Extraordinary details of how Boris Johnson allegedly overruled the advice of staff to promote the business interests of his former lover Jennifer Arcuri and win her affections are revealed in previously unpublished diary extracts by the US businesswoman.
According to one entry, the then London mayor even offered to be her “throttle” in an attempt to accelerate her business career, claims that may reopen the possibility of Johnson facing a potential criminal investigation into misconduct allegations.
The diary entries – which appear to have been written during Arcuri’s affair with Johnson and have been seen by the Observer –
also suggest that he broke the rules governing ethical conduct in public office in his dealings with Arcuri.
The handwritten excerpts portray Johnson as desperate to offer help to her in promoting her fledgling business as he pursued a sexual relationship with the then 27-year-old.
One entry recalls how Johnson told her:
“How can I be the thrust – the throttle – your mere footstep as you make your career? Tell me: how I can help you?”
Arcuri gave her diaries to the veteran journalist John Ware in 2019 after he made an
ITV documentary on her relationship with Johnson.
At Ware’s request, Arcuri has now agreed to allow publication of some of the extracts following Johnson’s statements last week about public probity,
Including how MPs who break conduct rules “should be punished”.
Despite the prime minister’s comments last week, he never mentioned Arcuri in his declaration of interests when he was mayor,
and after news of their alleged affair broke in 2019, he said there was no interest to declare.
The revelations will pile yet more pressure on the prime minister after 10 days of relentless allegations of sleaze and impropriety by Conservatives MPs,
and growing anger inside the Tory party over Johnson’s own responsibility for, and handling of, the crisis.
The latest Opinium poll for the Observer today shows how the stream of damaging stories has hit Johnson and his party,
with Labour now holding a lead over the Tories for the first time since January this year.
The poll puts Labour on 37% (up 1 point), the Conservatives on 36% (down 1), the Liberal Democrats on 9%, the Greens 7%, and the SNP 5%.
Johnson’s personal approval ratings have sunk to another all time low of -21%. A fortnight ago the Conservatives held a five-point lead over Labour.
Responding to the latest Arcuri revelations, a government spokesperson said:
“As mayor, Boris Johnson followed all the legal requirements in the Greater London Assembly’s [sic] code of conduct at the time.”
The diaries, however, indicate that Johnson pursued Arcuri,
offering to advance her business interests in the apparent hope that this might
lead to a sexual relationship with the woman who dubbed him “Alex the Great”.
One diary entry, from 2012, states that Johnson told her:
I can barely control myself whenever I see you
You make me too excited. Baby I couldn’t wait. All year I have been waiting for you. All year.
You drove me nuts. I have thought about no woman as I have thought of you.”