Corbyn queries 'alleged abuse of power' by Boris Johnson after newspaper claims
22 September 2019, 21:34 | Updated: 22 September 2019, 22:01
Jeremy Corbyn has queried an "alleged abuse of power" by Boris Johnson following newspaper claims the prime minister failed to declare potential conflicts of interest while London mayor.
Labour are calling on Mr Johnson to "give a full account of his actions" in response to a Sunday Times report about the allocation of public money to an American woman.
The newspaper claimed Jennifer Arcuri, a model turned technology entrepreneur, was given a total of £126,000 in public money and privileged access to three official overseas trade missions led by Mr Johnson during his time as London mayor.
In a video posted on his Twitter account, Mr Corbyn accused the media of not giving enough attention to the story.
"There was something important in one of the Sunday papers today about an alleged abuse of power and misuse of public funds by Boris Johnson before he became prime minister," the Labour leader said.
"But, do you know what? Lots of the media have barely touched it. Incredible, isn't it?
"This is about the man who is the prime minister of our country."
Referring to his appearance on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning - a show on which he was followed by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab - Mr Corbyn added: "I was on the BBC's flagship news programme this morning and I was asked about a range of issues.
"That's fine. It's right. It's justified. It's how our democracy works. But I was followed by Boris Johnson's deputy, who was asked nothing about these allegations.
"This is how the establishment works. They close ranks. They put privilege first.
"Things have to change. Labour will put people first before privilege."
In response to the Labour leader's comments, Marr said he will "always welcome helpful advice on how to do my job".
He added on Twitter: "I was genuinely pleased that, on what cannot have been an easy morning for him, JC [Jeremy Corbyn] turned up for a live interview."
Jon Trickett MP, Labour's shadow Cabinet Office minister, has already called on Mr Johnson to "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," he added.
"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."
Downing Street has declined to comment on the Sunday Times investigation.
Ms Arcuri, now 34, told the newspaper: "Any grants received by my companies and any trade mission I joined were purely in respect of my role as a legitimate businesswoman."
The report added she did not comment on the nature of her relationship with Mr Johnson.