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Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson -opening bell at NASDAQ-14Sept2009-3c cropped.jpg
Prior to ringing the opening bell at NASDAQ
on 14 September 2009
Mayor of London
Assumed office
4 May 2008
Deputy Richard Barnes
Victoria Borwick
Preceded by Ken Livingstone
Shadow Minister for Higher Education
In office
6 December 2005 – 16 July 2007
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by David Cameron
Succeeded by Adam Afriyie
Shadow Minister for the Arts
In office
14 April 2004 – 17 November 2004
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by Gerald Howarth
Succeeded by Tony Baldry
Member of Parliament
for Henley
In office
9 June 2001 – 4 June 2008
Preceded by Michael Heseltine
Succeeded by John Howell
Personal details
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

19 June 1964 (1964-06-19) (age 55)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American and British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Allegra Mostyn-Owen
(1987–1993, divorced)
Marina Wheeler (1993–present)
Relations Stanley Johnson (father)
Rachel Johnson (sister)
Jo Johnson (brother)
Leo Johnson (brother)
Children Lara Lettice Johnson
Milo Arthur Johnson
Cassia Peaches Johnson
Theodore Apollo Johnson
Residence Highbury, London
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Occupation Conservative politician
Profession Politician, journalist
Website Official mayoral website

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (born 19 June 1964) is a British politician and journalist. The current Mayor of London, he previously served as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Henley and as editor of The Spectator magazine.

Johnson was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, where he read Classics. He began his journalism career with The Times, and later moved on to The Daily Telegraph where he was assistant editor. He was appointed editor of The Spectator in 1999. In the 2001 general election he was elected to the House of Commons and became one of the most high profile politicians in the country, partly because of his distinctive appearance and persona. He gained praise for several appearances on the Have I Got News for You television programme, but received negative headlines in October 2004 after an editorial column in The Spectator criticised the people of Liverpool after the death of Kenneth Bigley. He has also written several books.

Under Michael Howard, Johnson briefly served on the Conservative front bench as the Shadow Minister for the Arts from April 2004 until November 2004 when he was sacked after allegedly lying to Howard when denying he had had an affair with Petronella Wyatt. When contemporary David Cameron was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 2005, Johnson was re-appointed to the front bench as Shadow Minister for Higher Education and resigned as editor of The Spectator to concentrate on his new role. In September 2007 he was selected as the Conservative candidate for the 2008 Mayor of London election. Though some questioned his suitability for the role, Johnson defeated Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone and was elected Mayor, after which he resigned as an MP from the House of Commons.

On 26 August 2014 it was confirmed that Johnson will stand as Conservative candidate for MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the 2015 General Election.[2]

Early life, education and marriages

Johnson is the eldest of the four children of Stanley Johnson, a former Conservative MEP and employee of the European Commission and World Bank, and his first wife, painter Charlotte Fawcett (later Wahl),[3] the daughter of Sir James Fawcett, a prominent barrister[4] and president of the European Commission of Human Rights.[5]

On his father's side Johnson is great-grandson of Ali Kemal Bey, a liberal Turkish journalist and interior minister in the government of Damat Ferid Pasha, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, who was murdered during the Turkish War of Independence.[6] During World War I, Boris's grandfather and great aunt were recognised as British subjects and took their grandmother's maiden name of Johnson. In reference to his cosmopolitan ancestry, Johnson has described himself as a "one-man melting pot" — with a combination of Muslims, Jews and Christians comprising his great-grandparentage.[7] His father's maternal grandmother, Marie Louise de Pfeffel, was a descendent of Prince Paul of Württemberg through his relationship with a German actress. Through Prince Paul, Johnson is a descendent of King George II of Great Britain and through George's great-great-great grandfather King James I of England, a descendent of all the previous British royal houses.

Johnson was born in New York City, New York, USA,[8] but his family returned to England soon afterwards as his mother had yet to take her Oxford finals. Johnson's sister Rachel was born a year later. As a child, Boris Johnson suffered from severe deafness and had to undergo several operations to have grommets inserted in his ears, and was reportedly rather quiet as a child.[1] He was educated at the European School in Brussels,[9] Ashdown House and then at Eton College, where he was a King's Scholar. He read Classics at Balliol College, Oxford, as a Brackenbury scholar, and was elected President of the Oxford Union, at his second attempt. Frank Luntz[10] and Radek Sikorski[1] have claimed Johnson touted himself as a supporter of the Social Democratic Party, then a dominant current at the university, as a strategy to win the Union presidency, though Johnson denies he was more than the SDP's preferred candidate. Along with David Cameron he was a member of Oxford's Bullingdon Club, a student dining society known for its raucous feasts.[11]

In 1987 he married Allegra Mostyn-Owen but the marriage lasted less than a year, finally being dissolved in 1993.[12] Later that same year he married Marina Wheeler, a barrister, the daughter of journalist and broadcaster Sir Charles Wheeler and his Sikh Indian wife, Dip Singh.[13] The Wheeler and Johnson families have known each other for decades,[1] and Marina Wheeler was at the European School in Brussels at the same time as her future husband. 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).[14] Boris Johnson and his family currently live in Holloway, North London.[source?]

Political career

In 2001, Johnson was elected MP for Henley-on-Thames, succeeding Michael Heseltine, having previously been defeated in Clwyd South in the 1997 general election. In 2004 he was appointed to the front bench as Shadow Minister for the Arts in a small reshuffle resulting from the resignation of the Shadow Home Affairs Spokesman, Nick Hawkins. He was also from November 2003 vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, with an emphasis on campaigning.[15]

Johnson was dismissed from these high-profile posts in November, 2004 over accusations that he lied to Michael Howard about a four-year extramarital affair with Petronella Wyatt, The Spectator's New York correspondent and former deputy editor. Johnson derided these allegations as "an inverted pyramid of piffle", but Howard sacked Johnson because he believed press reports showed Johnson had lied, rather than for the affair itself.[16]

He was appointed Shadow Minister for Higher Education on 9 December 2005 by new Conservative Leader David Cameron, and resigned as editor of The Spectator soon afterwards. On 2 April 2006 it was alleged in the News of the World that Johnson had had another extramarital affair, this time with Times Higher Education Supplement journalist Anna Fazackerley. The video[17] shows him emerging from her flat and waving to her in a taxi. Subsequently, in a speech at the University of Exeter concerning student finance, he allegedly made comical remarks about his gratitude to the audience for not "raising other issues" during the talk, which may have been a reference to the allegations. A report in The Times[18] stated that Cameron regarded the possible affair as a private matter, and that Johnson would not lose his job over it.

2008 London Mayoral election

After several days of speculation, Johnson announced he was a potential Conservative candidate for the London mayoral election in 2008 on 16 July 2007.[19] Reported as saying "the opportunity is too great and the prize too wonderful to miss ... the chance to represent London and speak for Londoners",[19] he resigned as Shadow Minister for Higher Education. He was confirmed as the Conservative candidate on 27 September 2007 after gaining 75% of the vote in a public London wide primary.[20]

Mayor of London

Alcohol use ban on public transport

Johnson pledged to reinstate Routemaster buses if elected Mayor

On 7 May 2008, Johnson announced plans to ban the consumption of alcohol on the London transport network, effective from 1 June,[21] a policy described by Jeroen Weimar, Transport for London's director of transport policing and enforcement, as reasonable, saying people should be more considerate on the trains.[22] The ban initially applies on the London Underground, Buses, DLR and Croydon Trams. The London Overground will be added later in June 2008. Press releases said that the ban would apply to "stations across the capital", but did not specify whether this included National Rail stations - especially those stations not served by the TfL lines on which alcohol is banned.

On the final evening on which alcohol was to be permitted on London transport, thousands of drinkers descended on the Underground system to mark the event. Six London Underground stations were closed as trouble began, and a number of staff and police were assaulted. Police made 17 arrests as several trains were damaged and withdrawn from service.[22]

2008 Olympics

Johnson was present at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics as London's representative to receive the Olympic flag from Guo Jinlong, the Mayor of Beijing in order to formally announce London as Olympic host city. He was accused by Chinese media of being "rude, arrogant and disrespectful" for accepting the Olympic flag with one hand, putting his hands in his pockets and not buttoning up his jacket.[23] At the subsequent handover party held at London House in Beijing, he gave a speech in which he declared 'ping pong is coming home'.[24]

Other websites


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 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 .
  2. de Peyer, Robin (26 August 2014). "Boris Johnson declares he will stand in Uxbridge and South Ruislip". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  3. Boris Johnson, by his mother Charlotte Johnson Wahl Telegraph, 18 May 2008
  4. Sholto Byrnes (2008-03-27). ""Who is Boris Johnson?"". New Statesman. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
  5. "Human Rights in the Private Sphere", Andrew Clapham, OUP, 1993, p. 186.
  6. Norman Stone "My dream for Turkey, by Boris’s great-grandfather", The Spectator, 23 April 2008.
  7. Guardian: Phooey! One-man melting pot ready to take on King Newt
  8. "About Boris". Boris Johnson. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  9. Westminster Hall debates
  10. Henry Deedes "Pandora column: A youthful flirtation comes back to haunt Boris", The Independent, 9 August 2006. Retrieved on 29 April 2008.
  11. "Cameron's cronies in the Bullingdon class of '87". Daily Mail. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
  12. No dumb blond
  13. ""Boris celebrates Vaisakhi in Southall"". 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
  14. ""The Boris Johnson story "". BBC News. 2008-05-04. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
  15. "The Conservative Party has decided to sell the lease on its London HQ.", BBC News, 11 November 2003. Retrieved on 15 April 2008.
  16. Independent article from 14 November 2004 on Johnson's sacking.
  17. "News of the World video clip of Boris Johnson". News of the World.
  18. "Johnson 'will keep his job'". The Times. 2006-04-03.,,17129-2116019,00.html. Retrieved 2006-09-17.
  19. 19.0 19.1 George Jones "Boris Johnson to run for mayor", Daily Telegraph, 18 July 2007. Retrieved on 24 July 2007.
  20. "Johnson is Tory mayor candidate". BBC News. 2007-09-27.
  21. "Mayor unveils plan to ban alcohol on the transport network". Greater London Authority. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2008-05-07.
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Tube drinks party sparks mayhem". BBC News. 2008-06-01. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  23. "Chinese media mocks London 2012 Olympic handover performance". Telegraph. 2008-08-26.