Police watchdog to assess whether Boris Johnson should face criminal probe over links with businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri

Boris Johnson has been referred to the police complaints body for England and Wales to assess whether he should face a criminal investigation over his links with businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri.

The Greater London Authority (GLA) said its monitoring officer had recorded a "conduct matter" against Mr Johnson over allegations Ms Arcuri received sponsorship monies and access to trade missions because of her friendship with him while he was Mayor of London.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) will now consider whether there are grounds to investigate the Prime Minister for the criminal offence of misconduct in public office.

Mr Johnson has denied any wrongdoing in relation to his friendship with Ms Arcuri.

A Downing Street source has also poured cold water on the allegation.

They told ITV News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt: "This is a politically motivated attack."

The prime minister faces questions about public funding given to his close friend, Jennifer Arcuri. Credit: Innotech Network

The source added: "Due process has not been followed and the timing is overtly political.

"No evidence of any allegations has been provided by the monitoring officer nor was the PM given any opportunity to respond to the monitoring officer prior to the publishing of a press release late on a Friday night.

"The public and media will rightly see through such a nakedly political put-up job," the source said.

Earlier he said that he would comply with an order by the London Assembly to provide details of his links with Ms Arcuri, although he insisted they were "barking up the wrong tree".

In a statement, the GLA said: "The 'conduct matter' has been recorded as allegations have been brought to the attention of the monitoring officer that Boris Johnson maintained a friendship with Jennifer Arcuri and as a result of that friendship allowed Ms Arcuri to participate in trade missions and receive sponsorship monies in circumstances when she and her companies could not have expected otherwise to receive those benefits.

"A 'conduct matter' exists where there is information that indicates that a criminal offence may have been committed. It does not mean that this is proved in any way.

"The IOPC will now consider if it is necessary for the matter to be investigated," it added.