Boris Johnson

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson MP (born 19 June 1964) is a British politician and journalist. He is Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He has been the Leader of the Conservative Party since 23 July 2019.[2] Johnson is the Member of Parliament for Uxbridge and South Ruislip. He has been since 2015. He represented the constituency of Henley from 2001 to 2008.


Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson in August 2019
Johnson in 2019
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Assumed office
24 July 2019
MonarchElizabeth II
First SecretaryDominic Raab
Preceded byTheresa May
Leader of the Conservative Party
Assumed office
23 July 2019
ChairmanJames Cleverly
Ben Elliot
Amanda Milling
Preceded byTheresa May
Commonwealth Chair-in-Office
Assumed office
24 July 2019
HeadElizabeth II
Preceded byTheresa May
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
13 July 2016 – 9 July 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byPhilip Hammond
Succeeded byJeremy Hunt
Mayor of London
In office
4 May 2008 – 9 May 2016
Deputy Mayor
Preceded byKen Livingstone
Succeeded bySadiq Khan
Member of Parliament
for Uxbridge and South Ruislip
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byJohn Randall
Majority7,210 (15.0%)[1]
Member of Parliament
for Henley
In office
7 June 2001 – 4 June 2008
Preceded byMichael Heseltine
Succeeded byJohn Howell
Personal details
Born
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

(1964-06-19) 19 June 1964 (age 56)
Manhattan, New York City, US
Citizenship
  • British
  • United States (1964–2016)
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)
Allegra Mostyn-Owen
(m. 1987; ann. 1993)

Marina Wheeler
(m. 1993; sep. 2018)
Domestic partnerCarrie Symonds (2018–present; engaged)
ChildrenAt least 6[a]
Parents
Relatives
Residence10 Downing Street
EducationEton College
Alma materBalliol College, University of Oxford
Signature
WebsiteBoris Johnson website

In the 2008 Mayor of London election he was elected as London's second Mayor. He stopped working as mayor to run as an MP for the House of Commons in 2015. In July 2016, Johnson became Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. He resigned this position in July 2018. This was the same day that David Davis resigned as Brexit Secretary.[3] Jeremy Hunt became the Secretary of State for Foreign affairs and Commonwealth Affairs after Johnson.

Johnson was educated at Eton. He went to Balliol College, Oxford where he studied Classics. He began his journalism career with The Times. Later, he moved to The Daily Telegraph where he was assistant editor. He became editor of The Spectator in 1999. He was elected to the House of Commons in the 2001 general election. He became one of the most famous politicians in the country. He has also written several books.

Johnson served on the Conservative front bench under Michael Howard for a short time. He was the Shadow Minister for the Arts from April 2004 until November 2004. He was sacked after allegedly lying about a sex scandal. Johnson returned to the front bench when David Cameron became leader of the Conservative Party in 2005. Johnson became Shadow Minister for Higher Education. He resigned as editor of The Spectator to spend more time on his new role.

On 26 August 2014, Johnson said he would stand as Conservative candidate for MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the 2015 General Election.[4] He won the election. He did not run for the 2016 London mayoral election. Labour candidate Sadiq Khan became the new London mayor.

Johnson was in support of Brexit during the 2016 membership referendum. The vote decided that the United Kingdom would leave the European Union. Theresa May became the new Prime Minister. She chose Johnson as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in July 2016. Johnson left May's cabinet in July 2018 after her Brexit agreements failed.

Johnson became the party leader in the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election.[5] On 20 June, Johnson and Jeremy Hunt became the last two candidates in the election.[6] He became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on 24 July 2019. The Conservatives won the 2019 United Kingdom general election on 13 December 2019. Johnson continued as Prime Minister.

In early April 2020, Johnson was very sick due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[7][8] He returned to work in late April.

Early life and educationEdit

Boris Johnson was born in a clinic at Upper East Side in New York City, New York [9]. He is the eldest of the four children of Stanley Johnson. Stanley is a former Conservative MEP (Member of the European Parliament). He was also an employee of the European Commission and the World Bank. Boris Johnson's mother is the painter Charlotte Fawcett (later Wahl).[10] She is the daughter of Sir James Fawcett, a prominent barrister[11] and the president of the European Commission of Human Rights.[12]

On his father's side Johnson is the great-grandson of Ali Kemal. Kemal was a liberal Turkish journalist and interior minister in the government of Damat Ferid Pasha, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire. He was murdered during the Turkish War of Independence.[13] During World War I, Boris's grandfather and great aunt were recognised as British subjects. They took their grandmother's maiden name of Johnson. Johnson has described himself as a "one-man melting pot" because of his cosmopolitan ancestry. His ancestors were Muslims, Jews and Christians if one counts his great-grandparents.[14] His father's maternal (his mother's) grandmother, Marie Louise de Pfeffel, was a descendent of Prince Paul of Württemberg. This was due to the Prince's relationship with a German actress. Johnson is a descendent of King George II of Great Britain through Prince Paul. Johnson is also a descendent of all the previous British royal houses through George's great-great-great grandfather, King James I of England.

Johnson and his family went back to England soon after he was born because his mother needed to take her Oxford finals. Johnson's sister Rachel was born a year later. As a child, Boris Johnson had severe (bad) deafness. He had many operations to have grommets put in his ears. He was reportedly quite quiet as a child.[15] He was educated at the European School in Brussels,[16] Ashdown House and then at Eton College. At Eton, he was a King's Scholar. He read Classics at Balliol College, Oxford. He was a Brackenbury scholar. He was also elected President of the Oxford Union at his second attempt (try). Radek Sikorski said that Johnson acted as a supporter of the Social Democratic Party[15] to win the Union presidency. This was because the party was popular at the university. Johnson denies he did this. He said he was only the SDP's preferred candidate. Along with David Cameron he was a member of Oxford's Bullingdon Club. The club is a student dining society known for its raucous feasts.[17]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1987 Johnson married Allegra Mostyn-Owen. The marriage lasted less than a year. It was dissolved in 1993.[18] He married the barrister Marina Wheeler later the same year. Wheeler is the daughter of journalist and broadcaster Sir Charles Wheeler and his Sikh Indian wife, Dip Singh.[19] The Wheeler and Johnson families have known each other for many years.[15] Marina Wheeler was at the European School in Brussels at the same time as Boris Johnson. They have two sons—Theodore Apollo (born 1999) and Milo Arthur (born 1995)—and two daughters—Lara Lettice (born 1993) and Cassia Peaches (born 1997).[20]

In 2016 Johnson renounced his American citizenship. He was American because he was born in New York.[21] In 2018, Johnson and Wheeler announced their separation. His new girlfriend is Carrie Symonds. They became engaged in late 2019. Their first son was born on 29 April 2020. He was born at University College Hospital in London. His name is Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson.

Political careerEdit

Johnson ran for MP of Clwyd South in the 1997 general election. He lost the election. In 2001, he was elected MP for Henley. He replaced Michael Heseltine. In 2004 he became Shadow Minister for the Arts after Nick Hawkins (the Shadow Home Affairs Spokesman) resigned. Johnson was vice-chairman of the Conservative Party from November 2003. He put an emphasis on campaigning.[22]

 
Johnson in March 2006

Johnson was sacked from these high-profile posts in November 2004. He was accused of lying to Michael Howard about a four-year extramarital affair with Petronella Wyatt, The Spectator's New York correspondent and former deputy editor. Johnson said the allegations were not true. He said they were "an inverted pyramid of piffle". However, Howard sacked Johnson because he believed press reports showed Johnson had lied, and not because of the affair itself.[23]

The new Conservative Leader David Cameron made him Shadow Minister for Higher Education on 9 December 2005. Johnson resigned as editor of The Spectator soon after this. On 2 April 2006 the News of the World said that Johnson had had another extramarital affair. They said the affairwas with journalist Anna Fazackerley from theTimes Higher Education Supplement. A video[24] shows him coming out her flat and waving to her in a taxi. In a speech at the University of Exeter concerning student finance, Johson allegedly made funny remarks about his gratitude to the audience for not "raising other issues" during the talk. This may have been a reference to the allegations about the second affair. A report in The Times[25] said that Cameron saw the possible affair as a private matter. He said that Johnson would not lose his job over it.

2008 London Mayoral electionEdit

Johnson told the press he may be a Conservative candidate for the London mayoral election in 2008 on 16 July 2007.[26] Reports said he declared that "the opportunity is too great and the prize too wonderful to miss ... the chance to represent London and speak for Londoners"[26] . He resigned as Shadow Minister for Higher Education. A public London wide primary gave him 75% of the vote.[27] He was confirmed as the Conservative candidate on 27 September 2007.

Mayor of LondonEdit

Alcohol use ban on public transportEdit

 
Johnson pledged to reinstate Routemaster buses if elected Mayor

On 7 May 2008, Johnson said he wanted to ban (stop) people drinking alcohol on the London transport system. This was meant to start on 1 June.[28] Jeroen Weimar, Transport for London's director of transport policing and enforcement, said this was reasonable. He said people should be more considerate on trains.[29] The ban initially applied on the London Underground, Buses, DLR and Croydon Trams. The London Overground was added later in June 2008. Press releases said that the ban was for "stations across the capital". It did not say if this included National Rail stations - especially the stations not served by the TfL lines on which alcohol is banned.

Thousands of drinkers used the Underground system on the last evening on which alcohol was allowed to mark the event. Six London Underground stations had to close because of the trouble. Drinkers assaulted a number of staff and police. Police made 17 arrests. Drinkers damaged several trains. The trains were withdrawn from service.[29]

2008 OlympicsEdit

Johnson was present at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He was London's representative to receive the Olympic flag from Guo Jinlong, the Mayor of Beijing. This was to formally announce London as Olympic host city for 2012. The Chinese media said he was "rude, arrogant and disrespectful" for accepting the Olympic flag with one hand, putting his hands in his pockets and not buttoning up his jacket.[30] Later, at a party held at London House in Beijing, Johnson gave a speech in which he declared "ping pong is coming home".[31]

MP (since 2015)Edit

 
Johnson with President of Israel Reuven Rivlin, November 2015

In August 2014, Johnson said that he would run as the Conservative candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip at the 2015 general election.[32] He became the party's candidate in September.[33][34] In the May 2015 general election Johnson won the election. He became MP. Some thought he ran for MP to replace David Cameron as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.[35]

BrexitEdit

In February 2016, Johnson supported Vote Leave for the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016.[36] After Johnson said he wanted to leave the European Union, Brexit approval dropped nearly 2% to its lowest level since March 2009.[37]

On 22 June 2016, Johnson said that 23 June could be "Britain's independence day" in a televised debate in front of a 6000-member audience at Wembley Arena.[38] David Cameron, British Prime Minister at the time, talked about Johnson's claim. He said: "the idea that our country isn't independent is nonsense. This whole debate demonstrates our sovereignty."[39]

David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Johnson was the favourite to be the new Prime Minister.[40][41] However, Johnson announced he would not stand in the Conservative leadership election.[42]

Foreign Secretary (2016–2018)Edit

 
Johnson meeting President Donald Trump at the United Nations, October 2017

Theresa May became leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. In July 2016, she appointed Johnson Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.[43] Many saw that this appointment made his political power weaker.[44] Barack Obama was critical of Johnson after Johnson made a racist remark to Obama. This was after Obama said he wanted the U.K. to stay in the European Union.[45]

In May 2018, Johnson supported the Iran Nuclear deal. This is something that President Donald Trump did not support.[46][47] After the Poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, Johnson compared Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.[48]

Johnson has been accused of sexism, corruption and racism during his political career.[49]

Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary in July 2018. This was after Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit agreements failed.[50]

Prime Minister (since 2019)Edit

2019 leadership raceEdit

On 16 May 2019, Johnson announced his plans to run for Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party in the 2019 election.[5] He got through the first round of voting with 114 Conservative MPs voting for him.[51] He later won all future ballots by large numbers. He was part of the final two candidates with Jeremy Hunt on 20 June.

The members' vote closed on 22 July. The result was announced on 23 July. Johnson was elected leader with 92,153 votes (66.4%) to Hunt's 46,656 votes (33.6%).[52] He formally replaced Theresa May as Prime Minister on 24 July after a meeting with the Queen.

2019 general electionEdit

On 29 October 2019, Johnson announced that the next general election would happen on 12 December 2019.[53] He wanted the Conservatives to win a majority in parliament to pass a Brexit bill.[53] The election result was a large Conservative victory. They won with an overall majority of about 80 seats. The result was the worst for the Labour Party since 1935.

Other websitesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Uxbridge & South Ruislip". BBC News. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  2. Lawless, Jill; Kirka, Danica (2019-07-23). "Boris Johnson chosen as new UK leader, now faces Brexit test". AP NEWS. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  3. "Brexit secretary David Davis resigns plunging government into crisis". Cite has empty unknown parameter: |dead-url= (help)
  4. de Peyer, Robin (26 August 2014). "Boris Johnson declares he will stand in Uxbridge and South Ruislip". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Boris Johnson confirms bid for Tory leadership". 16 May 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  6. "Johnson and Hunt left in Tory leader race". BBC News. 20 June 2019. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  7. "PM Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus". BBC News. 2020-03-27. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  8. "Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock in self-isolation with coronavirus". The Guardian. 2020-03-27. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  9. Purnell, Sonia (2011-09-22). Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition - A Biography of Boris Johnson. Aurum Press. ISBN 978-1-84513-741-0.
  10. Boris Johnson, by his mother Charlotte Johnson Wahl Telegraph, 18 May 2008
  11. Sholto Byrnes (2008-03-27). ""Who is Boris Johnson?"". New Statesman. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
  12. "Human Rights in the Private Sphere", Andrew Clapham, OUP, 1993, p. 186.
  13. Norman Stone "My dream for Turkey, by Boris’s great-grandfather", The Spectator, 23 April 2008.
  14. Woodward, Will; correspondent, chief political (17 July 2007). "Phooey! One-man melting pot ready to take on King Newt" – via www.theguardian.com.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Gimson, Andrew (2006 [2007]). Boris: The Rise of Boris Johnson. Pocket Books [Simon & Schuster]. pp. 11–12, 26–27, 71, 118, 119, 254. ISBN 0-7432-7584-5. Check date values in: |year= (help)
  16. "European School, Culham: 20 Apr 2004: Westminster Hall debates". TheyWorkForYou.
  17. "Cameron's cronies in the Bullingdon class of '87". Daily Mail. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
  18. Doward, Jamie (28 August 2004). "The Observer profile: Boris Johnson" – via www.theguardian.com.
  19. ""Boris celebrates Vaisakhi in Southall"". BackBoris.com. 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
  20. ""The Boris Johnson story "". BBC News. 2008-05-04. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
  21. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/08/boris-johnson-renounces-us-citizenship-record-2016-uk-foreign-secretary
  22. "The Conservative Party has decided to sell the lease on its London HQ.", BBC News, 11 November 2003. Retrieved on 15 April 2008.
  23. Independent article from 14 November 2004 on Johnson's sacking.
  24. "News of the World video clip of Boris Johnson". News of the World.
  25. "Johnson 'will keep his job'". The Times. 2006-04-03. Retrieved 2006-09-17.
  26. 26.0 26.1 George Jones "Boris Johnson to run for mayor", Daily Telegraph, 18 July 2007. Retrieved on 24 July 2007.
  27. "Johnson is Tory mayor candidate". BBC News. 2007-09-27.
  28. "Mayor unveils plan to ban alcohol on the transport network". Greater London Authority. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2008-05-07.
  29. 29.0 29.1 "Tube drinks party sparks mayhem". BBC News. 2008-06-01. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  30. "Chinese media mocks London 2012 Olympic handover performance". Telegraph. 2008-08-26.
  31. "Ping-Pong's Coming Home!". 25 August 2008.
  32. de Peyer, Robin (26 August 2014). "Boris Johnson declares he will stand in Uxbridge and South Ruislip". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  33. Johnston, Chris (12 September 2014). "Boris Johnson selected to stand for Tories in Uxbridge and South Ruislip". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  34. Swinford, Steven; Holehouse, Matthew (12 September 2014). "Boris Johnson selected to stand for Tories in Uxbridge and South Ruislip". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  35. Bennett, Asa (17 September 2012). "Boris Johnson lacks the skills to be prime minister, says Tory chairman". LondonlovesBusiness.com. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  36. "Boris Johnson says UK is better off outside the EU". BBC News. 21 February 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  37. Wearden, Graeme (22 February 2016). "Pound hits seven-year low after Boris Johnson's Brexit decision". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  38. "EU debate: Boris Johnson says Brexit will be 'Britain's independence day' as Ruth Davidson attacks 'lies' of Leave campaign in front of 6,000-strong Wembley audience". The Daily Telegraph. 20 June 2016.
  39. "Boris Johnson's independence day claim nonsense, says David Cameron". The Guardian. 22 June 2016.
  40. "Boris Johnson Favourite to replace David Cameron as PM after Brexit". The Guardian. London. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  41. Cowburn, Ashley (30 June 2016). "Michael Gove's statement on running for Tory leadership against Boris Johnson". The Independent. London. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  42. "Boris Johnson rules himself out of Conservative leader race". BBC News. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  43. Hutton, Robert. "Boris Johnson Appointed U.K. Foreign Secretary in May Government". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  44. Stephen Bush (14 July 2016). "Sending Boris Johnson to the Foreign Office is bad for Britain, good for Theresa May". New Statesman. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  45. Robert Moore (14 July 2016). "Boris Johnson's appointment as Foreign Secretary has not gone down well in the United States". ITV News. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  46. "Boris Johnson defends Iran nuclear deal after Israeli claims". 1 May 2018.
  47. Wintour, Patrick (9 May 2018). "UK will not follow Trump in ditching Iran deal, Boris Johnson vows". The Guardian.
  48. Wintour, Patrick (21 March 2018). "Boris Johnson compares Russian World Cup to Hitler's 1936 Olympics". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  49. "Speaker tells Johnson off for 'sexism'". BBC News. 27 March 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  50. Stewart, Heather; Crerar, Pippa; Sabbagh, Dan (9 July 2018). "May's plan 'sticks in the throat', says Boris Johnson as he resigns over Brexit". The Guardian. London.
  51. "Johnson tops first Tory leadership poll". 2019-06-13. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  52. Heather, Stewart (23 July 2019). "Boris Johnson elected new Tory leader". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  53. 53.0 53.1 Chris Hanretty (29 October 2019). "Why UK election outcome is impossible to predict". Politico Europe. Retrieved 29 October 2019.

Notes

  1. Johnson has not disclosed how many children he has. He is known to have had four children with his second wife, Marina Wheeler; a fifth child from an extramarital affair with Helen MacIntyre; and a sixth child with his fiancée Carrie Symonds. There have been allegations of another child born from another extramarital affair during his marriage to Wheeler, but Johnson has not commented on these.