NEWS
21/09/2020 08:25 BST | Updated 21/09/2020 14:50 BST

Claims Boris Johnson Secretly Flew To Perugia Are 'Untrue', Says No. 10

Grant Shapps also said he is "not aware" of a recent trip to Italy being made by the PM.

A report in an Italian paper that Boris Johnson secretly jetted off to Italy earlier this month to baptise his son is “completely untrue”, Downing Street has said.

La Repubblica cited an official statement from the city’s airport which claims the prime minister was seen at Perugia airport on September 11 and left on the following Monday.

The report also said Johnson may have visited a home owned by Evgeny Lebedev, a Russian-British billionaire businessman nominated by the PM for a peerage last month.

But a spokesperson for No.10 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.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also denied the claims, telling Sky News on Monday the reports were “mistaken”.

When asked if Johnson had travelled to Perugia on that weekend Shapps said: “Not that I’m aware of, no. I saw that story in the weekend paper, I think it’s mistaken as far as I’m aware.”

A confusing day of conflicting reports later ensued with a check-in desk worker at the airport reportedly saying Johnson was there...

Only to be flatly contradicted by the airport’s president just hours later who insisted it was in fact the former prime minister Tony Blair who had been through the airport and staff had mixed the two up.

In 2018, the Guardian reported that Johnson had attended a party at Lebedev’s castle in Perugia which ended with the then foreign secretary at an airport “looking like he had slept in his clothes”.

Travel to Italy from the UK is currently permitted and those returning do not have to self-isolate.

In July, Johnson’s father Stanley faced criticism for travelling to Greece to  “Covid-proof my property” ahead of the letting season.