British prime minister Boris Johnson will not face a criminal inquiry into his former relationship with United States businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri while he was London’s mayor.
He will, however, face additional investigation into his conduct as mayor, after the Independent Office for Police Conduct unearthed evidence that his close ties with Arcuri influenced officials.
Arcuri was reportedly awarded thousands of pounds in public money, plenty of which stemmed from Johnson’s promotional agency London & Partners (L&P).
“We found no evidence to indicate that Mr Johnson influenced the payment of any sponsorship monies to Ms Arcuri or that he influenced or played an active part in securing her participation in trade missions,” said Independent Office for Police Conduct director general Michael Lockwood.
“While there was no evidence that Mr Johnson influenced the payment of sponsorship monies or participation in trade missions, there was evidence to suggest that those officers making decisions about sponsorship monies and attendance on trade missions thought that there was a close relationship between Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri, and this influenced their decision-making.”
What the IOPC have to say
The IOPC has suggested the Greater London Authority review London & Partners’ policies and processes, with focus on the the payment of sponsorship money.
“The IOPC was looking specifically at whether he committed a criminal offence. That’s not our remit and their decision doesn’t have any real bearing on our investigation, which will focus on his conduct as mayor of London,” said Greater London Authority oversight committee chairperson Len Duvall.
“Everyone who holds public office, whether you’re the mayor of London, or indeed the prime minister, is expected to adhere to the principles of public life – including integrity, selflessness, openness and honesty, to name a few.
“Our investigation will consider whether Johnson conducted himself in a way that’s expected from anyone in that position. It’s important we get those answers, because Londoners deserve to have their politicians held accountable.
“The oversight committee will take into account the current emergency when looking at the timetable for the investigation.”
Duvall’s oversight committee works to lower standards of proof than the “beyond reasonable doubt” threshold needed for criminal action. It can, however, apply other sanctions beyond a public report.