Boris and baby scandals lift 'Spectator' profits

£20,000 bonus for woman in Blunkett imbroglio
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The Independent Online

Kimberly Quinn, the publisher of The Spectator who had a high- profile affair with the former home secretary, David Blunkett, received a bonus of around £20,000 last year after profits at the weekly political magazine increased by half.

Mrs Quinn was paid £134,000 last year, up from £112,000 in 2003, accounts just filed show. This is despite the fact that she was off work on medical and maternity leave for part of the year.

The magazine was bought last summer by the Barclay brothers from disgraced peer Lord Black, who was charged last week with fraud over the sales of his newspapers.

The publicity from Mrs Quinn's affair with Mr Blunkett, which began to emerge last September, and from the antics of editor Boris Johnson, helped circulation hit record highs.

For the second half of 2004, official sales averaged 66,105, the highest in the magazine's 177-year history, and up 4.4 per cent from the same period in 2003. Sales of the Christmas double issue - around which time reports about Mrs Quinn's affair and custody battle over her son with Mr Blunkett had reached fever pitch - were a third higher than the previous year.

Andrew Neil, who was appointed chief executive by the Barclay brothers last November, said of the higher circulation earlier this year: "These are very encouraging sales figures, which perhaps prove the maxim that there is no such thing as bad publicity."

Mrs Quinn's £134,000 salary included benefits such as healthcare and a company car.

The Spectator made pre-tax profits of just under £1.5m last year compared to £1m in 2003.