Boris Johnson’s love affair with a pole-dancing US model who was handed thousands of pounds in public money lasted for four years, an explosive TV documentary claims tonight.
In it, Jennifer Arcuri says he told her he knew their relationship was a conflict of interest but was ‘worried’ about declaring it because he was married at the time.
She scolds Mr Johnson for refusing to speak to her after the scandal broke over their affair, claiming she has been ‘brushed off as if I was one of Kennedy’s girlfriends.’
It is also claimed she boasted of having him ‘wrapped around my little finger’.
Jennifer Arcuri on ITV’s documentary: Exposure: When Boris met Jennifer. She says he told her he knew their relationship was a conflict of interest but was ‘worried’ about declaring it because he was married at the time
In an extraordinary attack aimed at Mr Johnson, she says: ‘I don’t understand why you’ve blocked me and ignored me as if I was some fleeting one-night stand or some girl that you picked up at a bar because I wasn’t – and you know that. I’m terribly heartbroken by the way that you have cast me aside like I am some gremlin.’
Ms Arcuri refused to go as far as saying she had an affair with Mr Johnson, telling ITV Exposure: ‘It’s no one’s business if we were in a relationship or not.’
But award-winning veteran journalist John Ware will tell viewers: ‘After many hours of conversation with Ms Arcuri – and confirmation by several sources including those she confided in at the time – I’m left in no doubt they had an affair lasting at least four years.’
The businesswoman, pictured outside Downing Street, has set up base at a grand London hotel a stone’s throw from Downing Street after jetting in from Los Angeles last night
Previous reports suggested that their relationship was little more than a fling.
In an interview that heaps renewed pressure on the PM in the middle of a General Election campaign, Ms Arcuri says:
- Her business benefited after she was invited to accompany Mr Johnson on a 2015 trade trip to Israel;
- She wishes the PM had declared their relationship as a potential conflict of interest to avoid the ‘humiliation’ she has now suffered;
- She feels ‘disgusted and humiliated’ by Johnson refusing to speak to her and reveals how on one bizarre occasion he handed his mobile phone to an aide who garbled down the line in Chinese.
Mr Johnson is facing two separate inquiries over his relationship with Ms Arcuri while he was Mayor of London. Investigations have been launched by City Hall and the police watchdog over the PM’s links with the tech entrepreneur who was handed £126,000 of public grants and went on overseas trade missions with Mr Johnson to Indonesia and Israel.
Last night, a Conservative Party spokesman said: ‘Any claims of impropriety in office are untrue and unfounded.’
Ms Arcuri, 34, who lives in Los Angeles, returned to London last week for the first time since the storm broke over her alleged affair with Mr Johnson, 55.
Ms Arcuri refused to go as far as saying she had an affair with Mr Johnson, telling ITV Exposure: ‘It’s no one’s business if we were in a relationship or not.’ Pictured in 2012
In the interview, Ms Arcuri claims Mr Johnson repeatedly refused to take her calls after the scandal broke and that she was ‘the collateral damage that’s left behind.’
She said: ‘He puts his head in the sand and looks the other way. I’m the one on the ground having to pick up the pieces from my name and my integrity and my character and my business.’
She was a 27-year-old student in London when, within weeks of arriving in the UK, she met the 47-year-old married mayor at an event in a London hotel. Ms Arcuri said she thought Mr Johnson was ‘electrifying’ and had ‘a certain magnetic energy around him that was very appealing’.
Flamboyantly dressed in a fur-trimmed cloak, frilly white blouse, a floppy hat and wearing sunglasses she strolled along Whitehall
Mr Ware alleges that before the end of 2012, Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri had begun a sexual relationship that went on to last four years. In one frosty exchange, Mr Ware says: ‘When we met a month ago, I think you did concede to me, if I recall rightly, that he was obsessed with you. I think that was a term you used.’
Ms Arcuri: ‘I don’t remember that.’
‘I do,’ says Ware, to which Arcuri replies: ‘I don’t wanna talk about that.’ Mr Ware asks: ‘Do you think he was in love with you?’
Ms Arcuri replies: ‘If he was in love with me then he should’ve come and get me.’ Mr Ware asks: ‘Where? When?’ Ms Arcuri replies: ‘In another life. This one didn’t work out.’
It is the closest she has come so far to admitting that she and Mr Johnson were lovers.
Ms Arcuri describes hiding from prying eyes when she went for dinner with Mr Johnson. She said that by 2013, it was becoming increasingly difficult to be out in public, so from then on, they met at her flat in East London.
Mr Johnson spoke at four events hosted by Ms Arcuri’s burgeoning technology events company Innotech – raising eyebrows among the industry that a hitherto unknown, young, attractive businesswoman had landed the Mayor of London as a keynote speaker.
Jennifer Arcuri poses outside Downing Street on Friday morning, bound for a Westminster meeting
She says that Johnson was ‘worried’ about questions about their relationship. She said: ‘That was my fight with Boris. What my fight was always, [I would say] “Validate me, tell them, validate me”… [Johnson said] “No, no, now I have to declare an interest.” ’
She added: ‘He used to always get worried. [Johnson said] “People are gonna question about my interest.” And I said, “No, they won’t because I’m legitimate, I’m, I applied to be here. I’m not here because of you. I’m here because on my own right.”’
The businesswoman claims she tried to warn the PM that reporters had been contacting her and friends before the scandal over their relationship broke in September, but was met with silence.
She she said when she called Mr Johnson’s personal phone after the story broke, she was passed to someone else who spoke to her in Chinese. Mr Ware asked her: ‘Whoever started talking in Chinese to you, into the personal telephone number of the Prime Minister, was in effect saying, “Get lost?” ’
Speaking about her most recent call, she said: ‘He heard my voice. And I knew it was him. And he hung up. He said “Yes hello” and I simply asked, “Why did you block me?” ’
One of Ms Arcuri’s industry colleagues tells the programme she boasted of having Boris Johnson ‘wrapped around my little finger’ after he attended one of her company’s conferences. Asked if she remembered the comment, Ms Arcuri said: ‘[It] sounds like something I would say.’
Ms Arcuri also said her cyber security business Hacker House benefited from being attached to a mayoral trade mission to Tel Aviv in November 2015. She said: ‘What I have built now has been from what I went and learned and took back from my journey to Tel Aviv.’
Professor Alan Doig, a former member of the public standards board for England, told ITV Mr Johnson could have breached the Greater London Authority code by not declaring a private relationship with Ms Arcuri.
Prof Doig said: ‘This would have been something that should have been declared just in terms of common sense and caution.’
Last night, Labour Shadow Communities Minister Andrew Gwynne said: ‘Serious questions have again been raised about Boris Johnson’s honesty and integrity. It’s clear he misled the public when he said “there was no interest to declare”.’
- When Boris Met Jennifer will air on ITV at 11.05pm tonight.
Portrait of a heartbroken woman who loathes the limelight?
Pausing to remove an errant dab of pink lipstick at the corner of her mouth, she checked her reflection in the lobby mirror. Then, furtively, she glanced out of the hotel’s side entrance and caught a glimpse of the waiting paparazzi.
At this stage, it would have been easy to slip out of the side door unnoticed.
But if anyone thought Boris Johnson’s pole-dancing, rumoured ‘lover’ Jennifer Arcuri was going to make a discreet exit from the Royal Horseguards Hotel on Friday morning they could think again.
With a defiant toss of her tumbling blonde mane, she adjusted her movie-star dark shades (despite the gathering rainclouds) and clacked across the marble lobby floor in her £800 gold-embossed Ferragamo boots.
Then, head held high, she strode out of the front door to the delight of waiting photographers and continued posing and smiling during the short walk to her meeting in Whitehall which, conveniently, saw her strut past the gates of Downing Street.
Arcuri has privately told friends in the US that she has ‘loathed’ the attention the scandal has brought to her family and was forced to leave her rented home for a while because of the paparazzi attention. But last night an eyewitness told The Mail on Sunday: ‘This is a woman who wanted to be noticed. She could have sneaked out of the side door and no-one would have been any the wiser. Instead, every eye was on her.’
While no one can know what the Prime Minister and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds think of the fact his alleged one-time paramour is now ensconced in a five-star hotel a stone’s throw from No 10, one thing is abundantly clear. The Jennifer Arcuri circus has hit town, with an ITV documentary tonight, ‘Exposure: When Boris met Jennifer’ allowing her to air explosive allegations about her relationship with the Prime Minister. Plugging the show, in typically self-effacing style, she told reporters it was called ‘When Jennifer met Boris’.
The Mail on Sunday watched the drama unfold as the Californian mother-of-one arrived in London for a series of meetings and public appearances which, one LA friend says, ‘are solely aimed at furthering the career of Jennifer Arcuri’.
At 8.50am on Friday, Ms Arcuri, dressed in black trousers and a frilly white blouse, sat down for coffee and croissants with a cyber security expert under the magnificent crystal chandeliers in the hotel’s dining room.
An onlooker said: ‘She was telling her companion in a very loud voice about possibly appearing on the Victoria Derbyshire show, before discussing how she wanted to come across. At one point she said loudly, “I don’t wanna be too American.” ’
By this stage someone – perhaps Ms Arcuri’s representatives – had tipped off the Press. A crowd of photographers and camera crews gathered outside.
After finishing her croissant, Ms Arcuri disappeared to her room before emerging ten minutes later, make-up touched-up to perfection, wearing a dramatic fur-trimmed cape. At this point she looked out of the side entrance.
The witness said: ‘I thought she’d spotted the paparazzi and was ready to leave through the side door. In fact, she had exactly the opposite in mind. She looked in the mirror, dabbed her lipstick, adjusted her sunglasses, nodded at her male friend and then sashayed through the lobby and gave the waiting photographers the shot they were waiting for. ‘She acted more like a movie star than someone embroiled in a political scandal.’
Lest anyone forget, Ms Arcuri, 34, who styles herself as the PM’s former ‘tech adviser’, received £11,500 in sponsorship from a mayoral organisation when Mr Johnson was Mayor of London, a further £15,000 Government grant for foreign entrepreneurs in Britain and her company Hacker House was awarded another £100,000 grant by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in January.
The PM denies any impropriety in the awarding of funds during his time as London mayor, saying all proper procedures were followed.
As she posed for the cameras on Friday, she was on her way to a 90-minute meeting at the DCMS.
It is thought Ms Arcuri is preparing for a ‘return match’ on Good Morning Britain with this newspaper’s columnist Piers Morgan, who famously asked her nine times if she had an affair with the PM, a question she refused to answer when she appeared on his show last month, claiming she would not allow others to ‘weaponise’ her answer.
On Friday, Ms Arcuri joked with reporters about ‘popping in’ to No 10 and implied her visit during the Election campaign was coincidental. But one source told the MoS that Arcuri has meetings planned with ‘high ranking’ Conservative bosses and may even meet members of the Labour Party.
‘The reality is that Jennifer feels scorned by Boris. He hasn’t reached out to her since the scandal erupted,’ an LA-based friend explained. ‘Clearly the Tories are nervous and Labour will try to exploit this as much as they can.
‘He [Boris] is supposed to be sending someone very high up in his camp to meet with her while she’s in the UK. But she’s also saying she will meet up with Labour MPs.
‘When it comes down to it, this is all about furthering the career of Jennifer Arcuri.’