Boris Johnson said he made ‘financial sacrifices’ to be MP - despite pocketing £275,000 from Telegraph

Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

Conservative party leadership contender Boris Johnson. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

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."

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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.

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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."

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