Boris Johnson served as prime minister between the summer of 2019 and September 2022. At the point when he announced he was standing down from office, the website Celebrity Net Worth was suggesting that Mr Johnson had a net wealth of £1.67 million.
If this was the case, Mr Johnson has now more than tripled his net worth in the six months after leaving Downing Street.
Like his colleagues in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson is required by law to report certain financial interests to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, whose office publishes a register of MP’s interests every fortnight.
In March 2023, Mr Johnson’s disclosures in the Register of MPs interests showed his income in the first 6 months after leaving No 10 to have totalled almost £5m.
This is on top of the £84,144 salary that he still receives as a backbench MP.
Boris Johnson’s earnings over this period amounted to over £25,000 per day. Indeed in the first two months of 2023, Mr Johnson on his own, accounted for 85% of the total money earned by all 650 MPs for having a second job.
It was reported in February 2023 that Mr Johnson had agreed to buy a £4m, nine-bedroom house with a moat in Oxfordshire. According to other reports, Boris and Carrie Johnson have also recently purchased a five-bedroom house thought to be worth over £3m in south London.
Where has Boris Johnson been receiving money from?
In January 2023, Mr Johnson received a £2.49m advance from the Harry Walker Agency in New York for future speaking engagements. This came after he made more than £1m for four speeches, booked through the agency, between October and December 2022.
The former PM’s speaking engagements have already seen him jet to Lisbon, Mumbai, New Delhi, New York, Pennsylvania, Singapore and Washington DC, to speak to corporate clients. The clients include: investment bank Centerview Partners, the Hindustan Times, law firm Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, Portuguese TV channel Televisão Independente, property developer Ballymore Groupand Bloomberg Singapore.
In January 2023, Johnson reported a £510,000 advance from HarperCollins for his memoirs. Given that advances are usually paid in several installments, it is likely that this will be a multi-million pound book deal with more payments yet to come
An earlier £88,000 payment for a book on Shakespeare was paid by Hodder & Stoughton prior to Mr Johnson becoming prime minister and the book has still not appeared. But the newly released figures suggest that Mr Johnson took a further £42,500 advance from Hodder & Stoughton, suggesting work may have resumed.
Mr Johnson has also received some £1.1m in donations to his office, the vast majority of which came from a £1m donation from Thailand-based businessman Christopher Harborne. Mr Harborne has previously given money to the Conservative Party.
In October 2023, The Office of Boris Johnson Ltd was set up.
What was Boris Johnson’s salary as Prime Minister?
As prime minister, Boris Johnson was entitled to an annual salary of £164,080. The prime minister’s earnings were then made up of £79,936 for his role as Prime Minister, and an additional £84,144 for being an MP. This placed him in the top 1% of earners in the UK.
However with Mr Johnson receiving high profile loan guarantees during his time in office, including one facilitated by Richard Sharp (later Chairman of the BBC) from his millionaire Canadian cousin Sam Blyth, and another relating to the cash for curtains affair, people commented that Mr Johnson had more extensive financial needs.
During his time as a backbench Conservative MP, prior to moving into Downing Street and after his time as Foreign Secretary, records previously showed Boris Johnson to be one of the highest earning MPs. Indeed, the Evening Standard newspaper speculated that Mr Johnson was previously earning some £275,000 from his newspaper column with the Daily Telegraph.
Past financial issues
During his time in Downing Street, several newspapers suggested that Boris Johnson was unhappy with his salary as prime minister. Boris Johnson was recently divorced from his ex wife Marina Wheeler, and reports suggested that the divorce settlement made a notable dent into Boris Johnson’s net worth.
It is was also speculated that Mr Johnson worried about his housekeeping costs while at No 10, and the ongoing financial support required for his children, including those costs connected to the childcare and future schooling of his two younger children from his marriage to Carrie Symonds.
How does Boris Johnson’s net worth compare to other former PMs?
All of Johnson’s recent predecessors as prime minister have been able to command substantial sums for speaking engagements. Indeed the going rate for a lecture by a recent former Prime Minister is said to be in excess of £100,000.
Since leaving office, Theresa May is said to have earned well from a number of such lucrative engagements including £115,000 for her speech to the Ivy League University, Brown, in the United States.
Another former PM, David Cameron, advised a number of international businesses after leaving office — concentrating on innovative technology-driven sectors, including Fin-Tech, Medi-Tech and Artificial Intelligence.
In March 2021, it was revealed that Cameron was employed by Greensill Capital, a firm that has subsequently collapsed. The Common’s Treasury committee later investigated Mr Cameron’s lobbying activities in relation to the company. The collapsed firm paid Mr Cameron a salary of more than $1 million a year, according to reports.
Tony Blair is currently thought to be the highest earning former prime minister. After leaving Downing Street, Mr Blair secured well-paid advisory roles with Zurich Financial Services and JP Morgan Chase. Back in 2014, the former PM insisted that his net worth was less than £20 million. He has previously been fated as the highest earning public speaker in the world.
The approach of Tony Blair contrasts with that of his successor, Gordon Brown. Gordon Brown, who left No 10 in 2010, has said that he “never” kept any of his additional money after leaving office. Speaking to BBC Radio 4′ ‘Today’ programme in 2021, Brown said: “I gave all the money to charity and I’ve always done that, I’ve never taken any money for myself. All I’ve got to live on is the pension, that is a good pension that I’ve got from being an MP”.
Current UK prime minister Rishi Sunak, and his wife, Akshata Murty, have already appeared in the Sunday Times Rich List and are variously reported to have a net worth of £730 million. It is fair to assume that when he leaves office, Mr Sunak won’t need to focus on his future earnings to the same extent as some of his most recent predecessors.