By Asif Hussain
LONDON (AA) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of groping a journalist.
According to Charlotte Edwardes, The Sunday Times journalist, the alleged incident took place in 1999 when he was the editor of The Spectator. Edwardes accused Johnson of grabbing her inner thigh, “enough [to make her] sit upright” at a lunch.
Johnson denies the allegations, but refused to comment on whether he thought Edwardes was lying.
Later, Downing Street issued a statement saying the accusations are not true.
Earlier in the day, Sajid Javid, chancellor of the exchequer, reiterated the denial, saying: “I’ve talked to the Prime Minister about that, and first of all, he couldn’t be clearer […] that [the claims] are completely untrue.”
Javid’s support for Johnson, however, does not completely accord with other Cabinet ministers, with the Health Secretary Matt Hancock telling Channel 4 News: “I know her [Edwardes], and I know her to be trustworthy.”
The news came in the midst of the Conservative Party Conference that has been derailed by these revelations, and those regarding Johnson’s alleged relationship with entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri while he was mayor of London.
The conference runs till Wednesday when the prime minister is expected to address attendees.