- Boris Johnson will become Britain’s new prime minister after winning the contest to replace Theresa May.
- He beat the foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt to win the contest.
- Johnson, the former mayor of London, served as May’s foreign secretary for two years until he resigned in July 2018 in protest of her approach to the UK’s departure from the EU.
- He will formally become prime minister on Wednesday.
Boris Johnson will become Britain’s next prime minister after winning the contest to replace Theresa May.
Johnson is a clownish character, but he has been a prominent figure in British politics for some time and is known by his first name across the UK.
Here are some pictures of his life and rise to power, as well as some insights into what his future might look like.
A previous version of this article was written by Mike Bird.
While at Oxford University, Boris was president of the Oxford Union, a position held by former Conservative leader William Hague and ex-Prime Minister Edward Heath.
Johnson went to Eton College and university with David Cameron, but Boris was much more obviously political at the time.
Johnson was sacked after a brief career at The Times of London, and he then worked for The Daily Telegraph as the paper’s Brussels correspondent, gaining a name for himself in the center-right press.
Politics and journalism run in the family. Boris’ brother, Jo Johnson, is also a Conservative politician, following a career as an investment banker and as a bureau chief at the Financial Times.
Boris was appointed editor of The Spectator magazine in 1999 before being selected for the Conservative seat of Henley-on-Thames and elected in 2001.
Boris was embroiled in scandal in his early years as a politician. In 2003, as a member of Parliament and still Spectator editor, he said the city of Liverpool reveled in a “victim status.”
Despite the repeated gaffes, people warmed to Boris. Though the incidents often come off as clownish, they make him seem more authentic than normal politicians.
In 2004, Johnson lied about having an extramarital affair, and Conservative leader Michael Howard sacked him as shadow minister for the arts.
By 2005, when David Cameron was elected leader of the Conservative Party, Johnson was back as higher-education minister.
In 2008, Boris stood down as a member of Parliament and defeated incumbent Ken Livingstone of the Labour Party in London’s third mayoral election.
The city’s bike-hire scheme now unofficially bears Johnson’s name. Pretty much everyone refers to them as “Boris bikes.” Here he is riding one with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He also made a big deal of bringing back London’s Routemaster buses, replacing the “bendy buses” that were used under Livingstone.
In 2012, as part of a promotional event for the Olympics, Boris was stuck on a zip wire.
In 2012, Boris won reelection as mayor in another contest against Ken Livingstone, winning by a smaller margin. London generally tends to vote more for the Labour Party.
Boris has kept a constant media profile. With no major gaffes in quite some time, the idea of his leading the Tory Party has become increasingly realistic.
But his critics called him an inactive mayor, using the position to boost his personal publicity. Here he is with BBC presenter Jeremy Paxman on a tandem bike.
His popularity figures are perpetually high, regularly beating all other British politicians. A poll in June 2014 showed him 13 points clear of David Cameron.
Boris announced in August 2014 that he would run in the coming general election.
In May 2015, Boris won the Parliament seat in Uxbridge, while the Conservative victory gave Cameron a second term as prime minister.
After rumors circulated in October 2015 that Cameron would step down early, Boris’ name floated around as a possible replacement. Cameron had mentioned him as a possible successor when he said that he would serve only two terms.
As debate over the Brexit heated up in early 2016, Boris said that his country had a “great, great future” outside the EU but that he’d rather see the UK remain in a reformed EU.
On February 21, Boris Johnson officially came out in favor of Britain leaving the EU, giving the “Leave” campaign a significant boost.
In March, Boris told a Treasury committee that there were “no good economic arguments” for Britain staying in the EU.
When US President Barack Obama encouraged Britain to stay in the EU, Boris called him a “part-Kenyan” with hypocritical views.
Just weeks before the referendum, Cameron said Boris could be the next prime minister. Some speculated that his leadership of the “Leave” campaign earned him Conservative support.
When Britain officially voted to leave the EU and Cameron announced that he was resigning, Boris was a favorite to become the new prime minister.
But in a shocking turn of events, he announced that he would not seek the office of prime minister after his ally Michael Gove announced his own candidacy.
The Telegraph called Gove’s actions “the most spectacular political assassination in a generation.” But Gove soon dropped out of the race.
Boris then threw his support behind Andrea Leadsom, the former minister of state for energy. But she soon dropped out of the race as well.
Theresa May ultimately emerged victorious in the race for prime minister. She appointed Boris as secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs on July 13.
The decision was immediately criticized — Boris had made numerous negative remarks about foreign leaders.
In his new role, Boris spent lots of time in the EU countries he condemned during his referendum campaign.
Boris said he was “very humbled” to be chosen for the position.
As foreign secretary, Johnson worked to convince the world Brexit would not mean the UK was walling itself off from the rest of the globe.
Johnson was not a particularly effective diplomat, repeatedly making gaffes and offensive comments. In October 2017, for example, he caused uproar after joking that Libya could be the next Dubai if it clears the “dead bodies away” first.
Source: BBC News
Johnson resigned as foreign secretary in July 2018 in a rebuke of May’s approach to Brexit.
Jeremy Hunt was named as Johnson’s successor.
Since resigning as foreign secretary, Johnson has been among May’s harshest critics in Parliament. In September 2018, he said the deal May was pushing for would be “substantially worse” than the UK staying in the EU. Johnson wants a hard Brexit.
Parliament has been engaged in a dramatic, deadlocked debate on Brexit for months, prompting the EU to give it small extension on negotiating a deal. On March 27, May announced she’d resign as prime minister once she has delivered Brexit. The move was designed to get Parliament to agree to her deal.
“I have heard very clearly the mood of the parliamentary party. I know there is a desire for a new approach — and new leadership — in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations — and I won’t stand in the way of that,” May said in announcing her intention to resign.
Now that May has pledged to resign, Johnson has reportedly signaled he will back her deal after previously contending agreeing to it would be a “historic mistake.”
As soon as May announced her plans to resign post-Brexit, discussions began on who her replacement would be. Johnson is at the top of the shortlist.
Other top contenders for Britain’s next prime minister include former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Source: The Guardian
Once highly popular, a recent poll showed nearly 60% of voters in Johnson’s party, the Conservative party, think he lacks the qualities needed to make a good prime minister.
Source: The Scotsman
In early March, Johnson was heavily criticized after suggesting money had been wasted on child sex abuse investigations. But British journalists are still pointing to Johnson as May’s likely successor.
May tried and failed repeatedly to pass a deal by the Brexit deadline of March 29, forcing her to request an extension from the EU.
Following May’s decision to delay Brexit, the Conservative party collapses in opinion polls leading to a massive victory for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party in the European elections, with May’s party coming in a poor fourth place.
Following the result, Theresa May stands down giving an emotional speech and firing the starting gun on the race to replace her
Boris Johnson enters the race as the strong favourite, as party members turn towards the man they believe is an election winner.
A large field of candidates enter the race as many Conservative MPs express doubts about Johnson as the frontrunner
Conservative MPs hold a series of votes to whittle down the shortlist to Johnson and Jeremy Hunt.
Following a bruising series of debates, Johnson is crowned the next Conservative prime minister with 64% of the vote.