Police watchdog to announce decision on Boris Johnson Jennifer Arcuri inquiry

0
43

Police watchdog to announce decision on Boris Johnson Jennifer Arcuri inquiry.

Boris Johnson will not face a criminal investigation into his links with Jennifer Arcuri while he was mayor of London a police watchdog has decided, but the prime minister was found to have had a “close association” and possibly “intimate relationship” with the American businesswoman.

But the PM now faces a different probe by the London Assembly Oversight Committee, which had suspended its own inquiries pending the police watchdog’s decision.

Eight months after it was asked to look into links between Johnson and Arcuri, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it would not take any further action.

The IOPC found that Johnson did not commit the criminal offence of misconduct in public office while in his role as mayor of London.

As mayor, Johnson was also head of the Office for Policing and Crime.

Johnson was formally referred to the IOPC last September over claims that Arcuri received public money and access to trade trips at the same time that he was responsible for policing and crime in the capital.

He has been accused of failing to declare a possible conflict of interest as Arcuri was awarded various sums in public cash, including £11,500 by the mayor’s promotional agency, London & Partners.

The Sunday Times reported the potential conflicts arose through Johnson’s association with the technology entrepreneur, who moved to London eight years ago. It claimed that she had received up to £126,000 in public money and was afforded privileged access to three foreign trade missions Johnson led.

Arcuri has repeatedly refused to say whether she had had an affair with Johnson. She told the BBC last year that whenever he texted her “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.”

In another interview she said he “cast me aside like some Gremlin”.

But she has insisted there was “no interest” to declare in their relationship, adding: “He didn’t do me any favours.”

Focus will now shift to the London Assembly Oversight Committee, which is looking at whether Johnson broke the City Hall code of conduct.

Its own inquiry, which is expected to take into account the current coronavirus pandemic in its timetable, will now be able to start assessing all the paperwork in the case.

Chair Len Duvall said: “The IOPC was looking specifically at whether he committed a criminal offence. That’s not our remit and their decision doesn’t have any real bearing on our investigation, which will focus on his conduct as Mayor of London.

“Everyone who holds public office whether you’re the Mayor of London, or indeed the Prime Minister, is expected to adhere to the principles of public life – including integrity, selflessness, openness and honesty, to name a few.

“Our investigation will consider whether Boris Johnson conducted himself in a way that’s expected from anyone in that position. It’s important we get those answers, because Londoners deserve to have their politicians held accountable.

“The Oversight Committee will take into account the current emergency when looking at the timetable for the investigation.”

HuffPost revealed last year that Johnson’s lawyers had written to the Assembly body to challenge its demands for “extensive” details of his links to Arcuri.

They also suggested that it is not in “the public interest” for an Assembly investigation to take place as it “risked becoming politicised”.

A spokesperson for the prime minister said: “We welcome the fact that this politically motivated complaint has been thrown out.

“Such vexatious claims of impropriety in office were untrue and unfounded.

“An independent review by the Government Internal Audit Agency similarly showed the claims made by the Labour Party were false.

“This was not a policing matter, and we consider this was a waste of police time.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here