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Fri, 15 January 2021

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The House Live All
By Alice Lilly
Press releases

An Italian Airport Official Says Boris Johnson "Definitely" Did Not Visit Perugia Earlier This Month

An Italian Airport Official  Says Boris Johnson 'Definitely' Did Not Visit Perugia Earlier This Month

Downing Street have denied the claims

3 min read

A Perugia airport official has claimed a press release stating Boris Johnson had visited earlier this month was incorrect and that they had accidentally confused him with Tony Blair.

It comes after Downing Street branded reports that Mr Johnson had made a secret trip to Italy earlier this month as "completely untrue".

On Sunday evening, Italian newspaper La Repubblica quoted from an official statement from the city's airport which claimed Mr Johnson had arrived in the Umbrian city on Friday September 11 and departed the following Monday.

The paper went on to suggest that Mr Johnson had visited Italy to baptise his son, while also claiming he may have used the trip to visit the home of Evgeny Lebedev, a Russian-British businessman handed a peerage by the Prime Minister last month.

They also cited staff who claimed Mr Johnson had arrived either on 11 September or the day before, with another adding he had arrived "on Friday 11 September at 2pm and left on Monday 14 September at 7.45am".

But a Downing Street spokesperson hit back at the comments on Monday, saying: "This story is completely untrue. The prime minister has not travelled to Italy in recent months. Anyone who publishes these claims is repeating a falsehood."

Number 10 said as evidence that Mr Johnson had held a meeting with Conservative MPs via Zoom on Friday 11 September, and attended his son's baptism on Saturday 12 September in Westminster Cathedral.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reported that a spokesperson for the church confirmed his son, Wilfred, had been baptised during a private service on 12 September.

The official statement from Perugia airport was initially made in a press release which said Mr Johnson had visited the airport around a week before Barcelona footballer Luis Suarrez visited.

But speaking to the Telegraph's Nick Squires, the airport's President confirmed Mr Johnson had "definitely" not made the trip, saying instead they had mistaken him for former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mr Johnson had previously caused controversy during an earlier trip to Perugia in 2018 after it was reported the then-foreign secretary had ditched his security detail to attend a party thrown by Mr Lebedev.

According to the Guardian, passengers at San Francesco d'Assisi airport had described Mr Johnson as struggling to walk in a straight line, "looking like he had slept in his clothes" and admitting to fellow travellers he had had "a heavy night" ahead of his return flight.


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