Boris Johnson has refused six times to be accused of not declaring a conflict of interest due to close friendship with a former American model during her time as mayor of London.
The prime minister faced questions during his flight to New York for the UN General Assembly after the Sunday Times revealed that Jennifer Arcuri, a technology entrepreneur, received a total of £ 126,000 in public money and privileged access to three trade missions in the United States. led by Mr. Johnson.
Arcuri received preferential treatment to ensure she could attend trade delegations, with Johnson's team ensuring that she would accompany him on trips, even if his initial requests to participate were declined.
Sources said Johnson was a regular visitor to his apartment in Shoreditch, East London, and that in 2013 his new company received £ 10,000 in sponsorship from an organization for which Johnson was responsible for mayor of London.
Boris Johnson would not be involved in the allegations on his way to New York
Earlier this year, Arcuri's latest company won a £ 100,000 grant from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport from a fund for English entrepreneurs, even though he now lives in California.
Whitehall employees are now investigating the grant.
During his flight to New York, Johnson was asked: "You are charged on the front page of The Sunday Times today for not declaring a series of conflicts of interest for your friendship with Jennifer Arcuri.
"This is your first opportunity to answer this story. Do you want to deny the story?"
The Prime Minister replied: "I am here to talk about what we are doing at the UN and its commitment to tackling climate change, preventing biodiversity loss and our role as a bridge between our European and American friends when the crisis hits." Gulf and many other issues. "
Boris Johnson was a regular visitor to Jennifer Arcuri's apartment in Shoreditch, in east London.
The prime minister was repeatedly questioned by reporters
He was then asked, "Is there a clear allegation of abuse of public funds. Wouldn't it be better to resolve this with a public investigation?"
Johnson replied, "I'm here to talk about what we're doing at the UN."
The prime minister was again challenged and this time asked: "The Sunday Times has heavy hints that you are in a sexual relationship with Jennifer Arcuri. Considering the public funds involved – can you clarify your relationship with her?"
He replied, "You forgive me, I am talking exclusively about what we are doing here at the UN."
Johnson didn't respond when asked if he understood why people were asking questions, nor when it was asked, he couldn't deny the problem.
Finally, one reporter said, "You had the opportunity to deny it. You won't. Is that the position?"
Johnson repeated again, "I'm going to talk about what we are doing at the UN, the mission we have: climate change, to promote female education and to fulfill a number of UK goals, as you can imagine."
Johnson would only talk about his priorities at the UN meeting
Jon Trickett MP, Cabinet shadow minister, asked Johnson "to provide a full account of his actions in response to these serious and grave accusations of misuse of public money in his former position 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 apparently having a legitimate reason," he added.
"It can't be swept under the rug. It's a question of the integrity of the man who now leads our country, who seems to believe he can get away with anything."
Arcuri told the Sunday Times: "Any donations received by my companies and any business mission I participated in were purely respected for my role as a legitimate businesswoman."
The newspaper added that she did not comment on the nature of her relationship with Johnson.