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Boris Johnson
Official portrait of Boris Johnson as prime minister of the United Kingdom
Official portrait, 2019
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
24 July 2019 – 6 September 2022
Monarch Elizabeth II
Deputy Dominic Raab
Preceded by Theresa May
Succeeded by Liz Truss
Leader of the Conservative Party
In office
23 July 2019 – 5 September 2022
Preceded by Theresa May
Succeeded by Liz Truss
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
13 July 2016 – 9 July 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May
Preceded by Philip Hammond
Succeeded by Jeremy Hunt
Mayor of London
In office
3 May 2008 – 9 May 2016
  • Richard Barnes
  • Victoria Borwick
  • Roger Evans
Preceded by Ken Livingstone
Succeeded by Sadiq Khan
Member of Parliament
for Uxbridge and South Ruislip
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded by John Randall
Majority 7,210 (15.0%)
Member of Parliament
for Henley
In office
7 June 2001 – 4 June 2008
Preceded by Michael Heseltine
Succeeded by John Howell
Shadow portfolios
2004 Shadow Minister for the Arts
2005–2007 Shadow Minister for Higher Education
Personal details
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

(1964-06-19) 19 June 1964 (age 59)
New York City, US
  • United Kingdom
  • United States (until 2016)
Political party Conservative
Allegra Mostyn-Owen
(m. 1993; div. 2020)
(m. 2021)
Children 7, including Lara Johnson-Wheeler
  • Stanley Johnson
  • Charlotte Fawcett
  • Rachel Johnson (sister)
  • Jo Johnson (brother)
  • Julia Johnson (half-sister)
  • James Fawcett (grandfather)
  • Edmund Fawcett (uncle)
  • Ali Kemal (great-grandfather)
  • Elias Avery Lowe (great-grandfather)
  • Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter (great-grandmother)
  • Politician
  • author
  • journalist
Writing career
Genre Non-fiction

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson MP (born 19 June 1964) is a British politician and journalist. He was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and the Leader of the Conservative Party from 23 July 2019 to 5 September 2022. Johnson has been the Member of Parliament for Uxbridge and South Ruislip since 2015. He represented the constituency of Henley from 2001 to 2008.

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. Jeremy Hunt became the Secretary of State for Foreign affairs and Commonwealth Affairs after Johnson.

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. 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. 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. On 20 June, Johnson and Jeremy Hunt became the last two candidates in the election. 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. In June 2022, Johnson survived a motion-of-no confidence to remove him as Prime Minister. However a month later on 7 July, after many cabinet members resigned over his handling of the Chris Pincher scandal, Johnson announced his resignation as Prime Minister and was replaced by Liz Truss in September 2022. However a month later, following his Truss's resignation, Johnson was seen as a possible candidate to replace her. He choose not to run again despite expectations. Johnson announced his resignation as an MP in June 2023.

Early life and education

Boris Johnson was born at Weill Cornell Medical Center in Upper East Side in New York City, New York. 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). She is the daughter of Sir James Fawcett, a prominent barrister and the president of the European Commission of Human Rights.


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. 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. 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. He was educated at the European School in Brussels, 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 elected President of the Oxford Union at his second try. Radek Sikorski said that Johnson acted as a supporter of the Social Democratic Party to win the Union presidency because the party was popular at the university. Johnson says no, 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.

Personal life

In 1987 Johnson married Allegra Mostyn-Owen. The marriage lasted less than a year. It was dissolved in 1993. 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. The Wheeler and Johnson families have known each other for many years. 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).

In 2016 Johnson renounced his American citizenship. He was American because he was born in New York. In 2018, Johnson and Wheeler announced their separation and soon divorced in 2020. He later developed a relationship with Carrie Symonds around the same time he separated from Wheeler. They became engaged in late 2019. Their first son was born on 29 April 2020 in London. His name is Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson. Symonds and Johnson got married in May 2021. They had their second child, a daughter, on 9 December 2021. Her name is Romy Iris Charlotte Johnson.

Political career

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. Johnson was sacked from these high-profile posts in November 2004.

The new Conservative Leader David Cameron made him Shadow Minister for Higher Education on 9 December 2005.

2008 London Mayoral election

Boris Johnson -opening bell at NASDAQ-14Sept2009-3c
Johnson as Mayor of London

Johnson told the press he may be a Conservative candidate for the London mayoral election in 2008 on 16 July 2007. 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". He resigned as Shadow Minister for Higher Education. A public London wide primary gave him 75% of the vote. He was confirmed as the Conservative candidate on 27 September 2007.

2008 Olympics

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. Later, at a party held at London House in Beijing, Johnson gave a speech in which he declared "ping pong is coming home".

MP (since 2015)

In August 2014, Johnson said that he would run as the Conservative candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip at the 2015 general election. He became the party's candidate in September. 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.

Boris Johnson speaks at Westminster Abbey on 2020 Commonwealth Day
Johnson speaking at Westminster Abbey


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

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. 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."

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. However, Johnson announced he would not stand in the Conservative leadership election.

Foreign Secretary (2016–2018)

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. Many saw that this appointment made his political power weaker. 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.

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

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

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

Prime Minister (2019–2022)

2019 leadership race

Johnson signed Brexit Withdrawal Agreement
Johnson signing Brexit bill

On 16 May 2019, Johnson announced his plans to run for Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party in the 2019 election. He got through the first round of voting with 114 Conservative MPs voting for him. 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%). He formally replaced Theresa May as Prime Minister on 24 July after a meeting with the Queen.

2019 general election

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


In December 2021, it was revealed that Johnson had held office parties at 10 Downing Street during COVID lockdowns. At first, Johnson denied having parties during the lockdowns.

On 10 January 2022, ITV News reported that a planned party had taken place on 20 May 2020. At the time, people outdoors were not allowed to meet more than one person from outside their household. Two days later, Johnson apologised to MPs in the Commons for "attending an event in the Downing Street garden during the first lockdown". Some conservatives criticized Johnson and wanted him to resign. A police investigation into the parties were announced. On 12 April, Johnson, his wife Carrie and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak were fined for breaking COVID protocols.

Vote of no confidence and resignation

On 6 June 2022, Johnson faced a vote of no confidence after at least 54 Conservative MPs sent a letter to remove him from office. He survived the motion to remain Prime Minister by a 59% to 41% margin.

However a month later, many cabinet members resigned as a protest against Johnson's leadership over his handling of the Chris Pincher scandal such as Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak. On 7 July 2022, Johnson announced his resignation as Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader.

On 6 September 2022, he was replaced by Liz Truss.


After Liz Truss announced her resignation as Conservative party leader on 20 October 2022, this caused another leadership election. Johnson was seen as a front-runner to replace Truss and was the third-favourite to win. The next day, he had become the second-favourite with a 35% chance of winning with over 50 MPs supporting him. However, on 23 October, Johnson decided not to run.


Freedom order
Order of Liberty

See also

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