Downing Street has defended Boris Johnson over accusations he had an affair with Jennifer Arcuri, with his spokesperson claiming he acts with ‘honesty and integrity’.
Allegra Stratton, the prime minister’s press secretary, did not deny Arcuri’s claims in The Mirror that they had a four-year relationship while the PM was mayor of London, choosing not to address those questions from reporters.
But she insisted there was “no case to answer” over allegations she received favourable access or special treatment from his office, and Stratton insisted Johnson conducts himself in line with the Nolan Principles set for holders of public office.
Stratton told reporters: “I’ve said he does believe in the wider principles of integrity and honesty. He acts with integrity and is honest. And I’ve said that he follows the Nolan principles when conducting himself in public life, so that’s on that.
“On the particular allegations, the more technical or legal, that has been looked at by an independent body. I don’t think we can get better than that, they looked at it and came to the conclusion that claims of impropriety in office were untrue and unfounded. That is the view of an independent body, not of me, not of you, and not of anyone else.”
Stratton insisted that the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found “no evidence to indicate that Mr Johnson influenced the payment of any sponsorship moneys to Ms Arcuri, or that he influenced or played any active part in securing her participation in trade missions”.
She added: “This independent group has looked into this case and it has found no evidence of impropriety, okay? So this isn’t the prime minister’s saying this, it is an independent body saying it.
“All I can do, just like all you can do, is look at an independent body that’s done the work and come to a conclusion.”
The IOPC report claimed that if the pair had been in an intimate relationship Johnson would have been “wise” to declare it as a potential conflict of interest, adding: “Failure to do so could have constituted a breach of the broader Nolan principles.”