Jennifer Arcuri refuses to say whether she had an affair with Boris Johnson
The US businesswoman at the centre of a storm over her links to Boris Johnson has refused to say whether they had an affair.
Jennifer Arcuri said she and Mr Johnson, who she saved on her phone as “Alex the Great”, bonded over their “mutual love of classic literature”.
The technology entrepreneur refused to answer when asked whether she had had a sexual relationship with Mr Johnson, but insisted that he “never ever gave me any favouritism”.
Ms Arcuri was speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain following a series of stories about her links to the Prime Minister during his tenure as London mayor.
The technology entrepreneur and former model was reportedly given £126,000 in public money and privileged access to three foreign trade missions led by Mr Johnson while he was in City Hall.
Asked about Ms Arcuri's interview, Mr Johnson said later on Monday morning: "I've said everything I'm going to say on that matter."
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Last month, the Prime Minister was referred to the police complaints body to assess whether he should face a criminal investigation over his association with her.
Mr Johnson was given a two-week deadline - ending tomorrow - to submit evidence to the London Assembly's Oversight Committee and ITV News understands a decision on whether to summons him could be made as early as Wednesday.
As Paul Brand says, if the PM "refuses to turn up, then under a change in the law in 2007 he would face up to 51 weeks in prison or an unlimited fine".
Ms Arcuri said that Mr Johnson had visited her flat a “handful” of times, adding that she did not have time for the media attention surrounding him when they met in public.
She added: “We tried having drinks out in public or having lunch, it just became too much of a mob show, so I said ‘you just have to come to my office’.”
Ms Arcuri said that her office was in her Shoreditch flat, which also featured a pole-dancing pole.
She said the Prime Minister had been there “five, ten, a handful of times” and described him as “a really good friend”, adding: “It’s really not anyone’s business what private life we had.”
Ms Arcuri refused to answer questions on whether she had an “intimate relationship” with Mr Johnson.
She said that Mr Johnson had not had anything to do with her other achievements.
She added: “Because the press have made me this objectified ex-model pole dancer, I am really not going to answer that question.
“I am not going to be putting myself in a position for you to weaponise my answer.
“Boris had nothing to do with my other achievements.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock spoke out in defence of his boss, saying he's been "absolutely clear that proper processes were followed in all areas of policy when he was Mayor of London, and that's that".
When asked if he thought the nature of their relationship was in the public interest, Mr Hancock said "no".
Despite Ms Arcuri's refusal to outline details of their relationship, Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell claimed the "exact nature" of the PM's relationship with Arcuri was not relevant.
"As Mayor, Boris Johnson had a duty under the Greater London Authority code of conduct to declare his friendship with Jennifer Arcuri and not to act in a way that benefited her business."
He added: "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'.
"The Prime Minister is unfit for office."
Ms Arcuri also said the Prime Minister “asked me to show him a few things” on the pole she had in her flat.
Describing it as a “conversation starter,” she said she and Mr Johnson “always had a laugh about it”.
“The pole stood in the living room, yes, he saw the pole.”
When asked directly whether Mr Johnson had ever used the pole, Ms Arcuri said: “I’m never going to tell you that.”
The Sunday Times has previously reported that the businesswoman confided to four friends that they had been engaged in an affair during his time as mayor.
But Ms Arcuri told GMB: “Those people are not my friends.”
Mr Johnson insisted last week that everything he did when promoting London overseas as mayor was done in “complete conformity with the code and the rules”.
Over the weekend, the Sunday Times also reported that Mr Johnson wrote a letter recommending Ms Arcuri for a job as the head of a technology quango when he was in City Hall.
Leaked emails seen by the Sunday Times suggested Mr Johnson was listed as a reference in her application for the role at Tech City.
Ms Arcuri was said to have been a 27-year-old student at the time of applying for the £100,000 a year job.
In recent days, Downing Street has also been forced to deny claims that Mr Johnson squeezed the thigh of a journalist under the table during a private lunch.
Charlotte Edwardes said the incident took place at the offices of The Spectator in London shortly after Mr Johnson became the magazine’s editor in 1999.