MPs say Boris Johnson has questions to answer after it was claimed he failed to declare potential conflicts of interest over his links to an American businesswoman.

City Hall and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are both examining allegations in the Sunday Times, which named the woman today as Jennifer Arcuri.

According to the Sunday Times, the model-turned-tech-entrepreneur gained access to three trade missions Mr Johnson led in 2014 and 2015, while Mayor of London.

The paper says Ms Arcuri was also, separately, given £126,000 in public funds in the form of three separate deals.

One of these, according to the paper, was from the organisation London & Partners for which Johnson was responsible as London mayor – handing her firm £10,000 sponsorship money for an event in 2013.

Arcuri, now 34, was quoted by The Sunday Times as saying: “Any grants received by my companies and any trade mission I joined were purely in respect of my role as a legitimate businesswoman”

At the same time, the Sunday Times also claimed Ms Arcuri was a friend of Mr Johnson. She appeared with him in photos on Facebook . Sources told the newspaper he was at one point a “regular visitor” to her London flat.

The Greater London Authority’s Code of Conduct says: “Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.

“They should not do so in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.”

A spokeswoman for current Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “All the events in question occurred when the previous mayor was in office and any questions about decisions made at that time are for him.

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“Sadiq has asked City Hall officials to look into what processes were followed during that time to ensure that any lessons are learned for the future.”

MPs suggested Boris Johnson should answer questions personally

Separately, a grant was handed to the firm Hacker House, at which Ms Arcuri is a director. The Sunday Times said it was worth £100,000 and handed out last January.

It is understood the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is investigating the report in the Sunday Times.

A DCMS spokesperson said: “Funding for this scheme was awarded through open and fair competition.

“We regularly monitor grant initiatives and treat any allegations of impropriety with the utmost seriousness.”

MPs suggested Boris Johnson should answer questions personally.

Jon Trickett, Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: ” Boris Johnson must now give a full account of his actions in response to these grave and most serious allegations of the misuse use of public money in his former role as mayor of London.

“The public has a right to know how and why these funds were used for the benefit of a close personal friend without on the face of it legitimate reason.

“This cannot be swept under the carpet. It is a matter of the integrity of the man now leading our country, who appears to believe he can get away with anything.”

Labour MP David Lammy said: “Boris Johnson has serious questions to answer over these allegations of the misuse of public funds. He cannot be trusted.”

Arcuri, now 34, was quoted by The Sunday Times as saying: “Any grants received by my companies and any trade mission I joined were purely in respect of my role as a legitimate businesswoman.”

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She did not comment on the nature of her relationship with Mr Johnson.

Downing Street has declined to comment.





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