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Thu, 21 January 2021

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Boris Johnson won’t face criminal investigation over links to US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri

Boris Johnson won’t face criminal investigation over links to US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri

Boris Johnson will not face a criminal investigation over his links to Jennifer Arcuri (ITV)

3 min read

Boris Johnson will not face a criminal investigation over his links to the US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) concluded its eight-month scoping exercise into the Prime Minister’s relationship with the 34-year-old tech entrepreneur on Thursday.

It said: “The IOPC’s Operation Lansdowne review found no evidence indicating Mr Johnson influenced the payment of any sponsorship monies to Ms Arcuri or that he influenced or played an active part in securing her participation in trade missions.”

But the police watchdog did establish “there was a close association between Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri and there may have been an intimate relationship”.

Neither the PM nor Ms Arcuri have denied they were involved in an affair.

The body suggests “it would have been wise” for Mr Johnson to have declared his relationship with Ms Arcuri, and called on the Greater London Authority (GLA) to investigate whether failing to do so was a conflict of interest.

And the decision does now allow for the GLA to re-open an investigation into Mr Johnson’s actions when he was the capital’s mayor.

The London Assembly's Oversight Committee had suspended its own inquiries in September after the matter was referred to the IOPC.

But now their review has ended assembly members can look into claims Ms Arcuri received access to three trade trips when the PM was at City Hall.

There are also accusations, first reported by The Sunday Times, of a possible conflict of interest after she was awarded public cash, including £11,500 by the mayor’s promotional agency, London & Partners.

There was also £100,000 awarded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to her firm Hacker House.

But a review by the DCMS last October decided the grant promised to the company was "appropriate", despite it being based in California. 

Both Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri have always denied any wrongdoing.

And a spokesperson for the PM said: "We welcome the fact that this politically motivated complaint has been thrown out. 

“Such vexatious claims of impropriety in office were untrue and unfounded.

"An independent review by the Government Internal Audit Agency similarly showed the claims made by the Labour Party were false.

“This was not a policing matter, and we consider this was a waste of police time"

But the Oversight Committee’s chair, Len Duvall, said the IOPC decision was about criminality and “doesn’t have any real bearing on our investigation”.

He said: “Everyone who holds public office whether you’re the Mayor of London, or indeed the Prime Minister, is expected to adhere to the principles of public life – including integrity, selflessness, openness and honesty, to name a few.

“Our investigation will consider whether Boris Johnson conducted himself in a way that’s expected from anyone in that position. 

“It’s important we get those answers, because Londoners deserve to have their politicians held accountable.

“The Oversight Committee will take into account the current emergency when looking at the timetable for the investigation.”

And Siobhan Benita, Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London, said: “It is outrageous that a decision as important as this comes so late, effectively kicked into the long grass during the general election. 

“Boris Johnson may not be facing a criminal investigation but he still has many questions to answer. He should face the London Assembly so that his conduct can be thoroughly examined. 

“Avoiding scrutiny may be his trademark but it should not be tolerated.”

Engineering a Better World

Can technology deliver a better society? In a new podcast series from the heart of Westminster, The House magazine and the IET discuss with parliamentarians and industry experts how technology and engineering can provide policy solutions to our changing world.

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