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Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, has insisted that an investigation he ordered into allegations about his predecessor Boris Johnson and the US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri will be independent and was not politically motivated.

The Labour mayor said the claims of conflict of interest against Johnson were serious and that he had a duty to launch an investigation. He also insisted that he would have nothing to do with the probe, which will conducted by the chief counsel to the London Fire Brigade, Kathryn Robinson.

Speaking on LBC radio on Thursday, Khan said the inquiry will focus on claims that Johnson had failed to declare an interest when his promotional agency, London & Partners, awarded Arcuri’s firm £11,500 in sponsorship. It gave her a place on international trade missions despite failing to meet the eligibility criteria.

Khan said the investigation was “absolutely not” concerned with how Johnson conducted his personal life.

Khan said: “I can’t be the judge and jury. I saw a Sunday newspaper containing allegations against Boris Johnson. They are serious allegations. It would be improper for me as a Labour mayor, taking over from Boris Johnson, to investigate these allegations.

“What I did was I asked to my chief of staff to ask a separate official, from the London Fire Brigade, to look into this.” Khan rejected Johnson’s suggestion that the inquiry was “politically motivated”.

He insisted he would have launched a similar investigation if the same kind of allegations had been made against the former Labour mayor Ken Livingstone. He said: “I’m quite clear and comfortable that we’ve been impartial and straight in relation to this.” Referring to Robinson, he said: “I’m not sure if I’ve even met her.” Read more

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