(Bloomberg) — Jennifer Arcuri, the American entrepreneur caught up in a controversy involving U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, repeatedly refused to say if she’d had an intimate relationship with him.
In a television interview, she restated the position she first set out in a Bloomberg interview last week that she would not comment on the allegations because it would allow the media to “weaponize” her answer.
“I’m not answering,” Arcuri told ITV’s Good Morning Britain, after presenter Piers Morgan asked her repeatedly whether she’d had an “intimate” relationship with Johnson during his time as London Mayor.
Arcuri Vows Not to Bring Down Boris Johnson in Tabloid Furor
Speculation over an affair has dogged Johnson’s premiership for the past two weeks. The Sunday Times newspaper reported last month that he had overruled officials to get the tech entrepreneur onto trade missions, and that her company received government sponsorship grants. The paper also cited four of her friends as saying she’d had a sexual relationship with Johnson.
He has repeatedly declined to comment on the nature of their relationship but has insisted there was no impropriety.
The main opposition Labour Labour Party’s finance spokesman, John McDonnell, said Johnson had a duty when he was London Mayor to declare his friendship with Arcuri.
“Regardless of the exact nature of his relationship with Arcuri, it is clear that she and Boris Johnson were close, and that he misled the public when he said “there was no interest to declare,” McDonnell said in a statement. “This morning has thrown up even more questions for Boris Johnson, which can only be answered with a full investigation into the apparent misuse of public funds.”
Code of Conduct
The Greater London Authority’s code of conduct states: “Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.”
In her ITV interview on Monday, Arcuri “categorically” denied that Johnson had ever helped secure grants for her. She said they were on friendly terms and that he came to visit her in her apartment about five times. “I care about him deeply as a friend,” she said.
Arcuri had a pole at the property and once joked to Johnson that he should try out dancing with it. Apparently, he declined. “He sat down with his tea and started muttering,” she said.
–With assistance from Alex Morales.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Ross in London at [email protected]
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson at [email protected], Thomas Penny, Andrew Atkinson
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©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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