Jennifer Arcuri refuses to answer Boris Johnson relationship questions

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Media captionJennifer Arcuri: “I’m not going to put myself in a position where you can weaponise my answer”

A US businesswoman has refused to say whether she had an intimate relationship with Boris Johnson when he was London mayor.

Jennifer Arcuri has been at the centre of a row over whether the now-prime minister failed to declare a conflict of interest over their relationship.

She told ITV’s Good Morning Britain he spoke at four events she ran, and came to her flat “a handful” of times.

But she denied he recommended her for a top public sector job.

Mr Johnson has said everything was done “entirely in the proper way”.

The story first emerged in the Sunday Times, with claims technology entrepreneur Ms Arcuri had joined trade missions led by Mr Johnson and received thousands of pounds in public money.

The newspaper claimed she had received favourable treatment due to her friendship with Mr Johnson.

But Ms Arcuri said he “never, ever gave me any favouritism” and “categorically” had “nothing to do with my other achievements”.

He was just “a really good friend”, she added.

The current London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has launched an investigation into the allegations at City Hall, and the Greater London Assembly’s Oversight Committee has given Mr Johnson 14 days – ending this week – to explain his relationship.

The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, said it could be the GLA’s code of conduct that really matters in this case – it says public office holders should not act in any way to gain benefits for families or friends, and should declare private interests to resolve any conflicts.

Mr Johnson has also been referred to the police watchdog, who will consider whether there are grounds to investigate the prime minister for the criminal offence of misconduct in public office.

Private life questions

Asked repeatedly on the ITV breakfast programme whether she was having an affair with Mr Johnson when he was mayor, Ms Arcuri refused to answer.

“I am not going to be putting myself in a position for you to weaponise my answer,” she said.

She did confirm he had visited her home – which was also her office – “five, 10, a handful of times”, but added: “It’s really not anyone’s business what private life we had.”

On the issue of trade missions, Ms Arcuri said she had access because of the work she was doing – not because of any relationship with Mr Johnson.

“At the end of the day, I was allowed to go on that trade mission as a delegate because of who I was,” she said.

Ms Arcuri said she had never discussed any sponsorship or grants with Mr Johnson, and asked if he had helped with any “sponsorship money”, she said: “Categorically no. Do you think I would waste his time talking about this stuff?”

She also said Mr Johnson had nothing to do with an additional £100,000 grant awarded to her company by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in January.

And she denied reports Mr Johnson had written her a letter of recommendation to run the taxpayer-funded Tech City organisation, promoting technology companies in east London.