Boris Johnson has said he has made financial ‘sacrifices’ to be an MP, despite his salary, earning £275,000 a year for his newspaper column, and money made as a public speaker.
Put on the spot at Tory leadership hustings, the former foreign secretary also made clear that becoming prime minister would mean it would take him longer to finish a book he is writing about William Shakespeare.
Asked when he had set aside his own self interest for the good of the country, Johnson said: “It is obviously possible to make more money by not being a full-time politician.
“You have to make sacrifices sometimes and that is the right thing to do.
“Being a full-time politician means that I won’t be able, for instance, to rapidly complete a book on Shakespeare that I have in preparation.”
Since quitting the cabinet over Brexit last year, Johnson has resumed his Daily Telegraph column for which he is paid £275,000 annually, and commands huge fees as a corporate speaker, with one recent event earning him £42,580.
Johnson also revealed at the hustings he did not like using the word austerity.
Asked if austerity was over, the front runner for the Tory crown said: “Austerity itself is, I think, not a helpful term.
“I never liked it.
“I remember Dave Cameron saying to me he wanted to have an austerity Olympics and I said ‘no way mate, no way’.
“That was not the stuff to give the troops. What we wanted was a great Olympics.”