How Boris Johnson has rewarded the 'heroic contribution' of Russian oligarchs
The Prime Minister believes the super-rich are a "put-upon" minority who should be handed "automatic knighthoods."
When Boris Johnson was Mayor of London he described the super-rich as a “put-upon minority” and suggested that Britain’s richest people should in future receive “automatic knighthoods.”
Writing in the Telegraph, he suggested that Britain’s wealthiest people should have their taxes cut, with further rewards given for “the heroic contribution they already make.”
Unlike some of his other pledges, this is one Johnson has actually followed through on.
Since becoming Prime Minister, he has repeatedly handed peerages to some of Britain’s wealthiest people, often against official advice.
One such wealthy individual to be rewarded by Johnson is Evgeny Lebedev, who is the son of the Russian oligarch and former KGB Agent Alexander Lebedev.
Lebedev, whose paper the Evening Standard was unrelentingly supportive of Johnson during his time as London Mayor, has since appeared in the House of Lords just three times and has yet to cast a single vote.
Johnson has long had a close relationship with Lebedev. In 2012 I revealed how the Russian media mogul had flown Johnson to his Italian villa for what his spokesman later told me was a “purely personal” trip.
The trip turned out to be the first of several, with Johnson reportedly attending a series of "x-rated” parties at the villa.
Following one such event in 2018 Johnson was spotted in an Italian airport “looking like he had slept in his clothes” and struggling to walk in a straight line.