Charlotte Edwardes: Number 10 denies journalist’s claim that Boris Johnson squeezed her thigh
Written by News on 30/09/2019
Downing Street has denied a journalist’s claim that Boris Johnson squeezed her thigh.
A Number 10 spokesman said: “This allegation is untrue.”
The claim was made by Charlotte Edwardes, who has now told Sky News: “If the prime minister doesn’t recollect the incident then clearly I have a better memory than he does.”
Writing her first column for The Sunday Times, she said the alleged incident took place at the London offices of The Spectator shortly after Mr Johnson became editor of the magazine in 1999.
Ms Edwardes claimed he squeezed her thigh under the table during a private lunch.
She wrote: “I’m seated on Johnson’s right; on his left is a young woman I know.
“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.”
After the lunch, she said she had confided in the young woman who was sitting on the other side of Mr Johnson, who told her: “Oh God, he did exactly the same to me.”
Labour’s shadow secretary for women and equalities, Dawn Butler, said it was a “shocking but sadly all too familiar story”.
She tweeted: “What is it about powerful men feeling entitled to harass women? Boris Johnson has serious questions to answer.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock played down the report, saying there were “always lots of other stories in papers”.
Speaking at a Tory party fringe event in Manchester, he said: “Boris has never lectured other people about their private lives.
“I think that we should concentrate on delivering on what we are in politics for, which in my view is to serve the citizens of this country.”
But Mr Hancock, speaking about Ms Edwardes on Channel 4 News, later said: “I know her and I know her to be trustworthy.”
He added: “I know Charlotte well and I entirely trust what she has to say.”
Former work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd, who quit Mr Johnson’s government and surrendered the Conservative whip in the House of Commons earlier this month, posted on Twitter: “I agree with @MattHancock.”
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson says he has “no interest to declare” over his links with former model Jennifer Arcuri.
It follows claims the American entrepreneur received public money and privileged access to foreign trade missions while Mr Johnson was London mayor.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct is considering whether there are grounds to investigate the prime minister for the criminal offence of misconduct in public office. Mr Johnson has consistently denied any wrongdoing