MPs today demanded answers over Boris Johnson’s ‘friends with benefits’ ties to a former model who received more than £100,000 in government grants.
Politicians lined up to grill ministers on the mounting controversy as the House of Commons resumed sitting after the bombshell Supreme Court ruling.
American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, 34, received thousands in public money after becoming close friends with Mr Johnson when he was London Mayor.
The Government is investigating £100,000 of taxpayers’ money given this year to one of her companies.
On Monday Mr Johnson refused to answer questions about whether he had an affair with Miss Arcuri.
The businesswoman has told friends she did not have a relationship with Mr Johnson.
The pole-dancing ex-model explained his repeated daytime visits by saying he just wanted to ‘be hip’ and learn about computers.
Speaking for the first time since the story broke on Sunday, Jennifer Arcuri told a friend ‘there’s no way’ anything took place with Boris Johnson
The pole-dancing ex-model (right) explained Mr Johnson’s (left) repeated daytime visits by saying he just wanted to ‘be hip’ and learn about computers
Digital minister Matt Warman (pictured) insisted there was ‘no reason to think there is anything untoward’ about the allocation of public money
Married Mr Johnson, 55, faces demands to justify the public grants and favours given to the entrepreneur.
But digital minister Matt Warman insisted there was ‘no reason to think there is anything untoward’ about the allocation of public money.
Asking an urgent question in Parliament, Lib Dem MP Layla Moran said: ‘The fact that we are back in the Commons today is because the Prime Minister has been shown to ride rough-shod over the laws of this land.
‘It would indeed be disappointing if we were to find that the prime minister has form in bending the rules for personal or political gain.
Digital minister Matt Warman told the Commons that MPs needed to be careful of spreading ‘tittle tattle’ about the grant. saying it had been awarded ‘by officials through the proper process’.
‘The Prime Minister and his staff have had absolutely no role in the award of this grant,’ he said.
He added: ‘We have no reason to think there is anything untoward in this particular matter.’
Labour MP Tulip Siddiq pressed Mr Warman to ‘assure the House that there will be no other examples of ”friends with benefits” funding from DCMS or any other department’.
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said it was ‘very difficult’ to see how the company fulfilled the criteria for the grants.
The broader questions, he argued, needed answering ‘because they keep coming back to the current Prime Minister’, adding: ‘The issue of whether he has represented the interests of this company or other companies require scrutiny.’
Labour MP Tulip Siddiq (pictured) pressed Mr Warman to ‘assure the House that there will be no other examples of ”friends with benefits” funding from DCMS or any other department’
He added: ‘This is fundamentally a question of character and of suitability. Is the Prime Minister of sufficient character to occupy high office and disburse public funds, is he suitable?
‘Does he understand that the trappings and privileges of power come with restrictions and restraints? Is he capable of restraining himself?
‘The truth is that our Prime Minister does reckless things. He is a man whose character renders him unsuitable and unfit for the office he holds.
‘I want answers to these questions but we all know the broader essential truth, we can all see who Boris Johnson is.’
Mr Warman replied: ‘The Prime Minister has had no role whatsoever in this application.’
Yesterday the entrepreneur was said to have insisted their one-to-one sessions were to help him better understand technology. Speaking for the first time since the story broke on Sunday, she told a friend ‘there’s no way’ anything took place.
‘He may have been very flirtatious but literally nothing happened,’ the friend said. ‘And yeah, he did go to her flat. But he was trying to be hip, and understand tech. He would come over to get educated. Nothing happened. He lived near her and they became friends.’
Yesterday Miss Arcuri’s mother and stepfather said their daughter had denied any impropriety. A family friend added: ‘He sponsored her. He didn’t s***w her.’
Speaking from their home in Louisville, Kentucky, her stepfather John Jendrezejewski, 71, said: ‘No way would there have been a sexual relationship. The idea is ridiculous. They weren’t best of friends although good friends.’