- A number of experiences recommend Boris Johnson is experiencing severe cash issues.
- They declare that his latest divorce, a number of youngsters, and diminished revenue have left him severely onerous up.
- The experiences come amid different claims that he has sought to make use of donors to pay for his dwelling prices.
- But those that know Johnson effectively imagine there’s a a lot easier clarification for him claiming hardship.
- For extra tales go to Enterprise Insider.
Boris Johnson has advised mates that he’s experiencing severe cash issues.
A number of experiences recommend that the UK Prime Minister’s monetary scenario has led to him making an attempt, and in some instances succeeding, to make use of donations from the Conservative social gathering, and different donors, to pay for:
Some commentators near Johnson have steered that these alleged cash issues are as a result of discount in his revenue since coming into Downing Avenue, mixed with funds for his indeterminate variety of youngsters, and his divorce from his second spouse Marina Wheeler.
With out gaining access to Johnson’s private monetary data it’s unimaginable to know for certain fairly how significantly to take these claims of his supposed hardship.
Nonetheless, evaluation of his declared revenue, in addition to accounts of his previous behaviour, does give some cause to doubt it.
Within the high 1% of earners
To start with, it’s value stating that Johnson’s £160,000 wage as prime minister, whereas not stratospheric in comparison with a few of his higher-earning friends, nonetheless places him within the high 1% of all earners within the UK.
It is also value stating that, not like most individuals, his housing, transport, and huge components of his dwelling prices are additionally coated by the taxpayer.
And whereas he has had a major discount in his fundamental sources of revenue since changing into prime minister, previous to his premiership he was one of many highest-earning politicians within the nation, raking in over £275,000 a 12 months from his Telegraph column on high of his wage as a politician.
And though he has been compelled to desert that column, he does nonetheless proceed to make many hundreds of kilos value of royalties from his again catalogue of books yearly, in line with his register of pursuits.
Along with this, he additionally declared £123,000 for a single speech in India in 2019, plus £88,000 from publishers Hodder and Staughton for an advance on as-yet unpublished guide about Shakespeare.
But regardless of all this previous and current revenue, a report by final week’s Sunday Instances quoted a authorities supply suggesting that the prime minister was so onerous up that he had missed key emergency conferences initially of the pandemic because of “engaged on a biography of Shakespeare, the cash from which he wanted to fund his divorce.”
A spokesperson for the writer wouldn’t touch upon whether or not Johnson had saved the advance for the as-yet-unpublished guide, telling Insider solely that “We’ve got not scheduled the guide to be launched within the foreseeable future,” and “we by no means touch upon our authors’ advances.”
He would ‘by no means ever purchase a drink’
So is Johnson actually as hard-up as insiders and his media allies recommend, or is one thing else happening?
The Prime Minister’s biographer Sonia Purnell, who labored intently alongside Johnson in his early profession as a journalist, shouldn’t be satisfied and believes there could also be a a lot easier clarification.
Moderately than being desperately hard-up, Purnell suggests Johnson might merely be performing as he has all the time performed, which is to search out any excuse he can to keep away from opening his pockets.
“Throughout his life he has been very profitable at avoiding paying for something,” Purnell tells Insider.
“It is a sport he has all the time performed… I imply what does he spend his cash on? It is actually not on shopping for individuals rounds of drinks within the pub.
“He is by no means performed that. On a regular basis I used to be in Brussels… you’d go to the bar and he would drink different individuals’s drinks and by no means ever purchase a drink. I imply by no means.
Associates of Johnson say he additionally tends to not pay his money owed.
“One of many first issues I used to be advised by another person once I arrived there’s that he’ll ask you to lend him cash,” Purnell says.
“By no means do it as a result of he asks everyone and by no means ever pays it again.”
His popularity for failing to pay a reimbursement even prolonged to 1 cautious EU official quoted in Purnell’s biography of Johnson.
“You have been all the time cautious,” the official advised Purnell.
“I used to be advised by no means to lend him cash as he by no means paid it again – so when he requested for the equal of £50, I refused.”
With a number of homes, guide offers and a big wage, Johnson is, by any cheap customary, effectively off.
But those that know Johnson describe him as virtually comically tight with cash.
When first relationship his second spouse he claims to have taken her to a gathering of the Hare Krishnas so as to keep away from paying for lunch, which he advised the Night Normal in 2008 that she had “by no means forgiven me” for.
He continued the behavior into later life, famously dropping a £1,000 wager along with his former employer Max Hastings, solely to refuse to pay him.
After a lot nagging, Johnson lastly agreed handy over the cash, solely to then ship Hastings an empty envelope.
“Whether or not or not Hastings truly wanted the cash is neither right here nor there,” Purnell tells Insider.
“The actual fact he sat there, addressed an envelope, sealed it, and posted it after which there was nothing in it, is simply weird behaviour.”
By all accounts, Johnson continued to be reluctant to pay his personal method.
Certainly one in every of my very own first encounters with Johnson was within the canteen within the basement of London’s Metropolis Corridor when he was on the peak of his incomes powers as Mayor of London and star Day by day Telegraph columnist.
As I used to be standing ready to pay for lunch with a fellow journalist, Johnson shuffled over and requested my companion to lend him £3 for his sandwich which, considerably shocked, he did.
Insiders say Johnson’s notoriously scruffy look was additionally partly because of his reluctance to spend cash on garments.
Certainly his outfits whereas mayor, which frequently constituted a wierd mixture of a light gray jacket and municipal beanie hats, have been partly, in line with one former colleague, lifted by Johnson from Transport for London’s misplaced property workplace.
How dangerous was his divorce settlement?
On the centre of claims of Johnson’s supposed hardship is his divorce final 12 months from his second spouse.
Nonetheless, Johnson’s biographer throws doubts on claims from Johnson insiders that their separation has left him penniless.
“I feel it is a relatively sexist assumption guilty it on Marina,” Purnell tells Insider.
“In spite of everything she is a really high-earning individual herself and all the time has been. She is a QC and has performed very effectively.
“I simply do not buy that she took him to the cleaners.”
Are Johnson’s funds a safety threat?
Whether or not or not Johnson is genuinely hard-up, or is merely claiming to be so as to dip into his personal pocket, some individuals imagine the very existence of claims about his funds could possibly be damaging.
The revelation that Johnson had acquired an unpaid debt order from a court docket led to 1 former spy telling Insider that such claims could possibly be used to break his popularity, whereas others steered they might additionally probably depart him open to blackmail by hostile states.
“All of those tales saying he’s onerous up is a bit like placing the begging bowl out,” Purnell advised Insider.
“I think about MI6 have been quivering of their boots. It could possibly be interpreted as an invite to breach his personal safety and nationwide safety. You simply do not do this as prime minister.”
And whereas claims about Johnson in search of donations to pay for luxurious takeaways and wallpaper have solely belatedly emerged, it stays unclear who precisely he has sought these donations from.
“We do not know who’s giving him this cash for wallpaper and holidays and all the remainder of it,” Purnell says.
“And these are simply the issues we learn about.”
What else have individuals paid for? His private coach, his nanny, the takeaways, every little thing. It simply mounts up and makes him one massive safety threat proper there in Downing Avenue.”
A spokesperson for Johnson was contacted for remark.