Claims have again surfaced that Boris Johnson often moans his £157,000 salary is not enough to get by on.
Sam Courtney-Guy metro.co.uk
The PM had to give up several lucrative gigs when he took office including £275,000 a year to write a weekly column for the Daily Telegraph, slashing his total earnings from a reported £830,000.
Meanwhile his expenses have ramped up, including a divorce settlement with ex-wife Marina Wheeler which is rumoured to have left him ‘cleaned out’.
It is now commonplace to hear Boris complain about money problems, according to Downing Street insiders interviewed for a new investigation into the PM’s personal finances.
Mr Johnson is said to occasionally come out with tear-jerkers such as: ‘I just can’t afford to do this job’.
Rumours of his financial difficulties crystallised around the ‘Wallpapergate’ scandal earlier this year, when it emerged that a refurbishment of the Downing Street had been paid for by Tory donors and that tens of thousands of pounds of costs had not been declared – though the party insists it was registered ‘correctly’.
Although the PM eventually picked up the tab, the report, by the Financial Times, now indicates was initially advised to pay for the work with a loan.
One Downing Street staffer told the newspaper: ‘Boris would come down and complain about how much it was all going to cost.’
The recommendation is said to have come from the Conservative party’s co-chair, Ben Elliot, who, in contrast to his close friend Boris, is known in Tory circles as a fundraising virtuoso who is never short of cash or wealthy connections.
Mr Johnson then briefly explored setting up a charitable trust to make the works more financially efficient, but the idea collapsed as the flat was a private space.
The PM’s property portfolio also appears to have shrunk in recent years.
While divorce proceedings with Ms Wheeler, his second wife, were underway in 2019, the pair sold their Islington townhouse for £3.35 million.
Mr Johnson then bought a house with his future wife Carrie Symonds in Camberwell, south London, for £1.2 million.
His other properties are his Grade II cottage in Oxfordshire, which is now rented out for £4,250 a month, and a 20 per cent share of the Johnson family home in Exmoor.