James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Boris Johnson referred to police watchdog over friendship with Jennifer Arcuri
27 September 2019, 20:54
Boris Johnson has been referred to the police watchdog to assess whether he should face an investigation for the criminal offence of misconduct in public office while he was mayor of London.
The Greater London Authority (GLA) said in a statement that the authority's monitoring officer had recorded a "conduct matter" against the Prime Minister over allegations the businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri received favourable treatment because of her friendship with him.
"A 'conduct matter' exists where there is information that indicates that a criminal offence may have been committed," the statement said.
"It does not mean that this is proved in any way."
The GLA said the Independent Office for Police Conduct would "consider if it is necessary for the matter to be investigated."
The issue has been referred to the IOPC, which deals with complaints against police forces in England and Wales, because Mr Johnson at the time held the post equivalent to a police and crime commissioner.
Mr Johnson denies any wrongdoing and has previously said that he will cooperate with any investigation into his links with Ms Arcuri by the London Assembly.
The move by the GLA to refer the Prime Minister to the Independent Office for Police Conduct has been met with anger from No 10.
A senior Government source said it was "a politically motivated attack" and that the timing - on the eve of the Conservative Party conference - was "overtly political".
"No evidence of any allegations has been provided by the monitoring officer nor was the PM given any opportunity to respond to the monitoring officer prior to the publishing of a press release late on a Friday night," the source said.
"The public and media will rightly see through such a nakedly political put-up job."
The Sunday Times alleged that Ms Arcuri received £126,000 in public funds during Mr Johnson's tenure as London Mayor, and was granted access on three overseas trips led by the now-prime minister.
Ms Arcuri joined the Conservative campaign team in 2012 as Mr Johnson was seeking re-election as London mayor.
It is claimed Mr Johnson visited the tech entrepreneur's Shoreditch flat on a number of occasions, and gave her fledging tech company a £10,000 grant from a company Mr Johnson was responsible for as mayor.
Earlier this year cyber security company Hacker House - which she is listed as director of - won a £100,000 grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport from a fund intended for businesses with a UK address.
Hacker House's address was listed as a flat in Macclesfield she shared with her partner - which they allegedly moved out of to relocate to America before the application for the grant was made.
Labour has asked for a full explanation of the funds, and suggested the grants were a "misuse of public money."
When asked about the story, Mr Johnson said: "We did a huge amount of work while I was mayor of London selling our fantastic city around the world, beating the drum for London and the UK
"I'm very proud of what we did. Everything was done with complete propriety and in the normal way."