Sunday 15 December 2019

Arcuri demands personal apology from Boris Johnson

‘Humiliation’: Jennifer Arcuri leaves the BBC yesterday after a broadcast interview. Photo: Reuters
‘Humiliation’: Jennifer Arcuri leaves the BBC yesterday after a broadcast interview. Photo: Reuters

George Ryan and Harriet Line

Businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, whose links to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson have come under scrutiny, has called for him to personally apologise to her.

Ms Arcuri's connections with Mr Johnson came under public scrutiny over allegations she received favourable treatment for her business ventures during his eight-year stint as mayor of London.

In several broadcast appearances yesterday, she spoke of their relationship, calling it "very special" as she refused to say whether they had an affair.

Following her appearance on ITV's 'Good Morning Britain', (GMB) TV presenter Lorraine Kelly criticised her live on air, asking "what's the point of you coming on TV?" after the US businesswoman appeared to dodge questions.

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Ms Arcuri swerved queries about her relationship with Mr Johnson, telling hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid she did not want to "be pressured into admitting" to anything about her links to him.

Later, speaking to the BBC's 'Victoria Derbyshire Show', Ms Arcuri insisted Mr Johnson did not do her any "favours" but said she wished he had declared her as an interest if it could have "saved me this entire embarrassment and humiliation". She said: "I would love an apology for acknowledging the fact that given all those years, you know, that I was on the ground, hustling and working as a student. I mean he saw my arc, he saw my progression as a young woman, graduating and becoming, you know, a mature entrepreneur."

‘Intrigued’: Boris Johnson ‘loved’ how Jennifer Arcuri ‘worked a room’
‘Intrigued’: Boris Johnson ‘loved’ how Jennifer Arcuri ‘worked a room’

She also accused Mr Johnson of feeding her to the wolves. Asked if he "had bigger fish to fry", she said: "That's what you tell somebody when you meet them for the night, you don't know them, you haven't spent the hours with them, the investment into another person. And the fact that I'm called out, just on 'GMB', because 'why I am here if I'm not here to admit the affair?'

"Well wait a minute, I'm not allowed to be upset because somebody that was very much a part of my life, who knew what I stood for, the calibre and integrity and merit that I work at. I mean all these things he knew and he sat back, why?

"He didn't have to ignore me, it could have been a 30-second phone call, just to let me know that he's acknowledging the fact that he, while he gets to be prime minister gets to feed me to the wolves - and I find that really disturbing."

She said: "I was convinced this was a man of his word because I couldn't believe the fervent, linear focus which he had on me. I assure you it was not just a sexual intention, he actually was very intrigued by my energy, my ability to get things done - he loved my events, and he saw the way I could work a room, the way I met everybody."

She added: "I was a female, there was very few of us and I was extremely tenacious and I'm telling you that's what London and Partners loved about me, that's what Boris Johnson loved about me, and that's why I was accepted so greatly into this London community. I have great pride for this eco-system. We built it."

In an interview with ITV's 'Exposure' on Sunday, Ms Arcuri claimed Mr Johnson cast her aside as though she was a "gremlin" after she tried to contact him for advice on handling the media interest.

Last month, the London Assembly paused its probe into Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri's relationship following a request from the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

It was "acquiring material" to determine whether the matter should be criminally investigated and asked the committee to "give precedence" to its inquiry.

Irish Independent

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