Boris Johnson today joked that the £250,000 a year he earns from writing a weekly Daily Telegraph column is “chicken feed” and insisted it was “wholly reasonable” for him to write columns because he did them “very fast”.
Johnson, who is paid nearly £140,000 as Mayor of London, was quizzed over his contract with the Daily Telegraph during an interview for the BBC’s HardTalk programme.
He responded: “It’s chicken feed.”
Pressed on whether voters would agree with that description, the mayor said he was being “frivolous”.
But he went on: “I happen to write extremely fast. I don’t see why on a Sunday morning I shouldn’t knock off an article, if someone wants to pay me for that article then that’s their lookout and of course I make a substantial donation to charity.
“Maybe that money shouldn’t go to charity, maybe you’d rather I didn’t make those contributions to charity. It seems to me to be a wholly reasonable thing to do.”
Johnson said: “I think that frankly there’s absolutely no reason at all why I should not, on a Sunday morning before I do whatever else I need to do on a Sunday morning, should not knock off an article as a way of relaxation.”
Johnson decided to continue with his columns for the Telegraph after being elected last year, but donates £50,000 from his annual fee to charities.