MANDRAKE: Show us your tax return, Johnson

PUBLISHED: 13:00 05 December 2019 | UPDATED: 22:10 06 December 2019

Why won't prime minister Boris Johnson publish his tax return? Picture: Rui Vieira/PA

Why won't prime minister Boris Johnson publish his tax return? Picture: Rui Vieira/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

As Jeremy Corbyn publishes his latest tax return, why won’t Boris Johnson? And what will Paul Dacre do to the i newspaper?

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DMG Media, whose editor-in-chief is former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre, has bought the i newspaper. Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty ImagesDMG Media, whose editor-in-chief is former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre, has bought the i newspaper. Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Mandrake had to give Boris Johnson quite a few insistent nudges before he finally got around to declaring the £22,000-a-month he was making from the Daily Telegraph - on top of his other freelance income and MP's salary - during his period on the backbenches.

Now it falls to me to remind Johnson that he has still to release his tax return for the months between quitting as foreign secretary and succeeding Theresa May, which is especially remiss during an election campaign.

Jeremy Corbyn, by contrast, is punctilious about disclosing his tax returns on his website. His total income for 2015-16 was £114,342 and on which he paid £35,298 in tax.

As mayor of London, Johnson disclosed a tax bill of £800,000 for the four tax years from 2011/12 to 2014/15. During that period he netted around £400,000 in extra earnings per year while running London.

Emily Thornberry has been campaigning in marginal Canterbury for Labour candidate Rosie Duffield, pictured. Picture: PAEmily Thornberry has been campaigning in marginal Canterbury for Labour candidate Rosie Duffield, pictured. Picture: PA

I calculate from the figures available that Johnson made around £770,000 in outside earnings during the period now in question. This sum includes £122,899 from a single speaking engagement in India - plus £94,000 for a New York talk. Despite his six-figure earnings, Johnson reported less than £700 a year in bank interest and no investment income from 2011 through to 2015.

One wonders if Johnson's former bosses Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay have been giving him advice on efficient tax management.

New toy


Mandrake wonders if Lord Rothermere's acquisition of the i newspaper for £49.6 million wasn't intended as an early Christmas present for Paul Dacre.

As editor-in-chief of DMG Media, the only national newspaper Dacre has under his ultimate control is the Mail on Sunday - the Daily Mail boss Geordie Greig reports directly to Rothermere - and so the i amounts to a new toy for the 71-year-old executive.

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The centrist, liberal, Remain-minded i is clearly not a natural fit with Dacre's views or personality, and, if he's thinking of pushing it towards a more pro-Brexit position - as has happened with the Mail on Sunday - it'll undoubtedly antagonise readers and staff.

"They at least won't have to toil under Paul for long as there is talk of him being packed off with a £1m pay-off before the new year is over," whispers may man in Northcliffe House. "Nothing has ever really been able to compensate Paul for the loss of power."

Peter's friend

Who said this 15 years ago, after Michael Howard, as Tory leader, sacked Boris Johnson for lying to him about his extra-marital affair with the socialite Petronella Wyatt? "Boris Johnson is a superb figure, very much part of the Conservative Party's history, really inspirational, one of the few Tory MPs that everybody can relate to. I am not clear that this was a suitable reason for somebody to leave the front bench. The Tory party must have gone mad tonight."

And who also said this a few weeks ago: "Johnson should not be able to get away with the lying and deceit... the British media is not holding him to account for his repeated falsehoods. It's time we journalists did our job, and started to regain our self-respect."

Answer: Peter Oborne, who went some way towards explaining how perceptions of truth can change in this book, The Rise of Political Lying. "Britain now lives in a post-truth political environment," the Brextremist-turned-Remainer pontificated. "Public statements are no longer fact-based, but operational. Realities and political narratives are constructed to serve a purpose, dismantled and the show moves on."

United front


Emily Thornberry, out campaigning in marginal Canterbury for Rosie Duffield over the weekend, had once fought the seat herself.

In the 2001 election, the seat fought back, however, and she lost to the Tory incumbent Julian Brazier by 2,000 votes. It was close enough for the Green Party to call at the time for "a progressive alliance" between them, Labour and the Lib Dems. "We have much more in common together than any of us have with the Tories," the Greens' spokesman Henry Stanton had pointed out. If he'd got his way, it would have saved an awful lot of bother.

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Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

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