Boris Johnson signs '£1m' Daily Mail contract following damning partygate report

Boris Johnson is announced as a new columnist for The Daily Mail while Rishi Sunak faces a battle to unite the Conservative Party, as political correspondent Harry Horton reports

Boris Johnson has been unveiled as a new columnist for the Daily Mail, a day after a report found he repeatedly lied to MPs over the Downing Street partygate scandal.

The disgraced former prime minister will pen a weekly item for the tabloid newspaper, with media sources suggesting the contract could be worth £1m.

In an announcement video posted on Friday morning, Mr Johnson promised readers "completely unexpurgated" content. "I will write whatever I want," he said.

It has since transpired Mr Johnson didn't properly seek permission from the parliamentary watchdog to take up the role, which it has called a "clear breach" of the Ministerial Code.

Boris Johnson promises readers a completely uncensored read in his new weekly column

Announcing the news of Mr Johnson's new role on Friday morning, The Daily Mail account tweeted: "We are delighted to announce Boris Johnson as our new columnist.

"Famed as one of the wittiest and most original writers in the business, Boris's column will appear in the Daily Mail every Saturday and you'll be able to get a preview on MailOnline and The Mail+ on Fridays."

It comes after a report by the House of Commons privileges committee found Mr Johnson committed "repeated" and "serious" contempts of Parliament when he lied to MPs over gatherings that took place in Downing Street during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 30,000-word publication was damning for Mr Johnson, who dramatically quit as an MP last Friday after receiving an early copy of the committee's verdict.

He likened the committee to a "kangaroo court" and accused those in the cross-party group of conducting a "witch hunt" to drive him out of Parliament.

When the report was finally published on Thursday, Mr Johnson immediately issued a statement, calling it "the final knife-thrust in a protracted political assassination".

The Partygate: The Inside Story podcast brings you fresh revelations and our whistleblowers in their own words in the definitive behind-closed-doors story of how ITV News uncovered one of the biggest scandals of our era...

Elsewhere, Mr Johnson finds himself in hot water again with parliamentary authorities for not correctly seeking approval for the new appointment.

A spokeswoman for the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) said: "The Ministerial Code states that Ministers must ensure that no new appointments are announced, or taken up, before the Committee has been able to provide its advice.

"An application received 30 mins before an appointment is announced is a clear breach.

"We have written to Mr Johnson for an explanation and will publish correspondence in due course, in line with our policy of transparency."

Former ministers who have left the Government in the past two years must apply to the independent watchdog before taking up a new appointment or role.

There has been speculation about what Mr Johnson would decide to pursue after quitting as an MP, with suggestions he would return to a career in journalism.

He started out as a correspondent and political columnist for The Daily Telegraph, later becoming editor of The Spectator.

In 2009, when writing a weekly column for The Daily Telegraph, he was criticised for calling his yearly £250,000 payslip "chicken feed".

And since leaving Number 10 last year, Mr Johnson has made millions of pounds from various speaking engagements, receiving a £2.5m advance payment just for signing up to a US after-dinner speech agency.

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