Boris Johnson, 55, has been elected as Britain’s prime minister, succeeding Theresa May. A popular face of 2016 Brexit referendum, Johnson won votes of 92,153 members of the Conservative party, almost twice the 46,656 won by his rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, thus paving his way to be the leader of Conservative party, and also the next British Prime Minister.
Born as Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson in New York on June 19, 1964, the Tory leader has had his education at the European School, Brussels I, Ashdown House, and Eton College.
Boris Johnson started his career as a reporter at The Times of London, but was sacked for falsifying a quotation. He later became The Daily Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent, where he was eventually made assistant editor of the Telegraph in 1994. In 1999, he left the Telegraph to become editor of The Spectator, where he stayed till 2005.
Boris Johnson shares a popular Indian connection. His estranged wife Marina Wheeler, whom he married in 1993, is half Indian and is the niece of late editor and writer Khushwant Singh. Johnson, also the former Mayor of London, has earlier referred to himself as the son-in-law of India. In addition, Johnson’ younger brother Jo was India correspondent of The Financial Times in 2006-07.
Due to his comments and observations, Johnson has always been a very controversial figure in Britain. He is known to have made several gaffes, including some related to India. As the Foreign Secretary in 2017, Johnson was criticized for talking about whiskey exports to India at a Sikh Gurudwara, despite alcohol being forbidden in the Sikh faith.
Before taking the position of Britain’s PM, Johnson served as Mayor of London from 2008 to 2016, and from 2016 to 2018, he served as the Foreign Secretary.
Johnson’s supporters, including William Hague and Kathy Sheridan, identify him as a modern-day Winston Churchill. Johnson has always identified with the Tory rebel Churchill, who took office in 1940.
Ottoman journalist and government minister Ali Kemal is one of Johnson’s great-grandfathers, giving his ancestry a Turkish touch. Ali Kemal was an ardent monarchist; he supported the Sultan and welcomed the British occupiers, helping him keep his throne.