Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson in August 2019
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Assumed office
24 July 2019
MonarchElizabeth II
First Secretary
Preceded byTheresa May
Leader of the Conservative Party
Assumed office
23 July 2019
ChairmanJames Cleverly
Ben Elliot
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
In office
7 May 2015 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byJohn Randall
Succeeded byElection in progress
Majority5,034 (10.8%)
Member of Parliament
for Henley
In office
9 June 2001 – 4 June 2008
Preceded byMichael Heseltine
Succeeded byJohn Howell
Personal details
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

(1964-06-19) 19 June 1964 (age 55)
New York City, US
  • United Kingdom
  • United States (1964–2016)[1]
Political partyConservative
Domestic partnerCarrie Symonds (2018–present)[3]
Children5 or 6[4]
Residence10 Downing Street
EducationEton College
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
SignatureCommons website

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson Hon FRIBA (l/;[5] born 19 June 1964) is a British politician, writer, and former journalist serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party since July 2019. He has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Uxbridge and South Ruislip since 2015 and was MP for Henley from 2001 to 2008. He also served as Mayor of London from 2008 to 2016 and Foreign Secretary from 2016 to 2018. Johnson identifies as a one-nation conservative.

Born in New York City to upper-middle class British parents, Johnson was educated at the European School, Brussels I; Ashdown House; and Eton College. He read Classics at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was elected President of the Oxford Union in 1986. He began his career in journalism at The Times but was dismissed for falsifying a quotation. He became The Daily Telegraph's Brussels correspondent, and his articles exerted a strong influence on growing Eurosceptic sentiment on the British right. He was an assistant editor of The Daily Telegraph from 1994 to 1999, and edited The Spectator from 1999 to 2005. He was elected MP for Henley in 2001, and served as a Junior Shadow Minister under Conservative leaders Michael Howard and David Cameron. He largely adhered to the Conservatives' party line but adopted a socially liberal stance on issues such as LGBT rights in parliamentary votes. Resigning as an MP, in 2008 he was elected Mayor of London, and was re-elected in 2012. During his mayoralty, he banned alcohol consumption on much of London's public transport, oversaw the 2012 Summer Olympics, and introduced the New Routemaster buses, cycle hire scheme, and Thames cable car.

In 2015, Johnson was elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, stepping down as mayor the following year. In 2016, he became a prominent figure in the successful Vote Leave campaign for Brexit. He then served as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs under Theresa May's premiership – a post from which he resigned in criticism of May's approach to Brexit and the Chequers Agreement two years later. After May resigned in 2019, he was elected Conservative leader and appointed prime minister. In August 2019, Johnson controversially advised Queen Elizabeth II to prorogue Parliament from 10 September to 14 October; on 24 September this action was unanimously ruled to be unlawful and of no effect by the Supreme Court. In September 2019, Johnson suspended 21 of his own Conservative MPs; 10 of the 21 suspended had the whip restored in October.

Johnson is a controversial figure in British politics and journalism. Supporters have praised him as an entertaining, humorous, and popular figure, with an appeal stretching beyond traditional Conservative voters. He has been accused of dishonesty, elitism, and cronyism, and of using racist, sexist, and homophobic language. Johnson is the subject of several biographies and a number of fictionalised portrayals.

Early life

Childhood: 1964–1977

Johnson was born to upper-middle class British parents on 19 June 1964 in Manhattan's Upper East Side in New York City.[6][7] His father, Stanley Johnson, was then studying economics at Columbia University.[8] Johnson's mother is Charlotte Fawcett;[9] daughter of Sir James Fawcett and an artist from a family of liberal intellectuals. Johnson's parents married in 1963, before moving to the US.[10]

Johnson's parents lived opposite the Chelsea Hotel,[11] although in September 1964 they returned to Britain so that Charlotte could study at the University of Oxford.[12] She lived with her son in Summertown, Oxford, and gave birth to a daughter, Rachel, in 1965.[13] In July 1965, the family moved to Crouch End in North London;[14] in February 1966, they relocated to Washington, D.C., where Stanley had gained employment with the World Bank.[15] A third child, Leo, was born in September 1967.[16] Stanley then gained employment with a policy panel on population control, in June moving the family to Norwalk, Connecticut.[17]

Johnson studied at Ashdown House, East Sussex.

In 1969, the family settled into Stanley's family farm, West Nethercote Farm, near Winsford in Exmoor in the west of England.[18] There, Johnson gained his first experiences with fox hunting.[19] Stanley was regularly absent from Nethercote, leaving Johnson to be raised largely by his mother and au pairs.[20] As a child, Johnson was quiet and studious,[14] although he suffered from deafness, resulting in several operations to insert grommets into his ears.[21] He and his siblings were encouraged to engage in highbrow activities from a young age,[22] with high achievement being greatly valued; Johnson's earliest recorded ambition was to be "world king".[23] Having few or no friends other than their siblings, the children became very close.[24]

In late 1969, the family relocated to Maida Vale, West London, where Stanley began post-doctoral research at the London School of Economics.[25] In 1970, Charlotte and the children briefly returned to Nethercote, where Johnson was schooled at the Winsford Village School, before returning to London to settle in Primrose Hill,[26] there being educated at Primrose Hill Primary School.[27] In late 1971, another son, Joseph, was born to the family.[28]

After Stanley secured employment at the European Commission, he moved his family in April 1973 to Uccle, Brussels, where Johnson attended the European School, Brussels I and learned to speak French.[29][30] Charlotte had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalised with clinical depression, and Johnson and his siblings were sent to Ashdown House preparatory boarding school in East Sussex in 1975.[31] There he developed a love of rugby and excelled at Ancient Greek and Latin;[32] he was appalled at the teachers' use of corporal punishment.[33] Meanwhile, Stanley and Charlotte's relationship broke down in December 1978 and they divorced in 1980.[34] Charlotte moved into a flat in Notting Hill, where her children spent much of their time with her.[35]

Eton and Oxford: 1977–1987

As a kid I was extremely spotty, extremely nerdy and horribly swotty. My idea of a really good time was to travel across London on the tube to visit the British Museum.

—Boris Johnson[36]

Johnson was awarded a King's Scholarship to study at Eton College, the independent boarding school in Eton, Berkshire.[37] Arriving in the autumn term of 1977,[38] Johnson began using the given name Boris rather than Alex, and developed "the eccentric English persona" for which he would become known.[39] He abandoned his mother's Catholicism and became an Anglican, joining the Church of England.[40] Although school reports complained about his idleness, complacency, and lateness,[41] he was popular and well known at Eton.[39] His friends were largely from the wealthy upper-middle and upper classes; his best friends were Darius Guppy and Charles Spencer, both of whom accompanied him to the University of Oxford and remained friends into adulthood.[42] Johnson excelled in English and Classics, winning prizes in both,[43] and became secretary of the school debating society,[44] and editor of the school newspaper, The Eton College Chronicle.[45] In late 1981, he was admitted to the Eton Society.[46] Upon finishing his time at Eton, Johnson went on a gap year to Australia, where he taught English and Latin at Timbertop, an Outward Bound-inspired campus of Geelong Grammar, an elite independent boarding school.[47][48][49]

Johnson read Classics at Balliol College, Oxford.

Johnson won a scholarship to read Literae Humaniores, a four-year course based on the study of Classics, at Balliol College, Oxford.[50] Starting at the university in late 1983,[51] he was one of a generation of Oxford undergraduates who were to dominate British politics and media in the second decade of the 21st century; among them David Cameron, William Hague, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Nick Boles went on to become senior Conservative Party MPs.[52] At university he played rugby for Balliol[53] and associated primarily with Old Etonians, joining the Old Etonian-dominated Bullingdon Club, an upper-class drinking society known for vandalism.[54][55] He entered into a relationship with the upper-middle class Allegra Mostyn-Owen, and they became engaged while at university.[56]

Johnson was popular and well known at Oxford.[57] Alongside Guppy he co-edited the university's satirical magazine Tributary.[58] In 1984, Johnson was elected secretary of the Oxford Union,[59] before campaigning for the position of Union president, losing the election to Neil Sherlock.[60] In 1986, Johnson ran for president again, aided by undergraduate Frank Luntz; his campaign focused on reaching out from his established upper-class support base by emphasising his persona and playing down his Conservative connections.[61] Hoping to court their vote, Johnson associated with university groups affiliated with the centrist Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Liberal Party.[62] Luntz later alleged that Johnson portrayed himself as an SDP supporter during the campaign, although Johnson says he has no recollection of this.[62][63] Johnson won the election and was appointed president,[64] although his presidency was not seen as particularly distinguished or memorable,[65] and questions were raised regarding his competence and seriousness.[66] Having specialised in the study of ancient literature and classical philosophy, Johnson graduated from Balliol College with an upper second-class degree,[67][68] but was deeply unhappy that he did not receive a first.[69]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Boris Johnson
العربية: بوريس جونسون
asturianu: Boris Johnson
azərbaycanca: Boris Conson
বাংলা: বরিস জনসন
Bân-lâm-gú: Boris Johnson
беларуская: Борыс Джонсан
български: Борис Джонсън
brezhoneg: Boris Johnson
català: Boris Johnson
čeština: Boris Johnson
Cymraeg: Boris Johnson
Deutsch: Boris Johnson
dolnoserbski: Boris Johnson
Ελληνικά: Μπόρις Τζόνσον
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Boris Johnson
español: Boris Johnson
Esperanto: Boris Johnson
euskara: Boris Johnson
français: Boris Johnson
Gaeilge: Boris Johnson
한국어: 보리스 존슨
հայերեն: Բորիս Ջոնսոն
hornjoserbsce: Boris Johnson
hrvatski: Boris Johnson
Bahasa Indonesia: Boris Johnson
interlingua: Boris Johnson
Interlingue: Boris Johnson
isiZulu: Boris Johnson
íslenska: Boris Johnson
italiano: Boris Johnson
latviešu: Boriss Džonsons
Lëtzebuergesch: Boris Johnson
lietuvių: Boris Johnson
Limburgs: Boris Johnson
lumbaart: Boris Johnson
Bahasa Melayu: Boris Johnson
Nederlands: Boris Johnson
Nedersaksies: Boris Johnson
norsk nynorsk: Boris Johnson
occitan: Boris Johnson
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Boris Johnson
Plattdüütsch: Boris Johnson
português: Boris Johnson
română: Boris Johnson
Simple English: Boris Johnson
slovenčina: Boris Johnson
slovenščina: Boris Johnson
српски / srpski: Борис Џонсон
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Boris Johnson
svenska: Boris Johnson
татарча/tatarça: Boris Conson
Türkçe: Boris Johnson
українська: Борис Джонсон
Tiếng Việt: Boris Johnson
Yorùbá: Boris Johnson
粵語: 約翰遜
Zeêuws: Boris Johnson
žemaitėška: Boris Johnson