LONDON (Reuters) - A U.S. businesswoman at the center of a series of newspaper allegations over British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s conduct while he was mayor of London has said he has cast her aside like “some gremlin” since the furor surfaced.
The Sunday Times reported in September that when Johnson was mayor he failed to declare close personal links to Jennifer Arcuri, who received thousands of pounds in public business funding and places on official trade trips.
Johnson has said everything was done with full propriety and that there was no interest to declare, and a government audit report last month ruled a decision to award a 100,000 pound ($127,960) grant to a company run by Arcuri was appropriate.
In an interview for an ITV documentary due to air later on Sunday, Arcuri said she had tried to contact Johnson many times since the newspaper reports but he would not speak to her.
“I’ve been nothing but loyal, faithful, supportive, and a true confidante of yours. I’ve kept your secrets, and I’ve been your friend,” she said when asked what her message to him would be, according to a transcript of the program.
“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. And I’m terribly heartbroken by the way that you have cast me aside like I am some gremlin.”
Arcuri has repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether she had an intimate relationship with Johnson, who is currently campaigning ahead of a national election on Dec. 12.
“I’ve called him electrifying. I find that there is a certain magnetic energy around him ... that was very appealing,” she told the ITV program. “It’s really no-one’s business if we were in a relationship or not.”
The Greater London Authority (GLA) has referred Johnson to Britain’s police watchdog for potential investigation over allegations of misconduct involving Arcuri.
Arcuri said the media interest had caused nothing but “utter chaos, destruction and sheer disappointment”, and that she had been the collateral damage.
“I mean the prime minister hasn’t been affected. He puts his head in the sand and looks the other way,” she said.
“When I expressed the interest to want to speak to him, I was told there are bigger things at stake and I was brushed off ... I felt so disgusted and humiliated.”
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Susan Fenton