Corbyn criticises media over coverage of Johnson claims

Jeremy Corbyn has criticised parts of the media for not giving enough attention to newspaper allegations that Boris Johnson failed to declare potential conflicts of interest while London mayor.

The report in the Sunday Times that the Labour leader referred to was in relation to claims about the allocation of public money to an American woman.

Mr Corbyn said: "There was something important in one of the Sunday papers today about an alleged abuse of power and misuse of public funds by Boris Johnson before he became Prime Minister.

"But, do you know what? Lots of the media have barely touched it. Incredible, isn't it?

"This is about the man who is the Prime Minister of our country."

Referring to an appearance on BBC One's The Andrew Marr show by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Mr Corbyn said: "I was on the BBC's flagship news programme this morning and I was asked about a range of issues.

"That's fine. It's right. It's justified. It's how our democracy works.

"But I was followed by Boris Johnson's deputy, who was asked nothing about these allegations.

"This is how the establishment works. They close ranks. They put privilege first.

"Things have to change.

"Labour will put people first before privilege."

Mr Corbyn's remarks came after the Sunday Times reported the potential conflicts arose through Mr Johnson's association with model-turned technology entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri, who moved to London seven years ago.

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The paper says Ms Arcuri was given £126,000 of public money and was afforded privileged access to three foreign trade missions Mr Johnson led.

Jon Trickett, Labour's shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, said Mr Johnson should provide full disclosure on the allegations.

"Boris Johnson must now give a full account of his actions in response to these grave and most serious allegations of the misuse use of public money in his former role as mayor of London," Mr Trickett said in a statement.

"The public has a right to know how and why these funds were used for the benefit of a close personal friend without on the face of it legitimate reason.

"This cannot be swept under the carpet. It is a matter of the integrity of the man now leading our country, who appears to believe he can get away with anything."

Ms Arcuri, now 34, was quoted by the Sunday Times as saying: "Any grants received by my companies and any trade mission I joined were purely in respect of my role as a legitimate businesswoman."

She did not comment on the nature of her relationship with Mr Johnson.

Downing Street has declined to comment.

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