UK PM Boris Johnson has said there was "no interest to declare" regarding his alleged relationship with US businesswoman and former model Jennifer Arcuri, who he met in 2012 and was recently reported to have assisted in her business ventures using public funds.
Fresh Intimate Details From 2013 Reported
American businesswoman and ex-model Jennifer Arcuri allegedly told four of her friends and a Tory activist that she was having an affair with Boris Johnson during his tenure as Mayor of London, according to the Sunday Times.
David Enrich, currently the finance director of The New York Times, says he was told in a bombshell interview of an alleged extramarital sexual relationship between the pair, by two of the tech entrepreneur's friends, while working for a different paper. Arcuri allegedly disclosed some intimate details of her relationship with the then Mayor to friends.
Enrich noted that some notes had been left from his conversations with the businesswoman and some of her close university friends; as he was writing an article on the subject, alleging, citing the notes, that Ms Arcuri said Johnson had warned her to avoid the press and publicity.
Claims to Be Busted, or?
The Sunday Times reported that Enrich's account of events corroborates that of other sources, who had supposedly also spoken to Arcuri. Another comment, from a Conservative Party activist, backs the reports; he alleges that Ms Arcuri told him during the 2015 general election campaign of her sexual relationship with the sitting prime minister:
"She told me they were sleeping together," said the grassroots campaigner, who also claimed that the ex-model would not likely deny the affair when pressed with questions on the subject.
Rumoured 'Breach of Public Trust'
The Prime Minister has been embroiled in a controversy after reports emerged that his mayoral office had helped Arcuri obtain £126,000 in grants and sponsorships from public funds to cover her business initiatives. It was likewise assumed she had been given exceptionally friendly treatment, as she joined the then-Mayor on his budget-sponsored trade missions abroad.
Johnson has since been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (*IOPC), so that the watchdog, which typically deals with complaints against police forces in England and Wales, will assess if there are sufficient grounds for launching a criminal probe into Johnson's dealings with Ms Arcuri.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says Prime Minister Boris Johnson, currently residing at Downing Street with former Tory Party worker and journalist Carrie Symonds, has no questions to answer over his ties with US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, thereby busting claims of Johnson's "breach of public trust."
Similarly, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers indicated that the allegations over Boris Johnson's links with the US businesswoman while he was London mayor have been "blown out of all proportion" and are politically motivated:
"The prime minister has been clear there is nothing to see here. I do feel this is a distraction and it is people seeking to use the complaints process in a highly political way," she shared with BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Saturday.
The PM earlier argued "everything was done entirely in the proper way" when it came to his professional links with the former model, although consistently dodging questions about his friendship or ties of some other nature with Ms Arcuri, who he is known to have met in 2012.
'Responsible for Leading the Country at a Difficult Time'
Father-of-four Johnson, who has had to shrug off multiple unproven adultery claims since 2004, arrived in Manchester for his major party conference, with his girlfriend on Saturday evening. Johnson will be rounding off a rough week in Westminster, where Parliament has resumed work on Brexit legislation after a forced delay was ruled unlawful, earlier this week.
Johnson continues to face questions about the Brexit dead-lock, days after Parliament got back to work. Asked in an interview with the BBC if he would resign so that he did not have to ask for a delay, stipulated by a newly adopted law he publicly denounced, Johnson said:
"No, I have undertaken to lead the party and my country at a difficult time, and I am going to continue to do that. I believe it is my responsibility to do that."
Laura McAllister, professor of public policy at Cardiff University, believes "based on the comments that came out of the EU yesterday following the meeting with the UK's negotiators and Barnier", that a "substantial or robust" withdrawal deal hasn't seen much progress:
"So I still find it hard to imagine that any kind of deal can be negotiated by a very short timeline, now, a matter of couple of weeks really of the 17th of October that would be that different from Theresa May's withdrawal agreement, " she remarked, outlining the possible scenarios the likelihood of which will be apparent in the coming days:
"The arithmetics simply wouldn't work in terms of getting that through Parliament and that creates all kinds of other knock-on issues regarding no deal, regarding votes of no confidence, which of course could come sooner if the SNP's comments this week are true, or equally a general election," Ms McAllister rounded off.
Mark Shanahan, head of the politics department at the University of Reading, opted for a more metaphoric way of putting it:
"The Johnson government is currently caught between several rocks and equally hard places, suspended above a flaming pit, " he said explaining the deadlock with the prime minister's rhetoric that "continually restates the 'do or die' drive to leave the EU at the end of October."
He insisted it's the Parliament, where there's no consensus on what way is the best to rescue the country from "the self-inflicted mess," adding Johnson is currently "playing on this."