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Boris Johnson makes £5m from outside earnings

Latest payment takes former PM’s outside earnings to almost £5m over past year

Adam Forrest
Political Correspondent
Saturday 11 February 2023 17:28 GMT
Watch: Every time Nadine Dorries compliments Boris Johnson in first interview

Boris Johnson has been handed a £2.5m advance for speaking gigs as he boosted his mammoth earnings since being booted out of No 10.

It takes the former prime minister’s outside income in the past 12 months to almost £5m, on top of the £84,000 salary he still receives as a backbench MP.

Mr Johnson received £2.49m from the Harry Walker Agency as an advance for a series of speaking engagements, the latest declaration in the register of members’ interests shows.

The ex-PM has now earned around £4.7m over the past year. Almost all of that money has come in since he left No 10 in September, including after-dinner gig fees and his upcoming book.

Mr Johnson revealed last month that he had struck a £510,000 deal with HarperCollins to pen a memoir “like no other” – even though he has done just 10 hours work on it.

News of the latest advance for the former Tory leader comes as he prepares to defend his actions during the Partygate scandal at the upcoming Commons inquiry into whether he misled parliament.

It emerged last the taxpayer could end up contributing more than £222,000 in legal fees for the former prime minister’s defence.

Mr Johnson is also under pressure over his ties to BBC chair Richard Sharp, who has denied facilitating a loan of up to £800,000 for the then-prime minister before he backed his appointment to lead the broadcaster.

In a bruising grilling by MPs on Wednesday, Mr Sharp insisted that he “didn’t arrange the loan” despite admitting that he introduced his friend Sam Blyth, who wanted to help the then-prime minister with his financial troubles, to the Cabinet Office.

Earlier this week former Tory leader William Hague said Mr Johnson and Liz Truss should stop blaming others for their failures and take responsibility for helping sow “chaos”.

In a scathing attack on the ex-prime ministers – both booted out of No 10 by their own party last year – Mr Hague suggested that they were scapegoating after “completely screwing things up”.

On Wednesday Mr Johnson tweeted “welcome back to the UK” as president Volodymyr Zelensky prepared to address parliament. “Look forward to hearing you address parliament,” he tweeted.

MPs’ earnings have been under the spotlight since it emerged that they had declared £8m in outside income since the start of 2022, including payments for second jobs, speeches, TV appearances and books.

Just three MPs account for half of declared outside earnings: Mr Johnson, Theresa May, and former attorney general Sir Geoffrey Cox, who has earned around £880,000 from his legal work.

Mr Johnson’s earnings outstrip those of his predecessor, Ms May, who declared £965,000 in speaking fees. Other high earners include Matt Hancock, who has declared just over £442,000 over the past year, including £320,000 from appearing on I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!.

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