Johnson denied claims that he had misused public funds by awarding grants to his friend Jennifer Arcuri when he was mayor of London.
The Sunday Times had reported the weekend before that “Boris Johnson failed to declare a series of potential conflicts of interest over a close friendship with an American model turned technology entrepreneur during his time as London mayor.” The Sunday Times said Arcuri was a “close friend” of Johnson’s and received a total of £126,000 in public money as well as privileged access to overseas trade missions led by Johnson. She was allegedly given £10,000 from an organisation that Johnson was responsible for as London mayor.
Following a government review, Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said there was “no impropriety” in the awarding of a £100,000 grant to an Arcuri company. She pointed out that the grant decision did not involve ministers and was made at a time when Johnson was a backbench MP.
The prime minister has yet to come up with a full response to The Sunday Times allegations. Until he does, it is premature to make any judgment about the accuracy of his statement to Sky News. We will update as soon as further information emerges.