Cash-strapped Boris of­fers af­ter din­ner speeches ...for £30,000

Daily Mail - - EDEN CONFIDENTIAL - By Ja­son Groves Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

BORIS John­son has signed up to give £30,000-a-time speeches on the af­ter-din­ner cir­cuit as he seeks to raise cash to fund his di­vorce.

The for­mer for­eign sec­re­tary has joined JLA, an agency which sup­plies celebrity speak­ers for busi­ness din­ners and cor­po­rate events.

It comes just weeks af­ter Mr John­son an­nounced plans for a po­ten­tially costly di­vorce from Ma­rina Wheeler, with whom he has four chil­dren.

Mr John­son was banned from hold­ing sec­ond jobs while in the Cab­i­net and is known to have com­plained pri­vately about hav­ing to man­age on his £141,405 salary, telling friends it was not enough to cover his ‘ex­ten­sive fam­ily re­spon­si­bil­i­ties’.

In 2009, he also de­scribed his £250,000-a-year fee for writ­ing a weekly col­umn for The Daily Tele­graph as ‘chicken feed’. When he re­signed from the Cab­i­net in July, Mr John­son’s salary was cut to £77,379. But, with di­vorce pro­ceed­ings im­mi­nent, he has moved swiftly to boost his in­come.

In Au­gust, he re­sumed his weekly col­umn on an an­nual fee of £275,000. He has also re­sumed work on a bi­og­ra­phy of Shake­speare, which was put on hold when he joined the Gov­ern­ment in July 2016.

Now he has signed up with the pres­ti­gious JLA agency, whose books in­clude celebri­ties such as John McEn­roe and Nigella Law­son, as well as politi­cians Wil­liam Hague and John Prescott.

JLA’s web­site states that Mr John­son ‘is re­garded as one of the most cap­ti­vat­ing po­lit­i­cal speak­ers of his gen­er­a­tion, with a fa­mously en­ter­tain­ing style of de­liv­ery’. A source said he could ex­pect to com­mand a fee of about £30,000 a time for host­ing cor­po­rate events at which he would be ex­pected to make a 15-minute speech.

Mr John­son and his wife an­nounced last month that they were di­vorc­ing af­ter 25 years. In a joint state­ment, they said they would ‘ con­tinue to sup­port our four chil­dren in the years ahead’.

The for­mer Lon­don mayor has since been linked ro­man­ti­cally to the Con­ser­va­tive Party’s for­mer com­mu­ni­ca­tions chief Car­rie Sy­monds, al­though nei­ther has com­mented on their re­la­tion­ship.

His lat­est move risks a fresh clash with the par­lia­men­tary watch­dog that po­lices the re­volv­ing door be­tween pol­i­tics and busi­ness. The ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee on busi­ness ap­point­ments has not yet given for­mal ap­proval for Mr John­son to take up the role.

All min­is­ters are sup­posed to con­sult the com­mit­tee be­fore tak­ing up any paid role within two years of leav­ing of­fice.

Rules also ban min­is­ters from tak­ing up paid work for three months af­ter leav­ing of­fice.

Mr John­son was re­buked by the com­mit­tee for ‘fail­ing to com­ply with [his] duty’ when he re­sumed his Tele­graph col­umn just days af­ter re­sign­ing with­out seek­ing ap­proval. Mr John­son said he had not been aware of the rules.

But the com­mit­tee’s chair­man Baroness Brown­ing later said the re­stric­tions were en­shrined in the min­is­te­rial code, which all min­is­ters are re­quired to sign.

Mr John­son de­clined to com­ment last night.

For hire: Boris John­son faces a costly di­vorce

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