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WORLD | 25-04-2019 13:34

Boris Johnson's speaking fee tops six digits as war chest swells

Ex-foreign secretary, touted as one of the favorites to succeed UK PM Theresa May when she steps down, is well ahead of potential leadership rivals in fundraising stakes.

Boris Johnson reaped more than £160,000 (US$206,000) in donations and speaking fees in March and April, bolstering the former foreign secretary’s war chest in the event of a Conservative Party leadership contest.

The latest update to the UK Parliament’s Register of Members’ Financial Interests shows that JC Bamford Excavators Ltd. donated £8,000 to Brexit-supporting Johnson, adding to the £29,000 he’d previously reported from the manufacturer of construction machinery.

But the most eye-catching income reported by Johnson are his fees for giving speeches: £38,250 for a two-and-a-half-hour engagement at Citigroup Global Markets Ltd., and £122,900 from New Delhi-based Living Media India Ltd. to give a speech to the India Today conference, for which he billed three hours.

Johnson, touted as one of the favorites to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May when she steps down, was already well ahead of potential leadership rivals – including Environment Secretary Michael Gove and former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab – at the beginning of April, when the register was last updated.

He’s secured more than double their donations even before factoring in his considerable income from speeches and publishing.

In the latest update to the register, Raab listed a £10,000 gift from a private donor, while Gove added a donation of £5,000.

Meanwhile prominent Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has ruled himself out of any leadership contest, did little to dispel the Conservative politician stereotype by accepting champagne worth £323 for giving a speech.

May has promised to step down once Brexit is delivered, though the party’s lawmakers are demanding more details on what she’ll do if her divorce agreement with Brussels isn’t ratified.

by by Alex Morales, Bloomberg

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