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Boris Johnson is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who assumed office on July 24, 2019. Before becoming the Prime Minister, he was a journalist, a Member of the Parliament, and Mayor of London.
See the fact file below for more information on Boris Johnson or alternatively, you can download our 28-page Boris Johnson worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Early Life and Education
- Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, or Boris Johnson, was born on June 19, 1964 in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City. He is the son of Stanley Johnson, a former member of the European Parliament and descended from Turkish ancestry, and Charlotte Maria Offow Johnson, a renowned British artist.
- Boris has two younger brothers, Leo and Jo, and a sister, Rachel. Johnson grew up in New York City, London, and Brussels.
- As a child, Johnson was primarily raised by his mother as his father was regularly absent. He was quiet, studious, and grew up with his siblings as his constant companions. Johnson also had deafness, resulting in several operations to insert grommets into his ears.
- He attended Ashdown House, a preparatory boarding school in England, and won a scholarship to Eton College. He later studied classics at Balliol College, Oxford, while he was the president of the Oxford Union. He was awarded an upper second-class degree in 1987.
- After graduating, Johnson worked as a management consultant for a brief period before pursuing a career in journalism.
- He began as a reporter at The Times in 1987 but was fired for inventing a quote by historian Colin Lucas.
- The struggling reporter moved to Daily Telegraph to be its assistant editor, having met its editor, Max Hastings, during his presidency at Oxford Union. In 1997, he transferred to The Spectator and became its editor from 1999 until 2005.
- Johnson’s first attempt to enter politics was in 1997 when he was selected as the conservative candidate for Clwyd South in the House of Commons. However, he lost to the Labour Party incumbent, Martyn Jones.
- After his defeat, he became more visible in television shows, appearing in the BBC talk program Have I Got News for You. Outspoken, boyish, and sometimes controversial, he became a favorite on British talk shows.
- He was invited to stand for Parliament in 2001 for Henley-on-Thames and won against Michael Heseltine.
- The new MP became one of the country’s most recognized politicians as he continues to frequently appear on British TV shows and be an editor of the Spectator
- However, not everything he did became popular with the audience. He was once forced to apologize to Liverpool due to an insensitive editorial in The Spectator.
- In 2004, allegations of an extramarital affair between Johnson and a journalist surfaced, resulting in his dismissal as shadow arts minister. Despite these public rebukes, he was re-elected to his parliamentary position in 2005.
Mayor of London
- In July 2007, he entered into the mayoral race against Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone. This time, he proved to his people that he was a substantial politician by focusing on issues of crime and transportation.
- After a tightly contested election, he won on May 1, 2008, and as one of his campaign promises, he stepped down from being an MP the following month.
- After four years, he again bested Livingstone by winning the mayoral election. It was one of the bright spots for the Conservative Party as they lost more than 800 seats in England, Scotland, and Wales.
- While holding a political position, Johnson continued to write. His books Lend Me Your Ears (2003), a collection of essays; Seventy-two Virgins (2004), a novel; and The Dream of Rome (2006), a historical survey of the Roman Empire. He added to his collection in 2014 the book, The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History.
Returning to Parliament
- In 2015, Johnson returned to Parliament after winning the west London seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. There were speculations that he wanted to return to Parliament to replace Cameron as Conservative Leader and Prime Minister.
- Johnson is probably most famous for endorsing Vote Leave in the “Out” for the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. He thinks that Cameron’s warning about leaving was “greatly over-exaggerated.” His announcement resulted in the pound sterling slumped against the US dollar, reaching its lowest level since March 2009.
- Johnson’s campaign prevailed. Cameron resigned as Conservative leader and Prime Minister making Johnson the front-runner to succeed him. However, after his key ally Michael Gove turned his back on him, Johnson declared that he would not stand in the Conservative leadership election and endorsed Andrea Leadsom instead. Nonetheless, she dropped out of the race a week later, leaving Theresa May to be elected uncontested.
- Theresa May appointed Johnson as Foreign Secretary in July 2016. Many journalists and foreign politicians thought that Johnson was unqualified because of his history of controversial statements about other countries. Johnson’s tenure as a foreign secretary was full of criticism, tension, and unpopular actions and statements. On July 9, Johnson resigned as foreign secretary. He believed that May was too collaborative with the European Union in Brexit negotiations.
- Johnson continued to be a persistent critic of May’s attempt to push her version of Brexit through Parliament. On March 27, 2019, in an effort for the House of Common’s support to her plan, she promised to step down as Prime Minister. Most of the party refused to back her plan. She stepped down as a party leader on June 7 but remained as the caretaker prime minister until her party chose her successor.
- Johnson found himself one of the ten candidates to replace May and became the official Prime Minister on July 24, 2019.
- During his term, he continued to fight for Brexit, which was slowly losing support. The new Prime Minister had requested the queen to prorogue the Parliament, which was granted, to cut the time MPs would have to take to prevent no-deal Brexit.
- He also proposed a snap election and asked the EU to extend their deadline. Winning another 365 seats of the conservative party increased its presence in the House of Commons. It ultimately became the decisive factor in guiding Johnson’s preferred version of Brexit to its victory. The United Kingdom formally exited from the EU on January 31, 2020.
The Covid-19 Pandemic
- Much of the details of Brexit needed to be worked out the following year. But it had to take a backseat as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Johnson’s government initially did not take the consequences of the spread of the virus seriously. However, in mid-March 2020, the potentially deadly disease began to spread wildly in Britain. Johnson enforced mask-wearing and social distancing along with lockdowns, including closing schools, restaurants, and other businesses.
- Johnson himself contracted the virus at the end of March. He was hospitalized and later spent three nights in the ICU. His foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, replaced him while he was incapacitated.
- On April 12, he returned to the office with a grateful Easter message to the country, thanking the health workers who had saved his life and commending the National Health Service (NHS) for its response to the health crisis.
- Johnson initiated several at-home orders in some regions through the coming year, trying to limit the virus’s casualties. Aided by government funding, British scientists were one of the first to test one of the first effective vaccines. They were also the first country to deploy The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that quickly began the national immunization program.
- Johnson married Allegra Mostyn-Owen in 1987 but the marriage ended in divorce in 1993. Twelve days later, he married a barrister and a family friend, Marina Wheeler, to whom he had his four children.
- While he was the editor of the Spectator, Johnson was accused of having an affair with its columnist and later with a The Guardian journalist.
- In 2018, Johnson and Wheeler announced that they separated “several months ago” and began their divorce. It was finalized by November 2020.
- Johnson began living with Carrie Symonds in 2019. They announced their engagement late in the year and that they are expecting a baby. On May 29, 2021, Johnson married Symonds in a secret ceremony at Westminster Cathedral. They announced that they are expecting another child on July 31, 2021.
Boris Johnson Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Boris Johnson across 28 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching about Boris Johnson who is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who assumed office on July 24, 2019. Before becoming the Prime Minister, he was a journalist, a Member of the Parliament, and Mayor of London. He is most famous for pushing the Brexit and his management of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Boris Johnson Facts
- The Minister’s Early Life
- Controversial Boris
- The Johnson Politics
- Mayoral Election
- Just Boris
- Leader’s Decision
- The Pandemic
- The Brexit
- Handling the Pandemic
- Boris’s Wisdom
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Use With Any Curriculum
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