‘She had him eating out of her hand’: Key revelations from dossier on Boris Johnson’s relationship with Jennifer Arcuri

Jon Stone

Boris Johnson won't face a criminal investigation into his dealing with US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, after a review by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) recommended against it.

But the details of the 112-page dossier make interesting reading and shed some light on the prime minister's conduct while he was Mayor of London.

They also may give a clue about what to expect when the Greater London Assembly reopens its own separate investigation. Here are the key points:

There is evidence of an 'intimate relationship' between Johnson and Arcuri

The review notes that "there is some evidence that Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri may have been in an intimate relationship during some of the relevant time period when Ms Arcuri attended trade missions".

It says the evidence from an associate of Arcuri "suggests that this started some time before 2014 and that it ended before Ms Arcuri's relationship with her present partner began, which media reports suggests was in 2016". Mr Johnson was married at this point, later separating from his wife in 2018.

For reasons that aren't full explained, the review says "it was deemed unnecessary and inappropriate to ask Mr Johnson at this stage of the process" whether a sexual relationship had taken place. Arcuri has denied that one took place.

The relationship may have begun on a trade mission. The report states: "Witness A stated that Ms Arcuri said she first had an intimate relationship with the Mayor on a trade mission."

One text message from Arcuri to a friend detailed in the report shows the businesswoman texting her friend after a charity event: "he text me right after that saying he saw you ... and then asking when he can show me his tech biking moves ... LMAO".

Another acquaintance describes meeting the pair: "They were very tactile with each other, flirty, and it made me feel a bit uncomfortable so I left."

Johnson's officials weren't happy at the perceived favours he was doing Arcuri

The extent of the then-mayor's favours for Arcuri – such as attending events – appear to have rattled some officials.

In one email reproduced in the report, an employee at London and Partners (L&P), an organisation which promotes the capital abroad, wrote: "Jennifer Arcuri trades off her association with the Mayor to some extent, but at the end of the day he attended the event as a favour to her.

"His officials were not happy about him doing so, but he had apparently promised her some time ago. She volunteered as part of his campaign team."

Officials believed Arcuri had Johnson 'eating out of her hand'

Perhaps the most colourful quote in the document from from another L&P email. It shows one person's assessment of the pair, in relation to a £1,500 payment: "She's [Ms Arcuri] is very good at name dropping and has Boris eating out of her hand ... so we need to help where we can; as she's prone to a whinge."

The review found no evidence of Johnson helping to Arcuri's place on trade missions or obtaining funding

Despite this, the review is clear that "There is no evidence that Mr Johnson sought to influence, or played an active part in securing, Ms Arcuri's participation in trade missions."

It is this that crucially for the prime minister, means there will not be an investigation into whether he committed misconduct in a public office.

The prime minister has always denied any wrongdoing. His spokesman told journalists: "We welcome the fact that this politically-motivated complaint has been thrown out. Such vexatious claims of impropriety in office were untrue and unfounded." The spokesman also added that Downing Street believed the allegations were "not a policing matter, and we consider this was a waste of police time".

It's still possible Johnson breached the mayoral code of conduct

A separate review into Johnson's conduct is ongoing, conducted by the Greater London Assembly.

The IOPC seems to believe this could be worthwhile. The report states: "While Mr Johnson was not under an obligation to declare on his register of pecuniary interests Ms Arcuri's dealings with the Greater London Authority (GLA)/London and Partners (L&P), if Mr Johnson was in an intimate relationship with Ms Arcuri, it would have been wise for him to have declared this as a conflict of interest, and a failure to do so could have constituted a breach of the broader Nolan principles contained within the GLA 2012 Code of Conduct."

The IOPC reviewers were concerned some relevant evidence may have been deleted

Both this review and the GLA were apparently made harder by, the review says, "the deletion of Mr Johnson's [Greater London Authority] email account and those of his appointees".

It also states: "The material stored in digital devices, email accounts and computer drives belonging to Mr Johnson while Mayor and his appointees was deleted when he left office in 2016.

"The requirement in the GLA Records Management Guidance for material concerning GLA business (which includes sponsorship and trade missions) to be transferred to executive officers prior to deletion appears not to have been followed.

"Mr Johnson's solicitors have said he has no relevant material in his custody or control, and Ms Arcuri has said that she deleted any relevant email correspondence and other electronic record". All eyes will now be on the GLA investigation.

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