Boris Johnson confirms Mail columnist job - but will avoid writing about one pretty big topic

Boris Johnson confirms Mail columnist job - but will avoid writing about one pretty big topic
Daily Mail unveils Boris Johnson as new columnist

In one of the more predictable political moments in recent weeks, former prime minister Boris Johnson has been unveiled as the Daily Mail’s new columnist, less than 24 hours after the paper teased an “erudite” new writer whose writing will be “required reading”.

While some might contest the word “erudite”, many correctly predicted that the scruffy-haired silhouette on the front page of Thursday’s edition of the Mail was that of Mr Johnson, who continues to face the fallout over a report by the Commons’ Privileges Committee which found he deliberately misled MPs over Partygate and was “complicit” in a “campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation” of the group of MPs.

It also recommended that Mr Johnson – who announced his resignation as the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip last week ahead of the report’s publication – be blocked from receiving a parliamentary pass granted to former members.

Well, now that he is no longer in parliament, it seems the law-breaking former PM is already making good use of the free time he has available, by penning a weekly column for the right-wing outlet.

Mr Johnson had previously written columns for the Daily Telegraph, angering critics in 2009 as the mayor of London by describing the £250,000 annual fee as “chicken feed” and cheesing off the business appointments watchdog in 2018 when he signed a new contract with the paper without telling them first.

That decision led to the committee – known as the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments or Acoba – writing to tell the then former foreign secretary that he had failed to “comply with your duty to seek advice” from Acoba as required under the Ministerial Code.

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Now, a spokeswoman for Acoba told the PA news agency about Mr Johnson’s new role with the Mail: “We haven’t had an application and we will be writing to Mr Johnson.”

Later on Friday, an additional statement from the committee said the politician committed a "clear breach" of the rules by only letting Acoba know of the appointment just 30 minutes before the column was announced publicly.

Uh oh.

The news was confirmed on Friday afternoon, when the Tory appeared in a video for the paper and said he was “thrilled” to be penning the weekly column every Saturday, but weirdly, added he would only write about politics “unless I absolutely have to”.

In an article confirming the appointment, the Daily Mail described Mr Johnson – who was once sacked from a job at The Times over allegations he made up a quote – as “one of the wittiest and most original writers in the business”.

“Whether you’re a Boris fan or not, it’s going to be required reading – both in Westminster and for millions across the world,” it added.

Twitter was mostly unconvinced:

The Mail has also said Mr Johnson’s “totally unmissable” debut article will be published at 5pm on Friday.

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