Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

Infobox Mayor
honorific-prefix =
name = Boris Johnson
honorific-suffix =

imagesize =
office = Mayor of London
term_start = 4 May 2008
term_end =
deputy = Richard Barnes
predecessor = Ken Livingstone
successor =
office2 = Shadow Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education
term_start2 = 6 December 2005
term_end2 = 16 July 2007
leader2 = David Cameron
predecessor2 = David Cameron
successor2 = Adam Afriyie
constituency_MP3 = Henley
term_start3 = 9 June 2001
term_end3 = 4 June 2008
majority3 = 12,793 (27.5%)
predecessor3 = Michael Heseltine
successor3 = John Howell
birth_date = birth date and age|1964|06|19|df=yes
birth_place = New York City, New York, United States
nationality = British
party = Conservative
spouse = Allegra Mostyn-Owen (1987–1993)
Marina Wheeler (1993–Present)
relations = Stanley Johnson (father)
Rachel Johnson (sister)
children = Lara Lettice Johnson
Milo Arthur Johnson
Cassia Peaches Johnson
Theodore Apollo Johnson
residence =
alma_mater = Balliol College, Oxford
occupation =
profession = Politician, journalist and historian
net worth =
religion = Church of EnglandCitation | last = Gimson | first = Andrew | author-link = Andrew Gimson| title = | publisher = Pocket Books [Simon & Schuster] | year = 2006 [2007] | pages = 254, 11-12, 26-27, 71, 118, 119
isbn = 0-7432-7584-5

website = []
footnotes =

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.

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) [ [ Boris Johnson, by his mother Charlotte Johnson Wahl] Telegraph, 18 May 2008] , the daughter of Sir James Fawcett, a prominent barristercite web|url=|title="Who is Boris Johnson?"|publisher="New Statesman"|author=Sholto Byrnes|date=2008-03-27|accessdate=2008-04-28] and president of the European Commission of Human Rights. ["Human Rights in the Private Sphere", Andrew Clapham, OUP, 1993, p. 186.] Johnson was born in New York City in the United States of America.

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. [Norman Stone [ "My dream for Turkey, by Boris’s great-grandfather",] "The Spectator", 23 April 2008.] 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. [ [ Guardian: Phooey! One-man melting pot ready to take on King Newt] ] 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,cite web | url = | title = About Boris | publisher = Boris Johnson | accessdate = 2008-05-08] 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. He was educated at the European School in Brussels, [ [ Westminster Hall debates] ] 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 [Henry Deedes [ "Pandora column: A youthful flirtation comes back to haunt Boris"] , "The Independent", 9 August 2006. Retrieved on 29 April 2008.] and Radek Sikorski 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. [cite news|title=Cameron's cronies in the Bullingdon class of '87|url=|work=Daily Mail|date=2007-02-13|accessdate=2008-05-13]

In 1987 he married Allegra Mostyn-Owen but the marriage lasted less than a year, finally being dissolved in 1993. [ [,6903,1293085,00.html No dumb blond] ] 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. [cite web|url=|title="Boris celebrates Vaisakhi in Southall"||date=2008-04-06|accessdate=2008-05-03] The Wheeler and Johnson families have known each other for decades, 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). [cite web|url=|title="The Boris Johnson story "|publisher=BBC News|date=2008-05-04|accessdate=2008-05-13] Boris Johnson and his family currently live in Holloway, North London.

Journalism and history

Upon graduating from Oxford with a 2:1 he lasted a week as a management consultant at L.E.K. Consulting ("Try as I might, I could not look at an overhead projection of a growth profit matrix, and stay conscious"), before becoming a trainee reporter for "The Times". Within a year he was sacked for falsifying a quotation from his godfather, Colin Lucas, later vice-chancellor of Oxford University. [ [ BBC Article: Boris Johnson's media scrapes] from 17 July 2007] After a short time as a writer for the Wolverhampton "Express & Star", he joined "The Daily Telegraph" in 1987 as leader and feature writer, and from 1989 to 1994 was the paper's European Community correspondent. He served as assistant editor from 1994 to 1999. His association with "The Spectator" began as political columnist from 1994 to 1995. In 1999 he became editor of "The Spectator", where he stayed until December, 2005 upon being appointed Shadow Minister for Higher Education.

He wrote an autobiographical account of his experience of the 2001 election campaign "Friends, Voters, Countrymen: Jottings on the Stump". He is also author of three collections of journalism, "Johnson's Column", "Lend Me Your Ears" and "Have I Got Views For You". His first novel was "Seventy-Two Virgins", published in 2004, and his next book will be "The New British Revolution", though he has put publication on hold until after the London Mayoral election. [ [ ] ] He was nominated in 2004 for a British Academy Television Award, and has attracted several unofficial fan clubs and sites. His official website and blog started in September, 2004.

Johnson is a popular historian and his first documentary series, "The Dream of Rome", comparing the Roman Empire and the modern-day European Union, was broadcast in 2006.

After being elected mayor, he announced that he'd be resuming his weekly column for "The Daily Telegraph". "The Guardian" reported that he had agreed a £250,000 annual salary for doing so. The report added that he will donate £25,000 each towards two scholarships: one for students of journalism, and the other for the teaching of classics. [ [ The Guardian: Boris to return to Telegraph column] ]

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. [ [ "The Conservative Party has decided to sell the lease on its London HQ."] , BBC News, 11 November 2003. Retrieved on 15 April 2008.]

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. [ [ Independent article] from 14 November 2004 on Johnson's sacking.]

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 [cite web|url=|work=News of the World|title=News of the World video clip of Boris Johnson] 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" [cite web|url=,,17129-2116019,00.html|title=Johnson 'will keep his job'|work=The Times|date=2006-04-03|accessdate=2006-09-17] stated that Cameron regarded the possible affair as a private matter, and that Johnson would not lose his job over it.

Higher education

As Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Johnson became responsible for the Conservatives' stance on university top-up fees. Fact|date=June 2008

Johnson stood for the February, 2006 election of Rector of the University of Edinburgh, after receiving seven times more nominations than needed to stand. [] Damp greeting from students for Boris Johnson, 27 January 2006] His presence as candidate caused an unprecedented turn-out and sparked an "Anyone but Boris" campaign. [ Times Higher Education supplement] Blond has more fun but fails to thwart anti top-up fee vote, 24 February 2006] Protests included having drinks thrown over him at his first of two visits to the student body. [cite web|url=|title=Pint Poured Over Boris Johnson MP|work=YouTube] Johnson eventually polled third of four, with 2,123 votes, behind 3,052 votes for journalist Magnus Linklater and 3,597 for Green Party MSP Mark Ballard. Johnson was quoted as having been pleased to mobilise the student body, but disappointed at the personal campaign against him as an "English top-up fee merchant".

In September, 2006, his image was used in 'Boris needs you' and 'I Love Boris' material to promote the Conservative Party's image during Freshers' Week in universities. [cite web|url=,,1865896,00.html|title=Boris Johnson goes Warhol to become poster boy for Tories|date=2006-09-06|accessdate=2006-09-17|work=Media Guardian]

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.George Jones [ "Boris Johnson to run for mayor",] "Daily Telegraph", 18 July 2007. Retrieved on 24 July 2007.] Reported as saying "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. He was confirmed as the Conservative candidate on 27 September 2007 after gaining 75% of the vote in a public London wide primary. [cite web | url = | title = Johnson is Tory mayor candidate | publisher = BBC News | date = 2007-09-27]

The Conservative Party hired Australian election strategist Lynton Crosby to run Johnson's campaign. Aware of Johnson's proneness to committing gaffes, Crosby prevented him from holding interviews with the print and broadcast media in favour of radio talk shows and daytime television which asked "easier" questions.citeweb|url=|title=The Jeeves to Johnson's Bertie Wooster: the man who may have got him elected|author=Julian Glover|publisher=The Guardian|date=2008-05-02|accessdate=2008-05-02] cite web | url =| publisher = Daily Telegraph| title = Boris Johnson profile: Shambolic success story| accessdate = 2008-10-08] Crosby also made Johnson tell less jokes and have a simpler haircut to help make him appear more serious. The campaign targeted Conservative leaning suburbs in outer London to capitalise on a sense of detachment with the Livingstone administration which had focused on inner London areas as Mayor.

His campaign was launched in Edmonton in March 2008 when David Cameron, introducing Johnson, commented "I don't always agree with him but I respect the fact that he's absolutely his own man." [cite web | url = | publisher = BBC News | title = Cameron backs 'brilliant' Johnson | accessdate = 2008-03-31] His manifesto included pledges to cut crime by increasing police presence on public transport and removing red tape in the Metropolitan Police Service, as well as ending the "waste and overspending" of Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone. [cite web | url =| title = Boris Johnson manifesto | publisher = London Elects | date = ] He also made a high profile pledge to scrap controversial articulated "bendy" buses and replace them with modern designs of the iconic Routemaster bus. [cite web | url =| publisher = BBC News | title = Johnson aims to scrap bendy buses| accessdate = 2008-10-08]

Johnson's candidature received opposition from across the political spectrum. Right-wing journalists Simon Heffer and Peregrine Worsthorne described Johnson as not being serious enough to hold the role of Mayor of London, [Simon Heffer [ "Why treat the London election as a joke?"] , "Daily Telegraph", 1 May 2008. Retrieved on 1 May 2008.] Worsthorne noting that the "harder he tried [to be serious] , the more insincere, incoherent, evasive and even puerile he looked and sounded". [Peregrine Worsrthorne [,opinion,a-serious-boris-you-must-be-joking "A serious Boris? You must be joking"] , "The First Post", 1 May 2008. Retrieved on 1 May 2008.] Ken Livingstone described Johnson as "a joke". [cite web | url =| publisher = Daily Telegraph| title = Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone target second choice votes| accessdate = 2008-10-08] Left of centre commentators claimed that Johnson was not suited to be Mayor of such an ethnically diverse city because he had previously made comments which they interpreted as racist, [cite web | url =| publisher = BBC News| title = Labour MPs spurn Boris mayor bid| accessdate = 2008-10-08] a situation exacerbated when the British National Party urged its supporters to give their second preference votes to Johnson. [cite web | title = Give second vote to Johnson, BNP tells supporters | url = | publisher = Guardian | date = 2008-04-02] Johnson denied allegations of racism and stated that he did not want any BNP supporters to vote for him.

Johnson's candidacy was the subject of international interest. Germany's "Der Spiegel" and America's National Public Radio reported the race, both quoting Johnson as saying "if you vote for the Conservatives, your wife will get bigger breasts, and your chances of driving a BMW M3 will increase", [ [,1518,548062,00.html The Bizarre Fight to Be Mayor of London] , Der Spiegel, 17 April 2008.] [ [ London Mayor's Race Not Your Average Election] , 21 April 2008.] without however giving a source for this; the BBC has quoted the same statement by him from his 2004 campaign trail. [cite web | url = | title = The Boris Johnson story | publisher = BBC News | date = 2008-05-04]

Though most pollsters—with the exception of YouGov which accurately forecast the final result—predicted either a close result or narrow win for Livingstone, [cite web | url =| publisher = Daily Research News Online| title = Boris and YouGov Triumphant| accessdate = 2008-10-08] it was announced on 2 May 2008 Johnson had garnered a total of 1,168,738 first and second preference votes to Livingstone's 1,028,966. [ "Elections 2008 - London Mayor"] BBC News retrieved 2008-05-03] Johnson benefited from a large voter turnout in Conservative strongholds, in particular Bexley and Bromley where he amassed a majority of over 80,000 over Livingstone. [cite web | url =| publisher = The Independent| title = Cripes! Boris takes London (and rounds off a rotten day for Gordon Brown)| accessdate = 2008-10-08] Following his victory, he praised Livingstone as a "very considerable public servant" and added that he hoped to "discover a way in which the mayoralty can continue to benefit from your transparent love of London". He also announced that, as a result of his victory, he would resign as Member of Parliament for Henley. [cite web|url=|title=The Guardian: Johnson snatches Tories' biggest prize|date=2008-05-03]

Mayor of London

taff appointments

Johnson assumed control at City Hall on 4 May 2008. He appointed Richard Barnes as his Deputy Mayor on 6 May 2008, as well as appointing the following to newly devolved offices; Ian Clement as Deputy Mayor for Government Relations, Kit Malthouse as Deputy Mayor for Policing and Ray Lewis as Deputy Mayor for Young People.cite web | title = Boris Johnson announces further senior appointments to his administration | publisher = Greater London Authority | date = 2008-05-06 | url = | accessdate = 2008-05-08]

The Mayor also appointed Munira Mirza as his cultural adviser and Nick Boles, the founder of Policy Exchange, as Chief of Staff.cite web | title = Boris Tory HQ team puts reins on Boris Johnson | date = 2008-05-11 | url = | accessdate = 2008-05-11] Sir Simon Milton has become Senior Adviser for Planning.

Political opponents questioned Johnson's judgement when Ray Lewis resigned on 4 July 2008, shortly after taking up his post, following allegations of financial misconduct during his prior career as a Church of England priest and inappropriate behaviour in respect of a false claim to have been appointed as a magistrate.cite web | title = London mayor: Johnson forced to remove his deputy mayor after magistrate claim proves false | publisher = Guardian Newspapers | date = 2008-07-04 | url = | accessdate = 2008-07-05] Hazel Blears, the UK Communities Secretary, said that "People across the country will note that after just two months, the new Tory administration in London is in complete disarray. Londoners need to know what Boris knew and why the situation has changed." [cite web|url=|title=Tories in "disarray" over Lewis |date=2008-07-05|publisher=BBC News|accessdate=2008-07-05] Kit Malthouse however, London's Deputy Mayor for Policing, defended Lewis and said that he had "dedicated himself to saving young lives in London", regarding his policies on tackling knife crime, and called the Labour Party "ungracious" and accused them of "dancing on his political grave". [cite web|url=|title=Knife quest is "Lewis legacy" |date=2008-07-05|publisher=BBC News|accessdate=2008-07-05] Johnson himself said that he was "misled" by Lewis. [cite web|url=|title=Mayor Johnson 'misled' by deputy |date=2008-07-05|publisher=BBC News|accessdate=2008-07-05]

Alcohol use ban on public transport

On 7 May 2008, Johnson announced plans to ban the consumption of alcohol on the London transport network, effective from 1 June,cite web | title = Mayor unveils plan to ban alcohol on the transport network | publisher = Greater London Authority | date = 2008-05-06 | url = | accessdate = 2008-05-07] 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.cite web|url=|title=Tube drinks party sparks mayhem |date=2008-06-01|publisher=BBC News|accessdate=2008-07-05] 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.

Forensic Audit Panel

The formation of the Forensic Audit Panel was announced on 8 May 2008. The Panel is tasked with monitoring and investigating financial management at the London Development Agency and the Greater London Authority.cite web | title = Mayor of London announces new Forensic Audit Panel to investigate GLA and LDA | publisher = Greater London Authority | date = 2008-05-08 | url = | accessdate = 2008-05-07] It will be headed by Patience Wheatcroft, former editor of The Sunday Telegraph. Previously the GLA would investigate allegations of financial mismanagement itself.

Johnson's announcement was criticised by Labour for the perceived politicisation of this nominally independent panel, who asked if the appointment of these key Johnson allies to the panel - "to dig dirt on Ken Livingstone" - was "an appropriate use of public funds". [ [ Labour accuse Mayor of 'Tory witch hunt'] MayorWatch, 9 May 2008] Wheatcroft is married to a Tory councilor [ [ The Media Guardian 100 – 87 Patience Wheatcroft] The Guardian, 17 July 2006] and three of the four remaining panel members also have close links to the Conservatives: Stephen Greenhalgh (Conservative Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council), Patrick Frederick (Chairman of Conservative Business Relations for South East England and Southern London) and Edward Lister (Conservative Leader of Wandsworth Council).

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. [cite news|title = Chinese media mocks London 2012 Olympic handover performance|publisher = Telegraph|date = 2008-08-26|url=] At the subsequent handover party held at London House in Beijing, he gave a speech in which he declared 'ping pong is coming home'. []

Television appearances

"Have I Got News for You"

Johnson has appeared on the British television programme "Have I Got News for You" four times as a guest presenter and three times as a panellist. [ [ Off The Telly tells the story of "Have I Got News for You", courtesy of the show's former webmaster, Matthew Rudd.] ] The tabloid press, before he became an MP, tagged him as the show's star, even though he had then appeared only twice on a programme that had run for ten years.Fact|date=May 2008 He has also taken part in the similar Radio 4 programme, "The News Quiz".

On his first "HIGNFY" appearance, [cite web|url=|title=HIGNFY Boris Johnson's debut....|work=YouTube|accessdate=2006-09-17] in 1998, Ian Hislop chided Johnson over his previous association with fraudster Darius Guppy (see below). Johnson later claimed the show was "fixed", though he retracted the comment when invited back a year later. When asked why he had come back, Johnson replied to the delight of the audience that it was "basically for the money."

By his third appearance, Johnson had been elected to Parliament. He was subjected to a surprise "Mastermind" parody round, where he began by getting his own name "wrong", saying "my name is Boris Johnson" and then being corrected by the host, Angus Deayton, who proceeded to quote his full birth name, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. He was then given questions about his party's leader, Iain Duncan Smith. Despite claiming to be an admirer and supporter of his leader, Johnson proceeded to get no questions correct, whilst constantly questioning the need for such a round. He also admitted during this show he had forgotten the title of his own book as he was writing it.

Johnson later became one of the first guest hosts for the show, his opening remarks being: "When I first appeared on this show I complained that the whole thing was scripted and fully rehearsed. I'd now like to complain in the strongest possible terms, that it isn't." He initially promised Paul Merton a coconut instead of a point; Johnson then retracted the offer but Merton insisted on a coconut. At the end, a stage hand brought in a bag of them, giving Johnson a chance to say, "Coconuts, from the party that keeps its promises!" Johnson kept a chaotic show, frequently forgetting panellists' names, positions and losing answers, which caused the usually deadpan Merton to often laugh out of pure disbelief. He also opined his becoming leader of the Conservative Party was as likely as his "being locked in a disused fridge". Merton cheerfully told him, "These things do happen."

In 2004, Johnson was nominated for a BAFTA Television Award in the entertainment category for his performance on the show in 2003. [ [ BAFTA: Television nominations 2003] ] Johnson returned to front "Have I Got News for You" in November 2005. He admitted on the show that he once tried to snort cocaine, but sneezed and failed. He also hosted "Have I Got News for You"'s Christmas special on 15 December 2006, his fourth appearance as host. Extended versions of his first two shows as host, each around an hour in length, can be found on the two "Have I Got News for You: The Best of the Guest Presenters" DVDs, each of which includes an episode on a "Full Boris" bonus disc.

On the DVD commentary of "The Very Best of Have I Got News for You", Merton and Hislop affectionately refer to Johnson as "a Wodehousian character", and stated that "he gets better every time".

Paul Merton stated on "The Paul O'Grady Show" that Boris' appearances on "Have I Got News for You" gave him a cult following and implied that his media profile contributed to his success in the London Mayoral Elections.Fact|date=July 2008

"Top Gear"

Johnson has appeared on television motoring show "Top Gear" as a "star in a reasonably priced car" (one of the show's features). He set a time of 1m 56s in the Suzuki Liana, finishing nine places from the bottom before they changed car. While nearing the end of his timed lap, he failed to realise that he had accidentally pressed the horn with his arm. After hearing the noise he looked around puzzled and said, "Who hooted at me?" [ [ Daily Express: The World's Greatest Newspaper :: Express Yourself :: Is Boris just a buffoon? ] ]

"Room 101"

Appearing in 2003, Johnson nominated hard boiled eggs, Lynda Lee Potter, smoking bans, Richard Clayderman and people who shout at him whilst he's cycling as his selections to put into Room 101, with only the last of the five being rejected. He claimed that his refusal to eat eggs from the age of 6 months was his "first major policy decision".

"The Dream of Rome"

Johnson presented a BBC TV series titled "The Dream of Rome", which questioned how ancient Rome managed to unite Europe in a way the modern European Union has failed to. A book published by HarperCollins followed the series. [ [ Boris Johnson and the Dream of Rome ] ]

"The Dame Edna Treatment"

Originally broadcast on ITV1 on 28 April 2007, Johnson was a guest on "The Dame Edna Treatment". He rode a bicycle onto the stage and sat alongside Shane Warne, Alan Alda and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

"Who Do You Think You Are?"

On 20 August 2008 Johnson was the subject of the BBC family history programme "Who Do You Think You Are?". He was revealed to be a direct, if illegitimate, descendant of George II of Great Britain through his eight times grandmother Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, granddaughter of George II and wife of Friedrich I of Württemberg, and thence through their son Prince Paul of Württemberg and Paul's illegitimate daughter, Adelheid von Rothenburg. Adelheid (known as Caroline) married Baron de Pfeffel, from whom Boris takes one of his middle names.cite web|url=|title="Boris Johnson - how we did it"|publisher="BBC"|accessdate=2008-08-20] By his descent from George II of Great Britain he is also descendant of all the other major European royal houses. His Turkish great grandfather, Ali Kemal Bey, who was also, like Johnson, a politician and journalist, was assassinated in the 1920s following political conflict in Turkey.cite web|url=|title="Boris Johnson - how we did it"|publisher="BBC"|accessdate=2008-08-20]


Johnson is one of the most recognisable figures in British politics — partly attributable to his trademark unruly hairstyle (one exception to this trademark was during the 2008 Olympics). He is one of few British politicians identifiable by his first name alone. Reportedly, fearing that this familiarity made him more likeable and was helping his chances during the London Mayoral Campaign, Labour MP Tessa Jowell set up a 'swearbox' where any campaign member referring to him as 'Boris' would pay a fine. [Philip Hensher [ "Banning Boris-ing is a waste of time"] , "The Independent", 7 April 2008. Retrieved on 15 April 2008.] Jowell herself denied these claims.

Johnson has been a frequent target for satirists. The magazine "Private Eye" pictured him on the front cover of issues 1120 (26 November 2004) and 1156 (14 April 2006). He has featured regularly in its cartoon strip (currently called "Dave Snooty and his Pals") as "Boris the Menace" (cf. "Dennis the Menace").

He has shown himself to be outspoken on issues which are treated by some as belonging to the realms of political correctness.

Johnson made the following comments about Islam in his "Spectator" column shortly after the 7 July bombings in 2005:quote
...It will take a huge effort of courage and skill to win round the many thousands of British Muslims who are in a similar state of alienation, and to make them see that their faith must be compatible with British values and with loyalty to Britain. That means disposing of the first taboo, and accepting that the problem is Islam. Islam is the problem.

To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia — fear of Islam — seems a natural reaction, and, indeed, exactly what that text is intended to provoke. Judged purely on its scripture — to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques — it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers. [...]

The trouble with this disgusting arrogance and condescension [of Theo Van Gogh's killer] is that it is widely supported in Koranic texts, and we look in vain for the enlightened Islamic teachers and preachers who will begin the process of reform. What is going on in these mosques and madrasas? When is someone going to get 18th century on Islam’s mediaeval ass? [cite web|url=|title="Just don’t call it war"|publisher="The Spectator"|date=2005-07-16|accessdate=2008-05-02]

In "Friends, Voters, Countrymen" (2001), Johnson wrote that "if gay marriage was OK - and I was uncertain on the issue - then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men, or indeed three men and a dog." [ cite news|title = Boris Johnson hits back at his critics|publisher = Pink News|date = 2007-08-27|url=] In recent years Johnson has played down his previous support for Section 28. [cite web|url= |title=EXCLUSIVE: Boris Johnson courts gay vote |publisher=Pink News |date=2007-09-23 |accessdate=2008-07-13]

Johnson is known for his love of cycling and regularly cycles to work. He has been the victim of several bike thefts and has expressed his desire to plant "decoy bicycles throughout Islington and send Navy Seals in through the windows of thieves". [ [ Islington Tribune- News: Boris Johnson ] ]


tuart Collier

Johnson was criticised in 1995, ["Daily Mail", 16 July 1995.] when a recording of a telephone conversation made in 1990 was made public, in which he is heard agreeing to supply to a former schoolmate, Darius Guppy, the address of the "News of the World" journalist Stuart Collier. Guppy wished to have Collier beaten up for attempting to smear members of his family. [] [ [ Exhibit 3, pages 12-13 - affidavits of the man hired by Guppy] ] Collier was not attacked, but Johnson did not alert the police and the incident only became public knowledge when the conversation was summarised in the "Daily Mail". [ [ The revenge of deadly Darius | the Daily Mail ] ] Johnson retained his job at the "Telegraph" but was reprimanded by its editor Max Hastings.

'Theft' of cigar case

Boris Johnson has been investigated by the police for the 'theft', in 2003, of a cigar case belonging to Tariq Aziz, an associate of Saddam Hussein, which Johnson had found in the rubble of Aziz's house in Baghdad. At the time, Johnson wrote an article in the "Daily Telegraph", stating he had taken the cigar case and would return it to its owner upon request. [ [ Nice try, Tariq Aziz ... but no cigar] - Daily Telegraph May 2003,] Despite this admission in 2003, Johnson received no indication from the police that he was being investigated for theft until 2008, leading supporters of Johnson to express suspicion that the investigation coincided with his candidacy for the position of London Mayor. "This is a monumental waste of time," said Johnson. [ [ Police probe Boris Johnson over cigar 'theft'] - Daily Telegraph 27 February 2007] On 24 June 2008, Johnson was forced to hand the cigar case over to police while they carried out enquiries into whether the Iraq (UN Sanctions) Order 2003 had been breached. [ [ BBC NEWS | Politics | Mayor's cigar case 'in custody' ] ]

People of Liverpool

On 16 October 2004, "The Spectator" carried an unsigned editorial [ [ Spectator — leader] of 16 October 2004.] comment criticising a perceived trend to mawkish sentimentality by the public. Using British hostage Kenneth Bigley as an example, the editorial claimed the inhabitants of Bigley's home city of Liverpool were wallowing in a "vicarious victimhood"; that many Liverpudlians had a "deeply unattractive psyche"; and that they refused to accept responsibility for "drunken fans at the back of the crowd who mindlessly tried to fight their way into the ground" during the Hillsborough disaster, a contention at odds with the findings of the Taylor Report. The editorial closed with: "In our maturity as a civilisation, we should accept that we can cut out the cancer of ignorant sentimentality without diminishing, as in this case, our utter disgust at a foul and barbaric act of murder."

Although Johnson had not written the piece (journalist Simon Heffer later said he "had a hand" in it), he accepted responsibility for its publication. [Boris Johnson [ "What I should say sorry for"] by Boris Johnson, The Spectator", 23 October 2004. Retrieved on 13 July 2007.] The Conservative leader at the time, Michael Howard (a supporter of Liverpool FC), condemned the editorial, saying "I think what was said in "The Spectator" was nonsense from beginning to end", and sent Johnson on a tour of contrition to the city. [ [ BBC article about the 2004 Liverpool controversy] .] There, in numerous interviews and public appearances, Johnson defended the editorial's thesis (that the deaths of figures such as Bigley and Diana, Princess of Wales, were over-sentimentalised); but he apologised for the article's wording and for using Liverpool and Bigley's death as examples, saying "I think the article was too trenchantly expressed but we were trying to make a point about sentimentality". Michael Howard resisted calls to dismiss Johnson over the Bigley affair, but dismissed him the next month over the Wyatt revelations.

Papua New Guinea

Johnson's journalism and public speaking is much given to overblown metaphor, and a 2006 column likening Tory leadership disputes to "Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing" was criticised in Papua New Guinea. The nation's High Commissioner invited him to visit the country and see for himself, while remarking that his comments might mean he was refused a visa. [cite web|url=|title=Boris apology to Papua New Guinea|work=BBC News|date=2006-09-08|accessdate=2006-09-17] Johnson suggested he would add Papua New Guinea to his global apology itinerary, and said he was sure the people there "lived lives of blameless bourgeois domesticity like the rest of us". His defence was conclusive: "My remarks were inspired by a "Time Life" book I have which does indeed show relatively recent photos of Papua New Guinean tribes engaged in warfare, and I'm fairly certain that cannibalism was involved." [cite news|url= |title=Boris in hot water over cannibalism in Papua |publisher=Daily Telegraph |date=2006-09-10]


In April 2007 Johnson was called upon to resign by the MPs for the city of Portsmouth after claiming in a column for GQ that the city was "one of the most depressed towns in Southern England, a place that is arguably too full of drugs, obesity, underachievement and Labour MPs". [cite news|title = MP slammed over 'fat city' slur|publisher = BBC|date=2007-04-03|url =]

Allegations of racism

Two days after Boris Johnson's candidacy for Mayor of London took a six point poll lead over Ken Livingstone in a YouGov survey published by the "Daily Telegraph", [cite web | url = | title = Lembit Opik out of London mayoral race | publisher = Daily Telegraph | date = 2007-08-02] Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, said that he would 'destroy London's unity', adding that 'once people read his views, there is no way he is going to get the support of any people in the black community'. She was referring especially to the occasion on which Johnson, as a journalist in 1999, accused the Macpherson Inquiry, which reported on police racism following the Lawrence murder, of 'hysteria', adding that the "recommendation that the law might be changed so as to allow prosecution for racist language or behaviour 'other than in a public place'" was akin to "Ceausescu's Romania". [ [,,2141480,00.html Johnson 'would destroy London's unity' as mayor | Politics | The Guardian ] ]

The Conservative London Assembly candidate for Bexley and Bromley and former Conservative candidate for mayor of Lewisham, James Cleverly, another black Londoner, rejected Lawrence's criticisms.

In a piece in the "Evening Standard" on 6 August 2007, the journalist Andrew Gilligan responded to the allegations saying how 'outrageous – indeed Orwellian – it is to attack a man as a destroyer of racial harmony, one of the most serious charges you can lay, simply on the basis that he refuses to sign up for every dot and comma of a report of which she approves. While condemning the "grotesque failures" in the Lawrence case which "may well have originated in racism," Boris was far from the only person to oppose that particular Macpherson recommendation. Labour MPs opposed it, too. So did the Government, clearly, because they didn’t implement it.'

These remarks were followed by criticism from two black Labour London MPs, Diane Abbott and Dawn Butler, who criticised a column written by Johnson in 2002, saying he had used "most offensive language of the colonial past", showing "that the Tory party is riddled with racial prejudice". [cite news|title = Labour MPs spurn Boris mayoral bid|publisher = BBC|date=2007-07-04|url =] In the article in question, written to satirise the Prime Minister's visit to Congo, [ [ "If Blair's so good at running the Congo, let him stay there"] , Daily Telegraph, 10 January 2002] Johnson mocked "Supertone" (Tony Blair) for his brief visits to world trouble spots, bringing peace to the world while the UK deteriorated; Blair would arrive as "the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief", just as "it is said the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies". Although these remarks were intended as a satirical dig at the patronising attitude of Blair and the Queen towards foreigners, the choice of language was tactless and left Johnson exposed to allegations of racism.

Johnson's campaign team rejected suggestions that their candidate might be prejudiced, insisting that he "loathes racism in all its forms". However, journalist Rod Liddle said that Johnson has used the word "piccaninnies" on another occasion to refer to black Africans. [cite news|title = Crikey, win or lose, Boris Johnson is a gamble for David Cameron|publisher = The Times|date=2008-01-13|url =] Greater London analyst and director of the Greater London Group at the London School of Economics, Dr. Tony Travers, has written that "There is no way to dress up expressions such as "piccaninnies'" and "watermelon smiles" to take them within a million miles of acceptable." [ [ The BoJo, Ken and Bri show ] , New Statesman, 6 September 2007]

At an "Evening Standard" debate on 21 January 2008, Johnson apologised for these remarks, while insisting that they were taken out of context:

I do feel very sad that people have been so offended by these words and I'm sorry that I've caused this offence. But if you look at the article as written they really do not bear the construction that you're putting on them. I feel very strongly that this is something which is simply not in my heart. I'm absolutely 100 per cent anti-racist, I despise and loathe racism" [cite news |title = I didn't mean to be racist, claims Boris|publisher = Evening Standard|date = 2008-01-22|url='t+mean+to+be+racist+,+claims+Boris/]

Johnson endorsed African-American Barack Obama in the 2008 United States presidential election [cite news |url= |title=Barack Obama gets backing from Boris Johnson |publisher=The Guardian |date=2008-08-01] [cite news |url= |title=Boris Johnson backs Barack Obama as US President |publisher=Daily Telegraph |date=2008-08-01] .

Charitable Activity

Johnson is a supporter of many causes, particularly the teaching of Classics in inner city schools, and is a patron of The Iris Project. He has promised to donate £25,000 of his income from his Daily Telegraph column to such activities [] .

He has also listed his activities in the Register of Interest at City Hall as:King’s Head Theatre in Education, Islington, (Patron); Downside Up, British-Russian Charity in support of children with Downs Syndrome, (Patron); Henley & District Agricultural Assn., (Member); Henley 100 Club, (Member).



* "Johnson's Column" (Continuum International — Academi) ISBN 0-8264-6855-1
* "Friends, Voters, Countrymen" (HarperCollins, 2001) ISBN 0-00-711913-5
* "Lend Me Your Ears" (HarperCollins, 2003) ISBN 0-00-717224-9
* "Seventy-Two Virgins" (HarperCollins, 2004) ISBN 0-00-719590-7
* "The Dream of Rome" (HarperCollins, 2006) ISBN 0-00-722441-9
* "Have I Got Views For You" (HarperPerennial, 2006) ISBN 0-00-724220-4
*"Life in the Fast Lane: The Johnson Guide to Cars" (HarperPerennial, 2007) ISBN 0-00-726020-2
* "The British" (HarperCollins, 2008) ISBN 0-00-717225-7
* "" (HarperPress 2007) ISBN 0-00-726339-2

Further reading

*Andrew Gimson "" (Simon & Schuster, 2006) ISBN 0-7432-7584-5.
* Giles Edwards "Boris v. Ken: How Boris Johnson won London" (Politico's Publishing Ltd., 2008) ISBN 978-1842752258

External links

* [ Mayor of London, the London Assembly and the Greater London Authority] - official London government website
* [ Boris] official web site and blog
* [ profile]
* [ MayorWatch pages]
* [ Conservative Party — Boris Johnson MP] official biography
* [ A 2008 Interview with Boris Johnson]
* [ BBC News — Boris Johnson] profile 10 February 2005
* [,_Boris/ Open Directory Project — Boris Johnson] directory category
* [ Who do you think you are]
* [ "The Boris Johnson story"] , BBC, May 4, 2008

NAME = Johnson, Boris
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Johnson, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel (Birth)
SHORT DESCRIPTION = British Politician and Mayor of London
DATE OF BIRTH = 19 June 1964
PLACE OF BIRTH = New York City, New York, United States

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