- "Oh God, he did exactly the same to me," another young woman responded, when Edwardes explained the incident.
- "This allegation is untrue," a Downing Street spokesman has responded in a quick rejoinder.
- This new scandal has come out at a time when Johnson is already facing a criminal investigation because of his relationship with an American businesswoman.
In news reports carried by several media outlets, a journalist claims that Boris Johnson stroked her thigh insistently in 1999. Charlotte Edwardes said the incident occurred during a luncheon at the offices of The Spectator magazine in London shortly after Boris Johnson became editor-in-chief.
“I’m seated on Johnson’s right; on his left is a young woman I know. More wine is poured; more wine is drunk,” Ms. Edwardes wrote. “Under the table I feel Johnson’s hand on my thigh. 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,” she says.
At the time young journalist, Edwardes explains having talked to a young woman who was also sitting with Johnson at the luncheon. She allegedly responded, “oh God, he did exactly the same to me.” Ms. Edwardes claims she did not report the issue to the authorities about Mr. Johnson’s alleged sexual harassment because “this is work, so I am silent.”
Downing Street Denies Accusation
“This allegation is untrue,” a Downing Street spokesman has responded in a quick rejoinder. “If the prime minister doesn’t recollect the incident, then clearly I have a better memory than he does,” Edwardes replied on Twitter.
The Sunday Times reporter received the support of Health Minister Matt Hancock, who unsuccessfully ran against Johnson for his party’s leadership in July. “I know Charlotte well, and I entirely trust what she has to say. I know her and I know her to be trustworthy,” he told Channel 4 news. Hancock has received support from Amber Rudd, the former work and pensions secretary who recently resigned from Mr. Johnson’s government. She tweeted, “I agree with MattHancock.”
This new scandal has come out at a time when Johnson is already facing a criminal investigation because of his relationship with an American businesswoman, Jennifer Arcuri. It is alleged Arcuri benefited in the form of public funds she received when Johnson was Mayor of London. The Sunday Times claims they had an affair and did not declare any potential conflicts of interest.
“Allegations have been brought to the attention of the Monitoring Officer that Boris Johnson maintained a friendship with Jennifer Arcuri and as a result of that friendship allowed Ms Arcuri to participate in trade missions and receive sponsorship monies in circumstances when she and her companies could not have expected otherwise to receive those benefits,” a GLA statement said.
Recently, when the Prime Minister was interviewed by the BBC’s Andrew Marr, and asked if he declared his friendship with Arcuri, Boris responded “everything was done in accordance with the code (of conduct),” and that “everything was done with full propriety.” Separated last year from his wife Marina Wheeler, the Prime Minister has been dating Carrie Symonds, a 24-year-old junior communications specialist, who is currently accompanying him to the Conservative Party’s annual convention, which runs until Wednesday in Manchester.