Misconduct and misinformation: sexual allegations against Boris Johnson

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Charlotte Edwardes, a journalist Prime Minister Boris Johnson worked with at the Spectator, has alleged in her column in the Sunday Times that he, then editor, squeezed her thigh and that of another woman during a dinner in 1999. When prompted by a Sky News journalist on whether this was true, Johnson replied with, “no, and I think what the public want to hear is about what we’re doing to level up and unite the country.”

This response is representative of his tenure as Prime Minister thus far, and it is astounding to me that he can still maintain this kind of discourse. Of course, it has been met with scrutiny; but as he often does, Boris manages to remove himself from any significant or prolonged enquiry, instead changing its focus to his rallying call over Brexit. In a blunt response, he doesn’t even try to defend himself; he immediately says ‘no’, before trying to derailing into his romanticised propaganda over the apparent societal unification that one of the most divisive issues in the history of British politics will provide.

The people who would vote for this government don’t want to hear about Johnson inappropriately touching a woman without consent – they couldn’t care less. They are instead happy to hear Johnson’s nonsensical drivel, as long as it brings them Brexit. It’s worrying to think about what that says about the British public. Many of them would rather allow the upholding of a vote that was brought to them through a campaign of misinformation; a campaign spearheaded by the same man who lies to them now, than care for the pathetic example Johnson gives of how women should be treated.

It seems that with each week that passes, Johnson becomes more and more like his similarly moronic American counterpart. We’ve seen before, with President Trump’s campaign, that “grabbing people by the pussy” is no aversion to the conservative and sensationalised promises that appeal to the disenfranchised nationalist voter. ‘Who cares about what my daughter thinks of whoever is leading the free world, just so long as he keeps out all the immigrants! Right?’ His words seemingly have no significant consequence – and it is because he knows this that he is allowed to do and say what he wants and get away with it.

This specific issue of sexual misconduct and how Johnson treats women is nothing new, and the public have been well aware of this. We don’t know how many children he has; it’s been widely reported that he’s had multiple affairs in the past. Only recently, before he became Prime Minister, an alleged argument at his home with his partner was so loud that it prompted the neighbours to call the police. His image and reputation are assimilating into that of a desperate, power-hungry oaf. He is hellbent on furthering his own career at the cost of the women in his life the example set, the lies told- and his party’s policies of austerity and division.

Johnson also, allegedly, gave American model and entrepreneur, Jennifer Acuri, more than £100,000 of public money and access to overseas trade missions during his time as Mayor of London. He has, of course, denied an affair with her and any kind of conflict of interest, complying with the request to provide details and a timeline of all contact with Ms Acuri to the London Assembly, who deemed his response ‘insufficient’. Chair of the London Assembly’s Oversight Committee, Len Duvall, stated “We did finally receive a response from Boris Johnson, through his solicitors, which they have indicated may not be published”.

I’m not surprised by any of it. The man who is seemingly leading our country into a divisive abyss denies and protects the privacy of his own misdoings, thus far, without failure. Johnson’s dangerous rhetoric is underpinned by numerous allegations and inquires of which he refutes and averts. The secrecy he demands over such issues is pathetic and his dialogue is almost always, to say the absolute least, insufficient.

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