal relationship was disclosed and taken into account in any and all dealings with the GLA [Greater London Authority] and other parts of the GLA family.”

Labour has already demanded an investigation by Whitehall’s most senior civil servant, after it was claimed that Ms Arcuri was also handed a privileged place on overseas trade trips.

According to an investigation by The Sunday Times, Ms Arcuri’s business received £10,000 in sponsorship from an organisation Mr Johnson was responsible for as London mayor in 2013.

The former model was also allegedly allowed to join three of the then-mayor’s overseas trade missions, despite her tech firm not meeting the eligibility criteria.

Mr Johnson was at the time bound by the Greater London Authority’s code of conduct “to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest”. He was also barred from giving undue benefits to friends.

The prime minister refused to confirm whether or not he had had a sexual relationship with Ms Arcuri after it was reported that she was a regular visitor to her flat in Shoreditch, east London.

However he insisted there had been no wrongdoing, telling the BBC: “All I can say is I’m very proud of what we did when I was mayor of London, very proud of everything that we did, particularly banging the drum for our city and country around the world.”

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