Boris Johnson

Member of Parliament for Uxbridge and South Ruislip



A flamboyant orator with marmite appeal, Boris Johnson’s character has propelled his political career, landing him premiership of Britain in 2019. He was born in New York City and attended Eton College, later reading classics at Oxford. There, he served as president of the Oxford Union and was a contemporary of other future Conservative politicians including David Cameron, George Osborne and Michael Gove. Johnson subsequently began a career as a journalist for The Times and then The Telegraph, where he became famous for covering what was then the European Economic Community in a negative light. He became assistant editor and chief political columnist. After an unsuccessful attempt to join parliament in 1997, Johnson became editor of The Spectator, where he grew the readership by 10 per cent. In 2003, Johnson was appointed as vice chair of the Conservative party and the following year became shadow arts minister. He was dismissed from these posts by the then Conservative leader Michael Howard for lying about an affair. In 2005, he became shadow higher education minister. As Mayor for London from 2008 to 2016, Johnson introduced new Routemaster buses, a public bicycle system across the city, and began the process of extending London Underground opening hours to run through the night. In 2015, Johnson was re-elected to parliament as the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip. Johnson helped lead the Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 EU referendum, famously writing two articles (one for, one against) before deciding which to publish. In 2016, Johnson was appointed foreign secretary by Theresa May, but resigned the post in 2018 over the government’s Brexit strategy. As prime minister from 2019, Johnson engaged in negotiations for a new withdrawal agreement with the European Union, soon running into significant difficulty in the House of Commons, losing his working majority and being compelled to seek an extension to Article 50 despite having pledged he would rather “die in a ditch” than have to do so. But Johnson’s gambit paid off, with a snap election in December 2019 bringing a Conservative majority of 80, the largest Conservative victory since 1987. One week after polling day, the Commons passed the withdrawal agreement bill. Johnson relied on the support of a special advisor Dominic Cummings (notorious leader of the Vote Leave campaign) up until November 2020: the relationship was criticised for allowing Cummings too much influence in government. In 2020, Johnson has led the UK government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has been fraught with crises ranging from PPE shortages to the appallingly high UK coronavirus death toll which reached the highest total deaths throughout Europe in July 2020. Johnson suffered a severe case of coronavirus in spring 2020 but recovered just before the birth of his child, with former head of communications for the Conservative Party, Carrie Symonds.

Financial Interests

Official parliamentary photograph taken by Chris McAndrew, 2017, licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0