/Boris Johnson says he acted with ‘full propriety’ over links to U.S. businesswoman

Boris Johnson says he acted with ‘full propriety’ over links to U.S. businesswoman

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson | Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

‘There was no interest to declare,’ in case of tech entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri, said UK prime minister.

Boris Johnson gave his first public defense of his actions over the award of public money to a U.S. tech entrepreneur while he was London mayor, saying that everything was done with “full propriety.”

Last week, the Sunday Times revealed that a close friend of the prime minister, Jennifer Arcuri, had received public grants and had access to trade missions. On Saturday, the matter was referred to a police watchdog for potential investigation.

The BBC’s Andrew Marr asked whether Johnson had followed ethical rules he had signed on potential conflicts of interest. Those state that elected officials should act “solely in accordance with the public interest and they should not do so in order to get financial or other benefits for themselves, their families or their friends.”

“Everything was done in accordance with the code you just cited and everything was done with full propriety,” said Johnson.

Challenged that because Arcuri was a friend he should have declared the connection, Johnson said he had not because, “There was no interest to declare.”

“Let’s be absolutely clear. I am very, very proud of everything that we did and certainly everything that I did as mayor of London,” he said, before suggesting that the allegations were motivated by a desire to thwart Brexit.

“I think that there is a large constituency in parliament and elsewhere who do want to frustrate that objective [of delivering Brexit on October 31] and, rightly or wrongly, they see me as the person most likely to deliver that objective,” said Johnson. “You’ve got to be realistic in my position and you’ve got to expect a lot of shot and shell.”

Arcuri was quoted by the Guardian on Saturday as saying: “The stories you are writing are more and more false. These are fake news.”

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