"I didn’t write or see the entries on my website, which was a work in progress, and wasn’t meant to go public. The idea that I am earning £800,000 a year is a wild fantasy...Two years ago I was given a new agreement which restricted me to 125 days a year with a commensurately deep cut in salary. I was given permission to work for any other organisation as long as it didn’t contravene the BBC’s guidelines, and I received an assurance that I could work for as long as I wanted. Throughout my long career I’ve never once transgressed the BBC’s guidelines.”
Thus BBC World Affairs editor John Simpson on the hoo-ha over a website and other elements of a Daily Mail story this week.
Is John struggling ? His current digs are a luxury four-bed flat in Oxford's "most renowned side road", which last changed hands for £1.3m in 2014, and, if rented, probably runs at over £2.3k a month. In April he set up a limited liability partnership, Kruger Simpson, with his wife, Adele, known as Dee.
Some of John's days off from the BBC are planned well in advance. For example, you can join him on "The Danube in Depth with John Simpson", a Telegraph/Emerald Waterdays cruise starting at £2,395pp, in October. Other top journalists are involved - here's the blurb.
John Simpson in Bucharest
Visit the capital of Romania in the company of John Simpson who covered the overthrow of Ceausescu for the BBC in 1989.
Martin Bell in Vukovar
A guided tour of the Croatian river port at the centre of the Balkan conflict with Martin Bell who often reported from there.
Nick Thorpe in Budapest
The BBC’s resident correspondent gives a talk and answers your questions during a traditional Hungarian dinner as you cruise through the city.