Boris Johnson Blames Anti-Brexit Campaigners, Mayor Khan for Historic Allegations

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 30: Prime Minister Boris Johnson listens to Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer as he delivers his speech on the second day of the Conservative Party Conference at Manchester Central on September 30, 2019 in Manchester, England. Despite Parliament voting against a government motion to award …
Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has implied the sudden arrival of a variety of historic allegations about improper relationships with women are part of a “concerted effort now to frustrate Brexit”.

While Mr Johnson fell short of saying himself that the allegations were being made now as a means to derail Brexit, he told interviewers on Tuesday morning that he understood it is “generally” thought to be the case. Speaking to LBC radio ahead of the penultimate day of the Conservative Party’s annual conference, the prime minister — who presently faces accusations that he squeezed a woman’s thigh in the 1990s and that he acted improperly with a female entrepreneur during his time as London mayor — asserted his belief that the present London mayor may be behind some of the claims.

Speaking of Labour’s Sadiq Khan, the vocally anti-Brexit mayor of London, when asked about Jennifer Arcuri, a former model turned businesswoman who received money from the government, Mr Johnson said: “A lot of this, I think, is being generated by the current Mayor of London who seems to have many more press officers… he certainly puts more money into his own PR than he does into projects for the benefit of Londoners. Quite frankly looking at his own record both on policing, and on housing, and on transport, I think it is a scandal.”

When pressed specifically why accusations about his alleged past behaviour were surfacing now, the prime minister said it is because he is conceived as “the person who’s going to deliver Brexit” by “quite a lot of people who don’t want Brexit to be done”, The Times reports. Developing the point, he told LBC: “…I think there’s a very good reason. And that is I have been tasked one way or another to get Brexit done by October 31st, and there are quite a lot of well-meaning and highly intelligent people who basically think that would be something they don’t want to see.

“I think there is a concerted effort now to frustrate Brexit. I think that is a mistake and it would be very sad for our democracy if that were to happen. I think we need to get on and deliver the will of the British people.

“When people voted leave in 2016, 17.4 million, that was the biggest ever expression of a popular view on any subject, for any party, for any programme… all I can say is that allegation is certainly not true, and generally is you asked why, is all this shot and shell raining down on the government, I think it’s because we are going to get on and deliver Brexit by October 31st… but also I think it is an attempt, possibly, to distract from our domestic agenda.”

While insisting he did not wish to “minimise” the subject of allegations, Mr Johnson also insisted that he denied the claims.

The Prime Minister’s remarks follow others he made in the Houses of Parliament last week, when he again spoke of efforts to frustrate Brexit. He told the House that it was their fault the United Kingdom had not yet left the European Union, saying: “Three years ago more people voted to leave the European Union than had ever voted for any party or proposition in our nation’s history. Politicians of all parties promised they would honour the result. Sadly, many have since done all they could to abandon those promises and to overturn that democratic vote… The truth is the majority opposite are not opposed to no deal, they don’t want Brexit to happen at all.”

The path forward for Brexit remains somewhat unclear. While October 31st remains the legal withdrawal date, Parliament has also passed the so-called Benn Act which legally compels the prime minister to ask for an extension to that date, although Mr Johnson appears rooted to his previous promise to deliver Brexit on that date “do or die”. It is presently thought the prime minister is seeking loopholes to deliver his promise while keeping to the letter of the law — for instance, technically requesting such an extension while making it clear in private to European leaders that the request should be rejected.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.