Boris Johnson is one of the UK’s most prominent politicians. He served as Foreign Secretary in Theresa May’s government from 2016 to 2018, before resigning in protest at her proposed Brexit deal. Now a backbench MP, he remains an irrespresible and charismatic figure who continues to dominate the political landscape.
After a short stint as a management consultant, Boris Johnson became a popular journalist with The Daily Telegraph. He was admired for his writing style and his Euroscepticism endeared him to the paper’s conservative readership. His success here, along with an increasingly public profile, saw him appointed Editor of The Spectator in 1999.
Two years later, Boris’ political ambitions came to the fore. He was successful as the Conservative candidate for Henley and, consequently, combined his duties as a full-time MP with The Spectator editorship. Boris was re-elected with an increased majority in 2005, leaving his role at The Spectator shortly afterwards.
In 2008, Boris Johnson was elected Mayor of London. Despite initial scepticism around his candidacy, he capitalised on his popularity to record a surprise Conservative victory. A successful first term saw him re-elected in 2012. He oversaw the London Olympics, which achieved widespread acclaim for its organisation. He also returned to The House of Commons during this time when he was elected as Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the 2015 General Election. Boris did not run for a third term as London Mayor, stepping down in 2016. Over half of Londoners believed he had done a ‘good job’.
In February 2016, after much speculation, Boris Johnson endorsed ‘Vote Leave’ in the UK’s 2016 EU Referendum. His support was seen as a huge boost for the campaign. Johnson was the most recognisable figure within the movement and he took part in a highly publicised TV debate in the run-up to the vote. Following the campaign’s victory, he was seen as the front-runner in the election of a successor to David Cameron as Conserative leader and Prime Minister. However, Michael Gove’s last-minute decision to put himself forward as a candidate split the vote and saw Boris drop out of the race.
Johnson was subsequently appointed Foreign Secretary by new Prime Minister, Theresa May. While many journalists and commentators praised his appointment, certain European ministers were unsettled by it due to his support for the ‘Leave’ campaign. He was sometimes criticised for perceived political gaffes but he was also praised for taking a tough line on Russian political inteference and his work in strengthening UK-Commonwealth relations. However, Brexit negotiations continued to colour his time in office. In 2018, three days after Theresa May unveiled her proposed Brexit agreement at Chequers, Johnson resigned, citing his belief that the agreement effectively made the UK a ‘vassal state’ of the European Union.
Boris Johnson has since returned to the backbenches and writes a regular column in The Daily Telegraph. He is widely considered the UK’s most charismatic politician and is a favourite of the Conservative Party’s grassroots support.
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