‘Alex the Great’: Jennifer Arcuri refuses to deny affair with Johnson

US businesswoman says pair bonded over ‘mutual love of classic literature’

U.S. technology entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri refused to answer when asked on ITV whether she had had a sexual relationship with Boris Johnson, but insisted that he “never ever gave me any favouritism”. Credit: Good Morning Britain/ITV

 

The US businesswoman at the centre of a storm over her links to Boris Johnson has refused to say whether they had an affair.

Jennifer Arcuri said she and Mr Johnson, who she saved on her phone as “Alex the Great,” bonded over their “mutual love of classic literature”.

The technology entrepreneur refused to answer when asked whether she had had a sexual relationship with Mr Johnson, but insisted that he “never ever gave me any favouritism”.

Ms Arcuri was speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain following a series of stories about her links to the UK prime minister during his tenure as London mayor.

Ms Arcuri said that Mr Johnson had visited her flat a “handful” of times, adding that she did not have time for the media attention surrounding him when they met in public.

She added: “We tried having drinks out in public or having lunch, it just became too much of a mob show, so I said ‘you just have to come to my office’.”

Ms Arcuri said that her office was in her Shoreditch flat, which also featured a pole-dancing pole.

She said the Prime Minister had been there “five, ten, a handful of times” and described him as “a really good friend”, adding: “It’s really not anyone’s business what private life we had.”

Ms Arcuri refused to answer questions on whether she had an “intimate relationship” with Mr Johnson.

She said that Mr Johnson had not had anything to do with her other achievements.

She added: “Because the press have made me this objectified ex-model pole dancer, I am really not going to answer that question.

“I am not going to be putting myself in a position for you to weaponise my answer.

“Boris had nothing to do with my other achievements.”

Ms Arcuri also said the prime minister “asked me to show him a few things” on the pole she had in her flat.

Describing it as a “conversation starter,” she said she and Mr Johnson “always had a laugh about it”.

“The pole stood in the living room, yes, he saw the pole.”

When asked directly whether Mr Johnson had ever used the pole, Ms Arcuri said: “I’m never going to tell you that.”

The former model was reportedly given £126,000 in public money and privileged access to three foreign trade missions led by Mr Johnson while he was mayor of London.

Last month, the prime minister was referred to the police complaints body to assess whether he should face a criminal investigation over his association with her.

The Sunday Times has reported that the businesswoman confided to four friends that they had been engaged in an affair during his time as mayor.

But Ms Arcuri told GMB: “Those people are not my friends.”

Mr Johnson insisted last week that everything he did when promoting London overseas as mayor was done in “complete conformity with the code and the rules”.

Over the weekend, the Sunday Times also reported that Mr Johnson wrote a letter recommending Ms Arcuri for a job as the head of a technology quango when he was in City Hall.

Leaked emails seen by the Sunday Times suggested Mr Johnson was listed as a reference in her application for the role at Tech City.

Ms Arcuri was said to have been a 27-year-old student at the time of applying for the £100,000 a year job.

In recent days, Downing Street has also been forced to deny claims that Mr Johnson squeezed the thigh of a female journalist under the table during a private lunch.

Charlotte Edwardes said the incident took place at the offices of The Spectator in London shortly after Mr Johnson became the magazine’s editor in 1999.

–PA