Jennifer Arcuri refuses to deny ‘intimate’ relationship with Boris Johnson
American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri has repeatedly refused to deny that she had an affair with Boris Johnson while he was mayor of London.
The tech entrepreneur has been at the centre of a storm in recent weeks over her relationship with the now-Prime Minister amid reports that she was given more than £100,000 in public money.
In a lengthy interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the former model said Mr Johnson was "a really good friend", but denied that he treated her favourably.
Asked whether she had had an affair with him, she responded: “Would you like me to ask about your sex life?
“I thought about this a lot. The first reaction is to come out denying everything. But then when I saw the way I am objectified, dragged through the press - I'm not going to answer that.”
She added: “Because the press have made me this objectified ex-model pole dancer I really am not going to answer that question."
When pressed further on whether she would deny it, Ms Arcuri added: “I’m sorry, I’m not going to be putting myself in a position for you to weaponise my answer.
“I’m being used as a pawn, this entire thing is a crazy charade… Boris had nothing to do with my achievements.”
Ms Arcuri said Mr Johnson had visited her flat in London - which doubled as her office - "five, ten, a handful” of times, but added: “It's really not anyone's business what private life we had.”
She said the pair "tried having drinks out in public or having lunch" but "it just became too much of a mob show", and so she said that he should instead "come to my office."
Elsewhere in the interview, she said Mr Johnson had "asked me to show him a few things" on the pole-dancing pole she had in her living room, but refused to say whether he had used it himself.
The businesswoman also revealed that she had saved Mr Johnson's number in her phone under “Alex the great” in an attempt to protect his identity.
When asked if she loved Mr Johnson, she said: “I care about him deeply as a friend and we do share a very close bond, but I wish him well. I want him to be happy. I wish Carrie [Symonds] well. And I really do want him to focus on making Britain great again.”
Ms Arcuri's company was reportedly given £126,000 in public money and access to three foreign trade missions led by the former mayor during his time in City Hall.
She said Mr Johnson had "absolutely nothing to do" with £100,000 grant given to her company, Hacker House, in January this year.
She added: "Boris never ever gave me favouritism, never once did I ask him for a favour, never once did he write a letter of recommendation for me...
"At the end of the day, I was allowed to go on that trade mission as a delegate because of who I was."
In September, Mr Johnson was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct on whether his failure to declare any alleged conflict of interest could constitute a criminal offence.
He insisted last week that he acted in “complete conformity with the code and the rules” while serving as the capital’s mayor.
When asked if she had had any contact with Mr Johnson since scandal blew up Ms Arcuri said: “Absolutely not.”
She added: "I think Boris has enough on his plate right now. Of course the average person would say ‘hi’. The reality is, he’s got so much that’s going on. I need him to focus on his job for Britain."
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: "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.
"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. This morning has thrown up even more questions for Boris Johnson, which can only be answered with a full investigation into the apparent misuse of public funds."