A NEWSPAPER which claims Boris Johnson threatened it with legal action has responded to Downing Street’s flat denial of the story.

The New European, an anti-Brexit paper launched in the wake of the 2016 Leave vote, reported that a No10 communications officer had told its editor the Prime Minister was to sue for defamation.

The allegations centred on a story they published in which it was claimed that Johnson had told a dinner party that he had “buyer’s remorse” about marrying Carrie Johnson, who is currently pregnant with the couple’s second child.

However, Downing Street flatly denied the Prime Minister had ever made such a comment, and at a press conference on Friday also denied that the paper had been threatened with legal action.

In response, the paper’s founder and editor, Matt Kelly, has released a statement in which he says his paper stands by the veracity of both its stories - about Johnson’s comment and about the threat to sue.

Kelly said: "l was called last night (Thursday) at 10.30pm by a man who identified himself as being from Downing Street Communications office, but whose name I didn't catch. His opening gambit was: Boris Johnson is going to sue The New European for defamation.

"l won't go into the rest of the conversation in detail, but suffice to say I made it clear to him that this was not a threat that troubled me greatly and we stood by our story.

"After a few minutes, the caller eventually told me: 'You just crack on then mate' and put the phone down.

"l texted him, asking him to repeat his threat of legal action and to send across the Downing Street denial. I also asked him - twice - to identify himself, which he refused to do.

"For a public official to cold-call a newspaper and threaten them with a law suit from a sitting PM, and not to even identify himself, was, I thought, odd. I tried the Downing Street press Office to verify the caller's identity, but they didn't come back to me. I went to bed.

"The next morning, I established that the phone number of the caller belonged to Jack Doyle, the Downing Street Director Of Communications.

"l now understand Downing Street denies they threatened legal action, to which all I can say is I stand by our story, and our story about the story. If Boris Johnson changes his mind again and decides to sue, we'll see him in court.

"Should the veracity of this account be challenged, I do, of course, have the texts."

Repeatedly denying legal action would be taken against the paper, Downing Street said: "The Prime Minister has been clear he never made those remarks, they’re completely untrue, they were never said."