Boris Johnson

Official portrait, 2019 Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (, born 19 June 1964) is a British politician and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 2019 to 2022. He previously served as Foreign Secretary from 2016 to 2018 and as Mayor of London from 2008 to 2016. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Uxbridge and South Ruislip from 2015 to 2023, having previously been MP for Henley from 2001 to 2008.

Johnson attended Eton College and studied Classics at Balliol College, Oxford. He was elected president of the Oxford Union in 1986. In 1989, he became the Brussels correspondent – and later political columnist – for ''The Daily Telegraph'', and from 1999 to 2005 he was the editor of ''The Spectator''. Following his election to Parliament in 2001, he became a member of the shadow cabinets of Michael Howard and later David Cameron. Johnson was elected Mayor of London in 2008 and resigned from the House of Commons. He was re-elected mayor in 2012. In the 2015 general election he was elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, and the following year did not seek re-election as mayor. Johnson was a prominent figure in the successful Vote Leave campaign for Brexit in the 2016 European Union membership referendum. After the referendum, Prime Minister Theresa May appointed him foreign secretary in her cabinet. He resigned from the position in 2018 in protest at both the Chequers Agreement and May's approach to Brexit.

Johnson defeated Jeremy Hunt in the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election to succeed May, who resigned after Parliament's repeated rejections of her Brexit withdrawal agreement. Johnson re-opened Brexit negotiations and in early September prorogued Parliament, with the Supreme Court later that month ruling the action to have been unlawful.}} After agreeing to a revised Brexit withdrawal agreement which replaced the Irish backstop with the Northern Ireland Protocol, but failing to win parliamentary support for the agreement, Johnson called a snap general election to be held in December 2019. In the election, he led the Conservative Party to their largest victory since 1987. On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union and entered a transition period of trade negotiations that led to the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

A decisive event that occurred during Johnson's premiership was the COVID-19 pandemic. The government responded to the pandemic by introducing various emergency powers and measures across the country to mitigate its impact and approved the rollout of a nationwide vaccination programme. He also responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine by imposing sanctions on Russia and authorising foreign aid and weapons shipments to Ukraine. In the Partygate scandal it was found that multiple parties had been held at 10 Downing Street during national COVID-19 lockdowns, and COVID-19 social distancing laws were breached by 83 individuals, including Johnson, who in April 2022 was issued with a fixed penalty notice. The publishing of the Sue Gray report in May 2022 and a widespread sense of dissatisfaction led in June 2022 to a vote of confidence in his leadership among Conservative MPs, which he won. In July 2022, revelations over his appointment of Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip while knowing of allegations of sexual misconduct against him led to a mass resignation of members of the government and to Johnson announcing his resignation as prime minister. He left office on 6 September and was succeeded by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. Johnson remained in the House of Commons as a backbencher until he resigned in June 2023, days before the Privileges Committee investigation unanimously found that he had lied to the Commons on numerous occasions.

Johnson is a controversial figure in British politics. His supporters have praised him for being humorous, witty, and entertaining, with an appeal reaching beyond traditional Conservative Party voters, making him an electoral asset to the party. Conversely, his critics have accused him of lying, elitism, cronyism and bigotry. As prime minister, his supporters praised him for "getting Brexit done", overseeing the UK's COVID-19 vaccination programme, which was initially amongst the fastest in the world, and providing global leadership following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. His tenure saw several controversies and scandals, and is viewed as the most scandalous premiership of modern times by historians and biographers. Johnson's political positions have been described as one-nation conservative, and commentators have characterised his political style as opportunistic, populist and pragmatic.

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