Boris Johnson: From Brexit hero to ‘vacuum of integrity’

  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now below scrutiny about revelations of lavish spending.
  • Questions have been raised about who’s paying for the refurbishments at Downing Avenue.
  • A former Conservative lawyer basic has described him as a “vacuum of integrity” over the flat renovations.

Boris Johnson has confronted unprecedented stress from Brexit and the coronavirus outbreak since he turned British prime minister in 2019. However he’s once more below scrutiny about revelations of lavish spending on his official condo.

Questions on who paid for the Downing Avenue refurbishment have targeted opposition assaults on the Conservative prime minister’s lengthy historical past of lying, and his informal method to ethics in private and non-private life.

Whereas Johnson appears to be like to political heroes similar to Winston Churchill, portraying himself as a person of future who “acquired Brexit finished”, former Conservative lawyer basic Dominic Grieve described him as a “vacuum of integrity” over the flat revamp.

A vibrant ex-journalist, Johnson has an extended path of contentious remarks in print, attacking ladies, gays, black folks and Muslims.

However the citizens has to date given him a cross.

READ | Boris Johnson faces formal probe over funding of Downing Avenue condo renovation

Nonetheless, his opponents hope “wallpaper-gate” will lastly flip voters off heading into native elections on Might 6, accusing Johnson of an conceited disdain whereas tens of hundreds of households grieve family members misplaced to the coronavirus pandemic.

The prime minister is counting as an alternative on his innate optimism resonating with voters, after successively steering Britain by means of a mass vaccination programme and on to the “sunlit uplands” of future restoration.

And he desires to be often called the chief who ended years of political paralysis and decisively reduce Britain’s ties to the European Union, even when Brexit continues to impress financial dislocation.

Late final yr, Johnson was in celebratory temper as he fended off a BBC interviewer’s insistence that Britain now faces problematic trade-offs in its future relationship with Europe.

Critics had stated “you could not have free commerce with the EU except you conformed with the EU’s legal guidelines (and) that that was having your cake and consuming it”, Johnson stated.

“That has turned out to not be true,” he added, after agreeing a commerce treaty with Brussels. “I would like you to see that it is a cakeist treaty.”

‘World king’ 

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was born in New York in 1964, and his sister stated as a toddler he wished to be “world king”.

He spent a part of his childhood within the EU capital, the place his father Stanley labored for the European Fee, and later attended the elite Eton faculty in England earlier than learning Classics at Oxford College.

In his biography “Boris Johnson: The Gambler”, launched final October, journalist Tom Bower recounts the serial womanising that put paid to Johnson’s two marriages and his relaxed relationship with the reality.

Johnson is believed to have at the very least six youngsters, together with a child boy along with his fiancee Carrie Symonds, 33.

He first labored as a journalist for The Occasions, the place he was sacked for making up a quote, and moved on to turn out to be Brussels correspondent for the Day by day Telegraph newspaper.

There he made his identify by writing “Euro-myths” — exaggerated claims in regards to the EU similar to purported plans to standardise the sizes of condoms and bananas.

Johnson then entered politics however in 2004, he was sacked from the Conservatives’ shadow cupboard for mendacity about an extra-marital affair.

READ | Boris Johnson’s secretive funding of his luxurious Downing Avenue flat refurbishment is below investigation

He rallied to turn out to be mayor of Labour-voting, staunchly pro-European London in 2008, an achievement commentators put right down to his brazen refusal to respect conference.

Brexit ‘lies’ 

Johnson felt torn about which solution to leap in Britain’s 2016 Brexit referendum, famously drawing up an inventory of professionals and cons for EU membership earlier than throwing his political charisma behind the “go away” marketing campaign.

Johnson’s recognition, and propensity for exaggeration, helped swing the bitterly divisive marketing campaign, and he intervened in July 2019 to finish the following political paralysis by seizing management of the Conservative social gathering from Theresa Might.

After successful a thumping election victory in December 2019, he was identified in March final yr with Covid-19 and ended up in intensive care, crediting two immigrant nurses with serving to to save lots of his life.

The pandemic has claimed the lives of greater than 127,400 different Britons, nevertheless, and Johnson stands accused of dodging onerous selections after a future of coverage U-turns.

However on Brexit, he caught to a hardline imaginative and prescient.

In 2018, he stop his position as overseas secretary below Might over her Brexit plan, which sought to maintain Britain within the EU’s regulatory orbit as the worth of financial stability.

When she resigned after failing thrice to get her EU divorce deal by means of parliament, Johnson took over. Inside six months he had renegotiated the deal, received an election and brought Britain out of the EU.

“Those that didn’t take him critically had been mistaken,” French President Emmanuel Macron stated on the time. However he additionally accused Brexiteers of indulging in “lies and false guarantees”.

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