The Conservative party helped Boris Johnson pay his legal fees after he was accused of abusing his position to “benefit and reward” Jennifer Arcuri while London mayor.
A police complaints watchdog found “no evidence” that Johnson had influenced payments to Arcuri – with whom he had a four-year affair – and did not start a criminal investigation.
Now it has emerged that the Tory party gave the embattled prime minister “financial support”, which they claimed was because Labour had made the issue “party-political”.
Downing Street has refused to say whether Johnson will give evidence to a Greater London Authority inquiry into whether her acted with “honesty and integrity” in relations with Arcuri during his time at City Hall.
Johnson’s protracted four-year affair with the American businesswoman is back in the spotlight after she revealed the extent of the pair’s relationship.
Arcuri said they met up once a week at the start of the affair, and professed to a mutual “physical and intellectual attraction” with Johnson in a bombshell interview with the Mirror.
She revealed that the pair shared a love of Shakespeare, and that she codenamed Johnson Alexander the Great. The prime minister, she added, “couldn’t keep his hands off me”.
But she accused Johnson of being a “cowardly wet noodle” for not standing by her in a row over her controversial presence on foreign trade trips.
Arcuri, 35, said her romance with Boris, who was Mayor of London at the time, lasted from 2012 to 2016, while he was married to ex-wife Marina Wheeler – the mother of for of his children.
Questions about the pair’s relationship first surfaced two years ago when it emerged that Arcuri was allowed on three taxpayer-funded trade missions led by Johnson.
“We were in an intimate relationship for four years,” she said. “I loved him, and with good cause. But the man I thought I knew doesn’t exist any more.”
Johnson spoke at a series of technology events organised by Arcuri, who was also invited on three taxpayer-funded trade missions led by the then-mayor. Her companies also received £126,000 of public cash in sponsorships and grants.
An inquiry by the Independent Office for Police Conduct found no grounds for a criminal investigation into the prime minister’s actions last May.
A Conservative Party spokesperson said of the IOPC investigation: “This was a party-political matter, given this was a politically vexatious and motivated exercise by Labour politicians.
“Financial legal support was funded by the Conservative Party, as the matter was clearly a party political attack.”
They added that the IOPC had thrown out the “spurious complaint”, adding: “The House of Commons registrar was consulted [about the payment to the prime minister], and all appropriate rules were followed.”