Boris Johnson receives £2.5m sum as advance for speeches

<span>Photograph: Reuters</span>
Photograph: Reuters

Boris Johnson has received £2.5m as an advance for speeches, meaning he has received earnings, hospitality and donations worth more than £5m over the last six months since leaving office.

The former prime minister has undertaken a lucrative tour of the global speaking circuit since exiting No 10, addressing investors in the technology behind cryptocurrency, insurers and investment bankers, as well as taking more than £500,000 as an advance for a memoir. At the same time, he has stayed on in his main job as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

Johnson has also accepted a donation of more than £1m from Christopher Harborne, an investor in crypto and aviation fuel based in Thailand who previously donated £6m to the Brexit party, now known as Reform UK.

Johnson’s latest disclosure shows him accepting £2,488,387.53 as an advance for future speaking engagements arranged via the Harry Walker Agency in New York.

At the same time, Johnson has been taking £13,500 a month in donated accommodation from the Conservative donor Lord Bamford and his wife. This is believed to include a London townhouse as well as use of a property in the Cotswolds. The couple are friends of the former prime minister and also strong Brexit backers.

The donation from Harborne was for the running of his office, prompting speculation Johnson could be preparing to attempt a comeback as prime minister – which has been strongly denied by his allies.

The Office of Boris Johnson Ltd was established in October last year. Companies House records show its sole original director was Johnson’s longtime aide Shelley Williams-Walker.

She has since been replaced by Ann Sindall, another close ally of Johnson, who was his secretary when he edited the Spectator magazine and went on to work with him when he was London mayor.

Johnson has also declared the free use of a VIP suite at Heathrow and Gatwick airports numerous times since August.

The former prime minister was last year given permission for the speaking engagements through the Harry Walker agency from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) but he did not appear to have stuck to its rule that he should wait for three months after leaving office before taking up paid employment. It was previously suggested that the first engagement in September was a one-off.

Johnson previously broke Acoba rules when he failed to declare a column from the Daily Telegraph after leaving office as foreign secretary.