Boris Johnson

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
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
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

(1964-06-19) 19 June 1964 (age 55)
New York City, U.S.
  • United Kingdom
  • United States (1964–2016)[2]
Political partyConservative
Allegra Mostyn-Owen
(m. 1987; div. 1993)
Marina Wheeler
(m. 1993; sep.[3] 2018)
Domestic partnerCarrie Symonds (2018–present)[4]
Children5 or 6[5][6]
Residence10 Downing Street
EducationEton College
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
SignatureCommons website

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson Hon FRIBA (əl/;[7] 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 2019. He was Foreign Secretary from 2016 to 2018 and Mayor of London from 2008 to 2016. Johnson was Member of Parliament for Henley from 2001 to 2008 and has been MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip since 2015. Ideologically, Johnson identifies as a one-nation conservative.

Johnson was born in New York City to upper-middle class English parents and educated at 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 newspaper but was dismissed for falsifying a quotation. He later became the Brussels correspondent for The Daily Telegraph newspaper and his articles exerted a strong influence on growing Eurosceptic sentiment on the British right. He was promoted to an assistant editor from 1994 to 1999, and edited The Spectator magazine 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. He resigned as an MP and in 2008 was elected Mayor of London, being re-elected in 2012. During his mayoralty he oversaw the 2012 Summer Olympics, introduced the New Routemaster buses, cycle hire scheme, and Thames cable car and banned alcohol consumption on much of London's public transport.

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. His advice about the prorogation of Parliament was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court. In the 2019 general election, Johnson led the Conservative Party to their biggest victory since 1987, and biggest percentage vote share of any party since 1979. The United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union under the terms of Johnson's Brexit withdrawal agreement.

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. Conversely, his critics have accused him of dishonesty, elitism, and cronyism, and of using offensive language. Johnson is the subject of several biographies and fictionalised portrayals.

Early life

Childhood: 1964–1977

Johnson was born on 19 June 1964 in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City,[8][9] to 23 year-old Stanley Johnson, an upper-middle class Englishman, then studying economics at Columbia University,[10] and his 22-year-old wife of one year Charlotte Fawcett,[11] an artist from a family of liberal intellectuals and a daughter of Sir James Fawcett, a barrister. Boris's parents had married in 1963, before moving to the US[12] where they lived opposite the Chelsea Hotel;[13] in September 1964 they returned to England so that Charlotte could study at the University of Oxford,[14] during which time she lived with her son in Summertown, Oxford and in 1965 gave birth to a daughter, Rachel.[15] In July 1965 the family moved to Crouch End in North London[16] and in February 1966 they relocated to Washington, D.C., where Stanley had gained employment with the World Bank.[17] A third child, Leo, was born in September 1967.[18] Stanley then gained employment with a policy panel on population control and in June moved the family to Norwalk, Connecticut.[19]

Ashdown House preparatory school, East Sussex, attended by Johnson 1975-7

In 1969 the family returned to England and settled into West Nethercote Farm, near Winsford in Somerset, Stanley's remote family home on Exmoor in the West Country.[20] There Johnson gained his first experiences with fox hunting.[21] Stanley was regularly absent from Nethercote, leaving Johnson to be raised largely by his mother assisted by au pairs.[22] As a child Johnson was quiet and studious[16] and suffered from deafness, resulting in several operations to insert grommets into his ears.[23] He and his siblings were encouraged to engage in highbrow activities from a young age,[24] with high achievement being greatly valued; Johnson's earliest recorded ambition was to be "world king".[25] Having few or no friends other than their siblings, the children became very close.[26]

In late 1969 the family relocated to Maida Vale in West London, while Stanley began post-doctoral research at the London School of Economics.[27] In 1970 Charlotte and the children briefly returned to Nethercote, where Johnson attended Winsford Village School, before returning to London to settle in Primrose Hill,[28] North London, there being educated at Primrose Hill Primary School.[29] In late 1971 a fourth child and third son, Joseph, was born to the family.[30]

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.[31][32] Charlotte suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalised with clinical depression, after which in 1975 Johnson and his siblings were sent back to England to attend Ashdown House, a preparatory boarding school in East Sussex.[33] There he developed a love of rugby and excelled at Ancient Greek and Latin,[34] but was appalled at the teachers' use of corporal punishment.[35] Meanwhile, in December 1978 his parents' relationship broke down and they divorced in 1980,[36] when Charlotte moved into a flat in Notting Hill, West London, where she was joined by her children for much of their time.[37]

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[38]

Johnson gained a King's Scholarship to study at Eton College, the elite independent boarding school near Windsor in Berkshire.[39] Arriving in the autumn term of 1977,[40] he began using as his first-name Boris rather than Alex, and developed "the eccentric English persona" for which he became famous.[41] He abandoned his mother's Catholicism and became an Anglican, joining the Church of England.[42] School reports complained about his idleness, complacency, and lateness,[43] but he was popular and well known at Eton.[41] His friends were largely from the wealthy upper-middle and upper classes, his best friends then being Darius Guppy and Charles Spencer, both of whom later accompanied him to the University of Oxford and remained friends into adulthood.[44] Johnson excelled in English and Classics, winning prizes in both,[45] and became secretary of the school debating society,[46] and editor of the school newspaper, The Eton College Chronicle.[47] In late 1981, he was elected a member of Pop,[48] the small, self-selecting elite and glamorous group of prefects. It was later in Johnson's career a point of rivalry with David Cameron, who had failed to enter Pop. On leaving 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.[49][50][51]

Johnson read Classics at Balliol College, Oxford.

Johnson won a scholarship to read Literae Humaniores at Balliol College, Oxford, a four-year course in the study of the Classics, ancient literature and classical philosophy.[52] Matriculating at the university in late 1983,[53] he was one of a generation of Oxford undergraduates who were later 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 all went on to become senior Conservative Party politicians.[54] At university he played rugby for Balliol[55] and associated primarily with Old Etonians. To his later regret he joined the Old Etonian-dominated Bullingdon Club, an exclusive drinking society notorious for acts of vandalism on host premises.[56][57] Many years later a group photograph including himself and Cameron in Bullingdon Club formal dress was the cause of much negative press coverage. He entered into a relationship with Allegra Mostyn-Owen, a glamorous and popular fellow student from his own social background and they became engaged while at university.[58]

Johnson was popular and well known at Oxford.[59] Alongside Guppy he co-edited the university's satirical magazine Tributary.[60] In 1984, Johnson was elected secretary of the Oxford Union,[61] and campaigned for the career-enhancing and important position of Union President, but lost to Neil Sherlock.[62] In 1986 Johnson ran for president again, aided by undergraduate Frank Luntz; this time his campaign focused on reaching out beyond his established upper-class support base by emphasising his persona and playing down his Conservative connections.[63] Hoping to court their vote, Johnson associated with university groups affiliated with the centrist Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Liberal Party.[64] Luntz later alleged that Johnson portrayed himself as an SDP supporter during the campaign, of which Johnson later said he had no recollection.[64][65] Johnson won the election[66] but his term was not particularly distinguished or memorable[67] and questions were raised regarding his competence and seriousness.[68] Finally, Johnson was awarded only an upper second-class degree,[69][70] and was deeply unhappy that he did not receive a first.[71]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Boris Johnson
Alemannisch: Boris Johnson
Ænglisc: 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
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဘောရစ် ဂျွန်ဆင်
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