She is a former model and self-proclaimed tech expert who caught Boris Johnson’s eye when he was mayor of London.

American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri went on to accompany the Conservative politician around the world on trade jaunts while her firm received thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ cash. 

She also gave the man who would go on to be Prime Minister private IT lessons in her Shoreditch flat, where she had installed a pole-dancer’s pole – as a conversation starter, she says.

Thanks to his patronage – it is claimed – Ms Arcuri also felt confident enough to apply for a £100,000 job at London’s technology quango when she was a 27-year-old student. 

For weeks, questions have mounted over whether Mr Johnson failed to declare a conflict of interest over their ties.

But speaking publicly for the first time yesterday since the storm, Ms Arcuri denied there had been any impropriety and came out fighting at suggestions there had been anything untoward about receiving the attention of such a high-profile politician. 

During an interview with Good Morning Britain, said to have been arranged after a bidding war between competing media organisations, the 34-year-old said she did not want her words to be “weaponised” against Mr Johnson.

However, she pointedly refused to either confirm or deny their relationship had as much to do with bedrooms as boardrooms, saying that such matters were no-one’s business but her own. 

Instead she said she and Mr Johnson, who she saved on her phone as “Alex the Great”, bonded over their “mutual love of classic literature”.

The technology entrepreneur refused to answer whether she had had a sexual relationship with Mr Johnson, saying that it is “really categorically no-one’s business what private life we had, or didn’t have”.

She told the programme during the hour-long interview: “I had a wonderful opportunity to get to know somebody. And it was really fun to be able to share the love of Shakespeare and literature with someone like that.

“So for that I really enjoyed, you know, being able to be his friend and be able to, you know, share in that kind of passion for literature.

“But Boris is extremely personable. He cares a lot about this country, and he cares a lot about people. And I, you know, he is a guy you want to hang out with.”

Asked if she ever loved Mr Johnson, she said: “I’ve been asked that many times.  And I care about him deeply as a friend, and we do share a very close bond, but I wish him well.

“I want them to be happy. I wish Carrie [Symonds] well, and like I said, I really do want him to focus on making Britain great again.”

Ms Arcuri first encountered Mr Johnson when she joined his campaign for re-election as mayor while studying in London, and went on to found the Innotech Network, which hosted discussions on tech policy between investors, business leaders, politicians and think tanks.

Mayor Johnson was the keynote speaker at the first of the Innotech conferences in 2012, and went on to appear at at least four other events.

In 2013 is has been reported that that Ms Arcuri received £12,000 in sponsorship from the mayor’s London & Partners investment agency to host a summit during the World Islamic Economic Forum, and later gained privileged access to three foreign trade missions led by Mr Johnson.

Her presence on two of the jaunts, including one to Tel Aviv in Israel, came despite being told not to apply because her business would not qualify. 

Over the weekend, the Sunday Times also reported that Mr Johnson wrote a letter recommending Ms Arcuri for a job as the head of a technology quango when he was in City Hall.

Leaked emails seen by the Sunday Times suggested Mr Johnson was listed as a reference in her application for the role at Tech City.

In an email leaked to the paper, she allegedly later wrote: “I still have the letter of rec from Boris. hahaha. To think that we asked him to write us a recommendation for the CEO of Tech City is just hysterical.”

She listed “Boris Johnson, Mayor of London” as a reference on the application, according to the paper’s report.

During her interview Ms Arcuri did admit that the stories about private meetings at her home, which came to light last month, were true – saying they had been there a “handful” of times, adding that she did not have time for the media attention surrounding him when they met in public.

“We tried having drinks out in public or having lunch; it just became too much of a mob show, so I said ‘You just have to come to my office’,” she said.

Ms Arcuri, who said the press has turned her into an “objectified ex-model pole dancer”, said Mr Johnson “asked me to show him a few things” on the pole in her flat.

Describing it as a “conversation starter”, she said she and Mr Johnson “always had a laugh about it”, adding: “The pole stood in the living room, yes, he saw the pole.”

Ms Arcuri, who said she stopped regularly speaking to Mr Johnson when she became pregnant at the end of 2016, said she had not been part of three trade missions because of her relationship with Mr Johnson, but due to the work she was doing.

She added: “At the end of the day, I was allowed to go on that trade mission as a delegate because of who I was.”

Commenting on Ms Arcuri’s interview, John McDonnell, Labour’s shadow chancellor, said: “As Mayor, Boris Johnson had a duty under the Greater London Authority code of conduct to declare his friendship with Jennifer Arcuri and not to act in a way that benefited her business.

“Regardless of the exact nature of his relationship with Arcuri, it is clear that she and Boris Johnson were close, and that he misled the public when 
he said ‘there was no interest to declare’.

“The Prime Minister is unfit for office. This morning has thrown up even more questions for Boris Johnson, which can only be answered with a full investigation into the apparent misuse of public funds.”

When asked whether the Prime Minister had made contact with her since the story hit the headlines, she said: “I think Boris has enough on his plate right now.”