Boris Johnson quits £5k-a-week newspaper column

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has quit his £5,128-a-week newspaper column following his appointment to the Cabinet.

A spokesman for Britain's new top diplomat said it would not be "appropriate" for him to continue with the contract with The Daily Telegraph, which has earned him almost £1 million over the past four years.

The former journalist, who in 2009 came under fire for calling his then-£250,000-a-year fee for the weekly column as "chicken feed," has worked with the paper for 20 years.

As a leading Leave campaigner, Johnson would pen the 1,000-word missives to outline his stance on Brexit ahead of the EU referendum, and after ruling himself out of the race to become prime minister, he used it to call on the government for a Brexit plan.

He is expected to write opinion pieces for a wide-range of newspapers in his capacity as Foreign Secretary, but will not be paid for the articles.

Asked whether Theresa May had told Johnson to give up the column, the Prime Minister's official spokeswoman said only that it was a decision taken by the Foreign Secretary.

Telegraph group editor Chris Evans said: "Boris has been an outstanding columnist for The Daily Telegraph for many years, with a legion of devoted readers. We would like to thank him and wish him well in his role as Foreign Secretary."

Boris Johnson once said he 'knocked off' his £5k column on a Sunday morning Credit: PA

Johnson's outside earnings from writing saw him pay nearly £1 million in tax in four years, documents he released earlier this year showed.

As well as his lucrative newspaper column, a commission to write a new book on Shakespeare has been put on hold.

Hodder & Stoughton has postponed publication of Shakespeare: The Riddle of Genius - which had been due out in October, but it expects to release the work in the future.

Johnson received an advance of around £90,000 for the book and it is believed to be unlikely that the company will ask for the advance back as it still wants to release it at a later date.