A former adviser to Boris Johnson has claimed that the prime minister asked for his friend Jennifer Arcuri to be included in a trade trip to Israel while he was mayor of London, it has been reported.

The ex-City Hall worker told Sky News that organisers of the visit were “shocked” to see the US businesswoman join them on the visit to Tel Aviv.

Speaking under condition of anonymity, the official said they understood that the mayor had personally asked for her to be involved, even though the visit was focused on a different sector of industry.

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Mr Johnson is facing a possible investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct into whether he breached laws on misconduct in public office over his links to Ms Arcuri.

He insists that there was no impropriety in his relationship with the businesswoman, who has been awarded a total of £126,000 in public money in a series of grants as well as allegedly being granted preferential access to three mayoral trade missions.

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1/50 3 October 2019

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29/50 5 September 2019

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon cuts the hair of David Torrance MSP raising £1000 for the charity Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

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31/50 3 September 2019

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32/50 2 September 2019

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33/50 1 September 2019

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35/50 30 August 2019

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37/50 28 August 2019

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39/50 26 August 2019

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40/50 25 August 2019

A competitor swims in the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Llanwryd Wells, Powys
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42/50 23 August 2019

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43/50 22 August 2019

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow DEFRA Secretary Sue Hayman during a visit to Rakefoot Farm, Castlerigg, Keswick where they are highlighting the danger of a No Deal Brexit to sheep farmers
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45/50 20 August 2019

Police officers gather to pay their respects at the scene near Ufton Lane, where Thames Valley Police officer PC Andrew Harper, 28, died on Thursday. Jed Foster, 20, has appeared at Reading Magristrates’ Court where denied any involvement with the murder

46/50 19 August 2019

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47/50 18 August 2019

England fielders crowd Pat Cummins as he see’s out the final over during day five of the second Ashes Test match against Australia at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The test ended in a draw

48/50 17 August 2019

Glew (centre) and Monroe Adams (right) pose for a selfie with a member of the public outside DragWorld London 2019, Europe’s largest drag convention, featuring drag stars from the US and UK during a two-day event at Olympia, London

49/50 16 August 2019

A grey seal with fishing net tangled around its neck amongst the colony on the beach at Horsey in Norfolk, as RSPCA data show the number of animals affected by plastic litter is at an all-time high, with incidents increasing by 22% in just four years

50/50 15 August 2019

A flock of sheep are herded past government buildings in London by members of Farmers for a People’s Vote, a campaign group
Police stands in front of the Treasury building during an Extinction Rebellion protest in London

2/50 2 October 2019

Ex-Thomas Cook employees demonstrate in London after delivering a petition calling for a full inquiry into Thomas Cook’s collapse and for the company’s directors to pay back their bonuses
A road in Alum Rock, Birmingham is flooded after persistent heavy rain
Two tourists pose for pictures in front of Union and EU flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London

5/50 29 September 2019

A sheep on London Bridge as Freemen of the City of London took up their historic entitlement to drive sheep over the bridge, which was once London’s only river crossing

6/50 28 September 2019

An Aldabra giant tortoise is fed watermelon as a treat at the Malvern Autumn Show, at the Three Counties Showground near Malvern in Worcestershire

7/50 27 September 2019

Gallery assistants pose with an artwork entitled ‘Devolved Parliament’ by British artist Banksy, during a press view in London ahead of Sotheby’s contemporary art sale, as part of the Frieze Art Fair

8/50 26 September 2019

England’s Jonathan Joseph is tackled by United State’s Marcel Brache during their group match at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. England scored seven tries on their way to winning 45-7

9/50 25 September 2019

Tributes for former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen at Ibrox Stadium. Today, the funeral procession will pass Ibrox Stadium before making the journey to Wellington Church

10/50 24 September 2019

A person dressed as a caricature of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a prison uniform stands outside the Supreme Court after it ruled that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal

11/50 23 September 2019

Thomas Cook aircraft are parked up at Manchester Airport on the day they collapsed after rescue talks failed. A total of 22,000 jobs – including 9,000 in UK – are to be lost following administration. More than 150,000 British holidaymakers need to be brought home, with the government and CAA hiring dozens of charter planes to fly customers home free of charge

12/50 22 September 2019

Fire performer Penella Bee performs before people take part in the North East Skinny Dip at Druridge Bay in Nothumberland, an annual event that marks the Autumn Equinox and raises money for MIND – the Mental Health Charity

13/50 21 September 2019

Protesters gather for a march and rally organised by “The People’s Vote” in Brighton, to call for politicians to give the public a final say referendum on Brexit

14/50 20 September 2019

Protesters in London joined millions across world to demand urgent action to save planet in the largest environmental protest in history

15/50 19 September 2019

Rapper Dave poses with the Mercury Prize: Albums of the Year Award at Apollo
A surfer in action during sunrise at Tynemouth on the north east coast

17/50 17 September 2019

Protesters dressed as the Incredible Hulk and Robocop outside the Supreme Court in London where judges are due to consider legal challenges to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament. The Supreme Court will hear appeals over three days from two separate challenges to the prorogation of Parliament brought in England and Scotland

18/50 16 September 2019

Farmer Tom Hoggard harvests pumpkins at Howe Bridge Farm in Yorkshire, ahead of Halloween

19/50 15 September 2019

Team Europe celebrate winning the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Scotland. Europe won the last three singles matches to claim victory 14½-13½
Activists from PETA stage a demonstration outside a venue during London Fashion Week in London, Britain
Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne attempts to stop a boundary in the fifth Test

23/50 11 September 2019

Storm clouds gather over the pier just off the North East coast at South Shields
The peloton rides past the Angel of the North during stage four of the Tour of Britain from Gateshead to Kendal
A penny farthing cyclist rides past St. John’s, Smith Square, Westminster, London
Australia celebrate the wicket of England’s Craig Overton, which meant they won the fourth test and retained the Ashes

27/50 7 September 2019

Manchester City celebrate after Caroline Weir scored during their Women’s Super League match against Manchester United at Etihad Stadium. The WSL attendance record was smashed with 31,213 people watching the first Manchester derby of Women’s Super League era – nearly six times the previous WSL record

28/50 6 September 2019

A bull bumps into a plain clothes police officer (left) while being walked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his visit to Darnford Farm in Banchory near Aberdeen. It coincided with the publication of Lord Bew’s review and an announcement of extra funding for Scottish farmers

29/50 5 September 2019

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon cuts the hair of David Torrance MSP raising £1000 for the charity Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

30/50 4 September 2019

Australia’s David Warner looks dejected after being dismissed by England’s Stuart Broad during day one of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford in Manchester

31/50 3 September 2019

Anti Brexit demonstrators attend a protest at Parliament Square. Lawmakers returned from their summer recess Tuesday for a pivotal day in British politics as they challenged Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s insistence that the UK leave the European Union on 31 October, even without a withdrawal agreement to cushion the economic blow

32/50 2 September 2019

Set building begins on Waterloo Place in Edinburgh ahead of filming for Fast and Furious 9

33/50 1 September 2019

Members of the Royal Southern Yacht Club and the Island Sailing Club take part during the annual cricket match between the clubs, which takes place on the Bramble Bank sandbank in the middle of the Solent at low tide

35/50 30 August 2019

One of the iconic ‘Girl with Balloon’ artworks by anonymous street artist Banksy is carried near one of the original locations the artwork appeared at on the Southbank in London
The sun rises over the sculpture “The Couple” by artist Sean Henry, at Newbiggin-by-the-sea in Northumberland

37/50 28 August 2019

A person wearing a Boris Johnson ‘head’ digs a grave at the foot of a tombstone during a protest organised by Avaaz and Best for Britain, outside Downing Street in London
Nat Lofthouse statue is covered in flags at the University of Bolton Stadium, Bolton

39/50 26 August 2019

Performers take part in Notting Hill Carnival. Nearly one million people were expected to attend Sunday and Monday’s carnival to celebrate Caribbean culture

40/50 25 August 2019

A competitor swims in the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Llanwryd Wells, Powys
People flock to Bournemouth beach as a heatwave spells potentially record high temperatures for the bank holiday weekend

42/50 23 August 2019

Fans of Bury FC deliver a symbolic coffin to the club’s home at Gigg Lane as the continuation of their membership to the football league lies in doubt. The club will lose their membership at midnight if they don’t find a buyer or prove that they have the means to pay off their debts

43/50 22 August 2019

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow DEFRA Secretary Sue Hayman during a visit to Rakefoot Farm, Castlerigg, Keswick where they are highlighting the danger of a No Deal Brexit to sheep farmers
Festival goers walk along the towpath of the River Thames as they arrive for the Reading Festival at Richfield Avenue

45/50 20 August 2019

Police officers gather to pay their respects at the scene near Ufton Lane, where Thames Valley Police officer PC Andrew Harper, 28, died on Thursday. Jed Foster, 20, has appeared at Reading Magristrates’ Court where denied any involvement with the murder

46/50 19 August 2019

A fire that broke out at the site of Village Bakery on Coed Aben Road, Wrexham Industrial Estate in Wales

47/50 18 August 2019

England fielders crowd Pat Cummins as he see’s out the final over during day five of the second Ashes Test match against Australia at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The test ended in a draw

48/50 17 August 2019

Glew (centre) and Monroe Adams (right) pose for a selfie with a member of the public outside DragWorld London 2019, Europe’s largest drag convention, featuring drag stars from the US and UK during a two-day event at Olympia, London

49/50 16 August 2019

A grey seal with fishing net tangled around its neck amongst the colony on the beach at Horsey in Norfolk, as RSPCA data show the number of animals affected by plastic litter is at an all-time high, with incidents increasing by 22% in just four years

50/50 15 August 2019

A flock of sheep are herded past government buildings in London by members of Farmers for a People’s Vote, a campaign group

Pressed earlier this week over whether he declared an interest when Ms Arcuri was invited on trips, he said there was “no interest to declare”.

Recalling the Israel trip, the former mayoral aide told Sky: “I got to Tel Aviv and was sitting in the hotel bar with delegates when I saw Jennifer Arcuri walk in.

“I turned to the person organising the trip and asked: ‘What’s she doing here?’ Apparently the mayor asked for her to be involved.

Watch more

“There was never a mention of her joining. I thought it was very unusual for her to be on this trip because it was so focused on educational technology and that wasn’t her business.”

The adviser said there was a “cachet” for small businesses included in a mayoral delegation, and they went through a careful selection process before being invited.

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“It’s an advantage for a small company,” said the source. “To be afforded that opportunity three times is very unusual.”

Asked whether Mr Johnson personally intervened to ensure Ms Arcuri was invited on the trip, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “You’ve heard the prime minister about this in numerous questions over the last week. Everything was appropriate and above board.”

Boris Johnson has refused to answer reporters’ questions about whether he had an intimate relationship with Ms Arcuri (Rex)

Ms Acuri has insisted that she was not given special treatment in relation to foreign trade trips.

She told the Daily Mail: “I had every right to be on those trips as a legitimate businesswoman and stand by everything that happened because these allegations are completely false.”

The PM is facing several reviews of his conduct and London Assembly members on the powerful oversight committee have given him until Monday to provide further details about his contact with Ms Arcuri.