- Boris Johnson’s position as prime minister is under threat following a series of allegations that he misused public funds and groped women.
- The allegations, which were revealed over two weeks by the Sunday Times newspaper, come as Johnson’s government teeters on the edge of collapse as he prepares to take Britain out of the European Union.
- Johnson insists he can take the UK out of the EU by October 31 and is pushing for an early general election in order to gain back a majority in parliament for his government.
- However, the allegations risk overshadowing his premiership as the UK heads towards its next big political crisis.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under intense scrutiny this week following a series of allegations about his private life and his use of public funds.
The stories come as Johnson prepares to address his first Conservative Party conference as leader and as the United Kingdom heads towards the Brexit deadline of October 31.
The claims range from the embarrassing, to the potentially criminal, and threaten to derail Johnson’s premiership just two months into its infancy.
Here are the key scandals that could end Johnson’s time as prime minister.
The Jennifer Arcuri scandal
Innotech Summit / Youtube
Johnson is accused of using his position as Mayor of London to grant public funds and access to foreign trips to the tech entrepreneur and former model, Jennifer Arcuri.
TheSunday Times reported that Arcuri confided to friends that she was in a sexual relationship with Johnson, who was seen regularly visiting her London apartment.
Both Arcuri and Johnson deny any impropriety.
However, correspondence seen by Business Insider confirms that Johnson’s office intervened to place her on foreign trips despite officials judging that she was not eligible to attend.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, isalso investigating a grant of £100,000 made to Arcuri’s company Hacker House.
Read more:Boris Johnson referred to police watchdog for alleged criminal offence of misconduct in public office
Read more:Boris Johnson’s government launches review into £100,000 grant to company owned by his close friend Jennifer Arcuri
Read more:Boris Johnson overruled officials to send ‘close friend’ on foreign trade missions
The grant, which was intended for UK companies promoting cyber security, was awarded to Arcuri’s company despite evidence that suggests it is based in California, rather than the UK.
The department denies that Johnson had any role in the decision to award the grant.
The allegations have led to a series of investigations by both the national and London governments.
On Friday the Greater London Authority’s monitoring officer wrote to the Independent Office for Police Conduct to request a decision on whether a criminal investigation should be opened into Johnson for the offence of Misconduct in Public Office.
The IOPC has yet to respond. However, were a criminal investigation to be opened into Johnson, it could potentially make the prime minister’s position untenable.
The Charlotte Edwardes scandal
On Sunday journalist Charlotte Edwardes wrote a piece alleging that Johnson had groped both herself and another woman at a lunch hosted by the Spectator magazine, which Johnson was at the time the editor.
“Under the table, I feel Johnson’s hand on my thigh,” Edwardes wrote.
“He gives it a squeeze. His hand is high up my leg and he has enough inner flesh beneath his fingers to make me sit suddenly upright.
“My mother always said: ‘Wear a badge to the cinema with which to stab the wandering hands.’ But this is work, so I am silent.”
Read more:Boris Johnson denies groping journalist Charlotte Edwardes’ thigh while editor of the Spectator
Edwardes claims that after the incident another woman present at the lunch told her that Johnson had done the same to her.
A spokesperson for Johnson on Monday denied that Johnson had groped Edwardes.
“This allegation is untrue,” the spokesperson said, while refusing to take any further questions on the story.
However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Sunday backed Edwardes, telling Channel 4 News: “I know Charlotte well, and I entirely trust what she has to say.”
Following Johnson’s denial Edwardes tweeted: “If the prime minister doesn’t recollect the incident then clearly I have a better memory than he does.”
Taken in isolation, and given Johnson’s outright denial, Edwardes’ claims are unlikely to immediately threaten his position.
However, if any other women were to come forward with similar allegations then the prime minister could be in serious political trouble.
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