Boris Johnson denies demanding $1m to be interviewed by Tucker Carlson

Boris Johnson allegedly demanded one million dollars to be interviewed by Tucker Carlson
Former PM Boris Johnson claims he was going to donate any fee from Carlson to Ukrainian veterans' charities - Stanislav Ivanov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

Boris Johnson has denied demanding a million-dollar fee for an interview with ex-Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

The US presenter accused the former prime minister of requesting the payment, equivalent to around £800,000, for the booking. But Mr Johnson’s team dismissed that as “untrue” and claimed Mr Carlson had been the one to make the offer.

They said Mr Johnson initially accepted, provided the money went solely to Ukrainian veterans’ charities, but decided not to go ahead after the death of Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, which has been widely blamed on the Kremlin.

Mr Carlson, an influential voice in Right-wing US media known for his attacks on Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, said he had been “annoyed” after Mr Johnson denounced him as a Kremlin stooge following his interview with Vladimir Putin.

He claimed he put in a request for an interview with the ex-prime minister, which was initially declined.

Speaking to Blaze TV, a Right-wing news channel, he said: “Finally one of his advisers gets back to me and says, ‘He will talk to you, but it’s going to cost you a million dollars.’

“He wants a million dollars, in US dollars, gold or bitcoin – this just happened yesterday, or two days ago. Then he will talk to you about Ukraine – he will explain his position on Ukraine.”

It is the latest flare-up in a row between the pair after Mr Johnson used his Daily Mail column to call Mr Carlson “a traitor to journalism” for his interview with Putin.

Mr Carlson denied supporting the Russian regime, but added: “Putin didn’t ask for one million dollars… This whole thing is a freaking shakedown.

“If you’re making money off a war, you know, you can deal with God on that, because that’s really immoral.”

Mr Johnson said the presenter had betrayed “viewers and listeners around the world” for not taking Putin to task for “the torture, the rapes, the blowing up of kindergartens” in Ukraine.

In the interview, the Russian leader insisted that Mr Johnson helped scupper a deal aimed at ending the war – a claim that has been denied by the former premier and rubbished by senior Ukrainian figures.