Daily Mail journalist Tom Utley joined the paper from The Telegraph three years ago after revealing in a column that he earned less than the fee paid to the average GP, £100,000.
It led to speculation that Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre must have paid him rather more than that to move to Derry Street.
Now Utley has revealed today that a year ago Dacre had tempted him with the offer of going down to one-day a week in the office, for the same money, “instead of the usual four days of 11 hours each”.
Perhaps surprisingly Utley, who describes himself as ‘the laziest man on Earth’, has revealed that he couldn’t take all the free time and found himself asking to be put back on full-time hours.
He writes that he found it hard to look colleagues in the eye knowing that “they were labouring all hours to help pay my wages, while I was getting something for nothing. It just felt wrong…
“Finding myself in the lift with the boss, I told him something I never thought I’d hear myself say: ‘I feel I’m not earning my keep. Could you give me some more work to do, please?’
“This was the moment when I realised, to my horror and amazement, that buried somewhere deep inside these lazy bones is what can only be described as a work ethic – and possibly a Protestant work ethic, at that.”