Boris Johnson and Jennifer Arcuri probe finds tougher rules needed in City Hall

 (Handout )
(Handout )

Politicians who breach the City Hall code of conduct should face sanctions under tougher rules needed after the Jennifer Arcuri affair, a report said on Tuesday.

A cross-party inquiry said the Greater London Authority should consider possible sanctions that could be taken against a mayor or London Assembly members, while strengthening the rules on “non-pecuniary interests”, such as a personal or private relationship.

The investigation was launched after Boris Johnson was reported in 2019 to have failed to declare a series of potential conflicts of interest in relation to his relationship with Ms Arcuri while he was mayor.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct subsequently found in 2020 that there was no need for a criminal investigation into allegations of misconduct in public office by Mr Johnson, then serving as Prime Minister, despite finding he may have been in an “intimate relationship” with Ms Arcuri.

Today’s report, by the GLA oversight committee, did not say what form the sanctions should take, but the Committee for Standards into Public Life has previously suggested a six-month ban without pay should apply to councillors.

The report said the GLA code of conduct needed strengthening to ensure that any mayor or assembly member should be in no doubt that they should declare non-pecuniary interests.

The committee said the evidence it had received from Ms Arcuri, via a web link, was “frank and honest”.

She had received £126,000 in public funds and took part in four foreign trips while Mr Johnson was mayor. In addition, Mr Johnson spoke at four of her events in London.

Caroline Pidgeon, who chaired the oversight committee, said: “It is clear the [GLA] code has potential gaps and areas where strengthening is needed.”