A fresh inquiry has opened into Boris Johnson’s relationship with Jennifer Arcuri after the US businesswoman dramatically agreed to assist officials, paving the way for the prime minister to face possible criminal investigation.
Arcuri has formally offered to help the Greater London Authority (GLA) ethics watchdog by allowing it to inspect extracts of her diary entries chronicling her affair with Johnson and agreeing to be questioned for the first time by investigators over the relationship.
The contemporaneous diary excerpts, disclosed in the Observer last week by the journalist John Ware, reveal how Johnson allegedly overruled the advice of staff to promote the business interests of Arcuri and win her affections.
Arcuri’s decision to cooperate with the GLA monitoring officer reopens the prospect of Johnson facing an investigation for a potential criminal offence of misconduct in public office.
In a previous investigation into Johnson’s business relationship with the then 27-year-old Arcuri, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) did not have access to Arcuri’s handwritten diary entries in which she made “verbatim” notes of the highlights of his telephone calls and their conversations.
Her evidence is potentially even more critical because the original IOPC inquiry was also hampered by the deletion of key email and phone records at City Hall that prevented the watchdog from “reviewing relevant evidence”.
The latest developments into allegations that Johnson offered to help Arcuri launch her tech business while simultaneously pursuing her for sex will pile more pressure on the prime minister, raising fresh questions over his integrity and lax approach to probity in public life after weeks of sleaze allegations have engulfed his party.
Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, wrote to the GLA’s monitoring officer, Emma Strain, asking that she urgently refer the new evidence to the IOPC to “look again” at its decision to rule out a criminal investigation.
Strain, in turn, contacted the Observer for assistance in obtaining Arcuri’s diaries so she could assess whether the issue was a “serious complaint” that appeared to constitute or involve a criminal offence being committed.
The diary entries also suggest that Johnson broke the rules governing ethical conduct in public office in his dealings with Arcuri.