Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson was strongly trying to showcase his shiny new proposal for the people but the annual conference of his party has been overshadowed by accusations about how he treats women.
The Sunday Times recently claimed that Johnson groped her thigh – “high up” – at a magazine lunch in 1999 but 10 Downing Street claimed it to be “Untrue”. Mr. Johnson was also accused of misusing his position as mayor of London to grant favorable treatment to a friend, U.S. businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri.
According to British news reports, Arcuri told friends she and Johnson were having an affair. She has received thousands of pounds from a government agency that Johnson oversaw. Johnson claims to have “no interest to declare” in Arcuri’s firm.
Moreover, he prompted outrage among female lawmakers for seeming to dismiss their suggestion that his martial rhetoric – accusing his opponents of “surrender” encourages threats against them.
The Sunday Times over the weekend declared, “on the second anniversary of #MeToo, our new columnist recalls a scandalous encounter with the prime minister.”
The new columnist is Charlotte Edwardes, and her first column told of how Johnson groped her and another woman at a magazine lunch. Edwardes described the atmosphere at the Spectator in the late 1990s, when Johnson was editor and she a contributor.
It was, she wrote, “essentially a magazine for old Tories, but also a place famous for hiring pneumatic twentysomething interns with posh degrees. No one minds calling these clean-skinned, shiny-eyed girls ‘totty,’ even to their clean-skinned, shiny-eyed faces. They are not Bambis in the forest exactly. They are smoking, drinking, knowing. They witness the back-room mischief of the political classes. Which is fun.”
She set the mood for the luncheon as “louche, loud, risque.”
Edwardes reported, “Wine is poured; wine is drunk.”
It continued, “I’m seated on Johnson’s right; on his left is a young woman I know. I can’t remember any Bambis that day. Maybe we were the Bambis. More wine is poured; more wine is drunk. Under the table, I feel Johnson’s hand on my thigh. He gives it a squeeze. His hand is high up my leg and he has enough inner flesh beneath his fingers to make me sit suddenly upright.”
Edwardes wrote on Twitter, “If the prime minister doesn’t recollect the incident then clearly I have a better memory than he does,” as a reply after Johnson’s flak-catchers denied the allegations.