Name: Boris Johnson
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
24 July 2019
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Theresa May
Leader of the Conservative Party
23 July 2019
Preceded by Theresa May
24 July 2019
Head Elizabeth II
Preceded by Theresa May
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
13 July 2016 – 9 July 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May
Preceded by Philip Hammond
Succeeded by Jeremy Hunt
Mayor of London
4 May 2008 – 9 May 2016
Preceded by Ken Livingstone
Succeeded by Sadiq Khan
Member of Parliament
for Uxbridge and South Ruislip
7 May 2015
Preceded by John Randall
Majority 5,034 (10.8%)
Member of Parliament
9 June 2001 – 4 June 2008
Preceded by Michael Heseltine
Succeeded by John Howell
Born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson
19 June 1964 (age 55)
New York City, U.S.
United States (1964–2016)
Political party Conservative
(m. 1987; div. 1993)
(m. 1993; sep. 2018)
Domestic partner Carrie Symonds (2019–present)
Children 5 or 6
Stanley Johnson (father)
Charlotte Fawcett (mother)
Rachel Johnson (sister)
Jo Johnson (brother)
Leo Johnson (brother)
Residence 10 Downing Street
Education Eton College
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Who is Boris Johnson?
Boris Johnson is British born leading Conservative Politician. He was the Mayor of London for two terms 2008-16, overseeing the 2012 London Olympics. He also played a leading role in the 2016 “Vote Leave” campaign on the EU referendum, afterwards becoming Foreign Secretary. He is one of Britain’s most high profile politicians, renowned for his eccentric approach to life. He has been touted as a potential future leader of the Conservative party.
Early life of Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson was born on 19th June 1964. His full name is actually, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, but chooses to use the shortened version of Boris.
Boris is the son of Stanley Johnson, who is descended from Turkish ancestry and a former member of the European Parliament. Boris was educated at Eton, and Balliol College, Oxford University, where he studied classics. During his time at Oxford University, he became president of the prestigious Oxford Union. It is claimed that he was the preferred candidate of the Social Democrat party, although Boris claims he was never an active participant in the centre-left party.
During his time at Oxford, he also became involved in various drinking clubs, such as the Bullingdon Club. This drinking society was associated with a “Hurray Henry” mentality. Boris has maintained this impression of being an Oxford toff, into his political and public life. In his own words Boris has said:
“A wise guy playing the fool to win” – Boris Johnson
The media have often referred to him as “Bozzer”.
On graduating from Oxford he spent one week as a management consultant, before having to resign he memorably said:
“Try as I might, I could not look at an overhead projection of a growth profit matrix, and stay conscious” – Boris Johnson
Instead, he pursued a career in journalism. In 1987 he worked as a journalist for the Times, but he was sacked from the Times by editor Charles Wilson for inventing a quote by historian Colin Lucas. After the Times, he moved to the Telegraph where he was appointed to Brussels to cover European issues. At the Telegraph he carved out a niche – writing humorous, Europsceptic articles, which were warmly received by the Telegraph readership.
🗣 Prime Minister @BorisJohnson: "To show our friends in Brussels that we're united in our purpose, MPs should vote with the govt against Corbyn’s pointless delay."
💙 Like if you agree with Boris 👇 pic.twitter.com/DBCNH2nbnO
— Conservatives (@Conservatives) September 2, 2019
Johnson was criticised by fellow journalists for writing untruths and making up stories to discredit the European Commission. However, the articles had a powerful impact on UK politics, increasing tensions within the Conservative Party, and raising the profile of Euro-scepticism.
In 1999, his profile led him to be hired as editor of the Spectator; his position led to considerable controversy. Not least, over an editorial criticising the people of Liverpool for being “overly sentimental” in response to the murder of British hostage Ken Bigley. The editorial created uproar in Liverpool; Boris Johnson was forced by his party leader Michael Howard to travel to Liverpool to apologise for his behaviour. Boris did go to Liverpool though he faced a frosty reaction.
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Boris Johnson as MP
In 2001, Boris Johnson was elected an MP for Henley on Thames, replacing Michael Heseltine. In 2004 he was appointed shadow minister for the arts. However, in November 2004, he was forced to resign over allegations of an extramarital affair with Petronella Wyatt. In 2005, he was reprieved and given the position of shadow minister for education. In 2006, allegations of another extramarital affair arose, but David Cameron did not consider it sufficient to deserve a sacking. In 2015, he was elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip.
Brexit campaign: 2015–2016
In February 2016, after some swithering, Johnson endorsed Vote Leave in the “Out” campaign for the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. He called Cameron’s warnings about leaving “greatly over exaggerated”. Following this announcement, which was interpreted by financial markets as making Brexit more probable, the pound sterling slumped by nearly 2% against the US dollar, reaching its lowest level since March 2009.
Boris Johnson and Mayor of London
In July 2007, Boris Johnson resigned from his position as shadow education secretary so that he would be free to stand as Conservative candidate for Mayor of London. He was successful in beating the incumbent Ken Livingstone. As Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has forged a strong political identity, often criticising his own party, for example over placing a cap on housing benefits, which hurts London more than other areas. Describing his own political views, Johnson states:
“[I am] free-market, tolerant, broadly libertarian (though perhaps not ultra-libertarian), inclined to see the merit of traditions, anti-regulation, pro-immigrant, pro-standing on your own two feet, pro-alcohol, pro-hunting, pro-motorist and ready to defend to the death the right of Glenn Hoddle to believe in reincarnation.” – Boris Johnson
From 2008-16, Johnson served as Mayor of London becoming one of the highest-profile politicians in the UK. He has often been rumoured as a credible leadership candidate for the Conservative party, though he often denied this. In 2012, Johnson was re-elected Mayor of London, again defeating Ken Livingstone.
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How did Boris Johnson become Mayor of London?
- Developed high media profile through appearance on TV
- Ability to turn gaffes into public relation successes.
- An appeal to young people across traditional party boundaries.
- Gave the impression of charismatic and unique personality, an increasing rarity in modern politics.
- It was partly a backlash against the Labour government in 2007, but primarily because of Johnson’s personal profile. It is rare for Conservatives to do well in London.
- Ken Livingston had his own high public profile after eight years in the job, but there was some desire for a change
Today Barbara Windsor and PM @BorisJohnson met at Downing Street to discuss improvements to dementia care. pic.twitter.com/8DfzIjxQ7b
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) September 2, 2019
Boris Johnson and Cycling
Boris is well known for his love of cycling and frequently commutes to work through the busy streets of London. As mayor of London, he implemented an existing idea to provide hire bikes in London. For a time, they became known as the “Boris Bike”.
He has had many bikes stolen and has written extensively on the injustice of bike theft. For example, he notes that on having a bike stole people usually respond by criticising the cyclist for not taking sufficient precautions or buying a bike that is too flash. He admits that he has fantasised over leaving dummy bikes as bait for thieves and then setting the Navy Seals on to the criminals.
Boris Johnson and Have I got News for You
In 1998 Boris Johnson first appeared on Have I Got News for You. His appearance was considered a success, and he was invited back for future episodes and also twice to host the show. Johnson’s comedy persona of playing the ‘Upper-Class Twit’ made him a media celebrity and raised his profile beyond the political class. Usually, the show lasts for 30 minutes. With Boris in the chair, there were frequent pauses and extra time getting through questions. Merton and Hislop affectionately refer to Johnson as “Wodehousian”, and agree that “every time he’s on it gets better”.
Some of Boris Johnson quotes
“We’re moving irresistibly towards a conclusion.”
“Badgers badgers badger badger badgers.”
“There may be a reason I can’t think of, but the problem with that reason is that I can’t think of it now.”
“I think I was once given cocaine, but I sneezed, so it didn’t go up my nose. In fact, it may have been icing sugar.”
“I could not fail to disagree with you less.”
– Boris Johnson, Have I Got News for You
Boris Johnson and London Olympics
Boris was a key figurehead for the successful 2012 London Olympics. Even getting stuck on a high wire, did Boris no harm. At the end of the London Olympics, Johnson said:
“But I suppose there are two emotions – one is obviously some sadness that it is all over, because it’s been an amazing experience, but also a great relief because there is no doubt it has been a prodigious exertion by London and by Londoners.”
Boris Johnson and EU Referendum
In February 2016, Boris Johnson announced he would back the Vote Leave campaign. His decision to support Vote Leave rather than the PM’s ‘Remain’ campaign was seen as a highly influential decision – as his high profile could swing many undecided voters. Johnson, who had previously spoken of the benefits of the Single Market, stated it was a difficult decision. Indeed Boris Johnson wrote two articles – one supporting Leave, one supporting Remain. He stated he wrote two different articles to help make up his mind. Critics argued it showed his insincerity and some feel his decision to support Vote Leave was partly motivated by the belief it would help best his political career.
On the eve of the Referendum, Johnson appeared on a live TV debate and declared 23 June could be “Britain’s independence day”. Against many expectations, Britain voted to leave EU by a majority of 52% – 48%. After the result, the Prime Minister David Cameron resigned, leading to a leadership campaign for the Conservative Party. It was expected Boris Johnson would be the front-runner as he was the most popular with party activists. However, to many people’s surprise, his fellow Vote Leave campaigner Michael Gove announced his decision to stand, causing Johnson to re-evaluate and unexpectedly announce he would not stand after all. In the end, Theresa May, who nominally supported Vote Remain was chosen as party leader.
Despite differences with Theresa May, she appointed Johnson as Foreign Secretary.
Johnson’s Life of London
Boris Johnson has authored several books on Ancient Rome, Winston Churchill and a best selling account of the history of London.
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