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23 Sep, 2019 16:12

Bojo fails six times to answer questions about his 'close friend' getting taxpayer money while London mayor

Bojo fails six times to answer questions about his 'close friend' getting taxpayer money while London mayor

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to respond to allegations that a ‘close friend’ of his was given public cash and access to overseas trade missions during his time as Mayor of London.

During Johnson’s flight to New York on Sunday night, where the prime minister is set to attend the UN Climate Action Summit, he failed six times to answer questions from reporters in relation to potential conflicts of interest concerning American businesswoman, Jennifer Arcuri. Johnson also refused to deny he had a relationship with the model-turned-tech entrepreneur.

Furthermore, the former London mayor, who took charge of the UK’s capital city between 2008 and 2016, would not confirm whether he supported a full inquiry into the claims, despite an allegation of misuse of public funds.

City Hall, which is the London mayor’s office, and the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) are both examining allegations made by The Sunday Times. The paper claims that Johnson overruled officials to take Arcuri on a series of trade missions around the world.

Arcuri gained access to three business trips Johnson led in 2014 and 2015 as Mayor of London, according to the report. The paper also alleges that the 34 year-old American was, separately, given £126,000 in public funds in the form of three separate deals.

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It’s reported that in 2013 Arcuri’s new business received £10,000 in sponsorship money from a firm Johnson was responsible for as mayor.

In a statement to the Sunday Times, Arcuri did not deal with the issue of her relationship with the current UK PM, but ostensibly rejected claims of wrongdoing.

Arcuri insisted that “Any grants received by my companies and any trade mission I joined were purely in respect of my role as a legitimate businesswoman.”

The honesty clause in the Greater London Authority's code of conduct, which covers the behavior of politicians in City Hall, outlines that Johnson had a responsibility to declare private interests relating to public duties. The former Tory London mayor was also banned from giving any undue benefits to friends.

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