Number 10 deny that Boris Johnson took a secret trip to Italy in September
Number 10 have angrily denied reports in an Italian newspaper that Boris Johnson took a secret trip to Italy on the weekend of September 11th.
La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper of record, published a story on Sunday claiming that officials in San Francesco d'Assisi Airport in Perugia saw the Prime Minister land around 2pm on September 11th.
According to their story: "There is a new mystery surrounding Boris Johnson. During the weekend of the 12th and 13th September, the British premier is reported to have secretly been in Perugia, Italy. An official statement of the local airport dated September 17th claims that Mr Johnson was in Perugia “over the past few days”. Local airport sources exclusively told la "Repubblica" and Umbria publication “Umbria24" that Johnson “travelled to Perugia”. A source reported that Johnson landed in Perugia "on Friday 11 September at 2 pm."
For reasons that still remain unclear, the story also goes on to mention Luis Suarez and Tony Blair also visiting the town in Umbria. La Repubblica also claim to have spoken to an anonymous airport worker who said Johnson was there "on Friday Sept 11th or Thursday Sept 10th, I don't remember well”.
In response to the claims made by Italy's second favourite newspaper, Downing Street said: “This story is completely untrue. The prime minister has not travelled to Italy in recent months. Anyone who publishes these claims is repeating a falsehood.”
On the weekend La Repubblica alleges that Boris was in Italy, The Sun reported that he was attending a secret christening for his son at Westminster Cathedral with fiancé Carrie Symonds.
No10 spokesman comes out hard on Perugia airport: “This story is completely untrue. The Prime Minister has not travelled to Italy in recent months.” He was in Westminster that Saturday for his son’s christening as @thesun reported a week ago https://t.co/4g9VXYhlQe
— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) September 21, 2020
Also casting doubt on the Italian airport worker's version of events is a tweet from Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns, showing Boris Johnson on a Zoom call in Downing street, 3 hours and 42 minutes after he is alleged to have arrived in Italy.
Clifford and I listened to our Prime Minister @BorisJohnson this evening on a zoom call. Who made a strong case that the Bill debated next week is focused on the protection it gives to the integrity of the Union. Fully support and back the PM. 🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/z32u54HESo
— Andrea Jenkyns MP (@andreajenkyns) September 11, 2020
Back when he was Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson caused a minor controversy when he visited Perugia to visit long time friend and media mogul Evgeny Lebedev, who is known to hose extravagant parties at his villa in the central Italian region. He was pictured leaving the Umbria airport without baggage, looking dishevelled and without a police escort.