Hodder & Stoughton has remained tight-lipped after Boris Johnson suggested his long-awaited book on Shakespeare could be delayed yet again.
The Tory leadership hopeful’s Shakespeare: The Riddle of Genius was originally scheduled for release in October 2016 to mark 400 years since the bard’s death. But, in July that year, Hodder announced it would not be published for the foreseeable future.
This April, it was revealed the biography was now slated for April 2020.
However, at a hustings on 5th July, Johnson hinted it could be delayed again as he claimed he is making "sacrifices" in his bid to become Prime Minister. The comments came when Johnson, who is a columnist for the Daily Telegraph in addition to being an MP, was asked for an example of setting aside self-interest for the good of the country.
According to the Mirror, he replied: “It’s a good question - and it’s embarrassing but true, it is obviously possible to make more money by not being a full time politician. I don’t want to put too fine a point on it but you know you have to make sacrifices sometimes and that is the right thing to do.
“There’s no doubt at all that being a full time politician means I won’t be able, for instance, to rapidly complete a book on Shakespeare that I have in preparation."
He went on: "It means that unjustly neglected author will no longer get the treatment he deserves as fast as it might otherwise happen. That will grieve me because... I love writing about him.”
Reports of Johnson’s advance for the book have ranged from £90,000 to £500,000. Hodder & Stoughton declined to comment on Johnson's remarks.
The news comes as the Tory Party's 160,000 members vote to choose the winner of the leadership contest in the coming weeks, with a series of hustings across the nation planned, which will see Jeremy Hunt and Johnson take part in a head-to-head debate in front of Tory activists. Votes will be counted on Monday 22nd July.