Home UK & World In Pictures: Rise and fall of formidable campaigner Boris Johnson

In Pictures: Rise and fall of formidable campaigner Boris Johnson



oris Johnson’s ousting as Tory party leader will see his term as Prime Minister end and, at least for now, brings down the curtain on a political career full of ups and downs.

The former journalist, a familiar figure on TV panel shows before he climbed to power, switched to politics when he became MP for Henley-on-Thames but soon made it clear he coveted the mayor of London’s job.

Beating the incumbent Ken Livingstone, his tenure in a city with widespread Labour support was notable and he occupied that office during the 2012 Olympics, considered a triumph for the host city.

Returning to the Commons in 2015 as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, he quickly took what proved to be a career-defining decision to support Brexit, rebelling against the advice of then prime minister David Cameron, his fellow old Etonian.

Mr Johnson was left hanging in mid-air after he got stuck on a zipwire at a 2012 Olympic event at Victoria Park in the capital (Ben Kendall/PA) / PA Archive
Boris Johnson watches the election results in 2001 with his then wife Marina Wheeler as he won the Henley seat for the Conservatives (PA) / PA Archive
Donning a pair of fishing waders to help plant flowers at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew (Stefan Rousseau/PA) / PA Archive
Taking part in a tug of war with personnel from the armed forces at the launch of London Poppy Day (Jonathan Brady/PA) / PA Archive
Trying out an Oculus virtual reality headset at Google’s offices in Israel (Stefan Rousseau/PA) / PA Archive

Mr Johnson decided to back Brexit and became a familiar figure around the country, descending from the bespoke red bus to rally voters to end the union with the continent that had started in 1973.

He was perhaps the most high-profile figure on the campaign and the take-back-control message prevailed to the surprise of many pundits at home and abroad.

Many saw him as the man to lead the UK out of the union but as he prepared to contest the leadership following Mr Cameron’s resignation, the shock decision of ally Michael Gove to stand scuppered his campaign before it had started.

In the end, Theresa May, a Remainer, won the contest and put Mr Johnson in charge of the Foreign Office as the UK began what would be a fraught process of exiting the then 28-member body.

Gisela Stuart, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove hold a press conference at Brexit HQ in Westminster, London, after David Cameron quit following the lost Brexit referendum (Mary Turner/PA) / PA Archive
Responding to a request for a kiss from Gina Andrade in Wembley during his mayoral campaign in 2008 (Fiona Hanson/PA) / PA Archive
Conservative Party leader David Cameron congratulates Boris Johnson on becoming London Mayor in 2008 (Stefan Rousseau/PA) / PA Archive
After winning the Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat on election night 2015 (Andrew Matthews/PA) / PA Archive
Boris Johnson on an early morning jog in 2004 after he was sacked from the shadow cabinet by Tory party leader Michael Howard, after revelations about his private life were published in a tabloid newspaper (Chris Young/PA) / PA Archive
Mr Johnson forces a rugby tackle on German footballer Maurizio Gaudino during a legends match in Reading in 2006 (Rebecca Naden/PA) / PA Archive
Promoting a sports participation initiative outside County Hall in London in 2008 (Tim Ireland/PA) / PA Archive
Taking part in a street cricket tournament in aid of charity in 2015 (Lauren Hurley/PA) / PA Archive
During a street rugby tournament in Tokyo with school children to mark Japan hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup (Stefan Rousseau/PA) / PA Archive
A fellow commuter gesturing to Mr Johnson during his tenure as Mayor of London (John Stillwell/PA)
An ice cream stop in Barry, South Wales during the leadership campaign (Frank Augstein/PA) / PA Wire
Boris Johnson brings tea for the press to drink outside his house in Thame in August 2018 (Aaron Chown/PA) / PA Archive

Mr Johnson eventually quit as foreign secretary amid discord over Mrs May’s perceived soft Brexit.

And when Mrs May eventually was toppled, this time Mr Johnson never looked like being beaten in the contest, securing a clear win.

He arrived in 10 Downing Street after being offered the post by the Queen but it did not take him long to seek a fresh mandate for the “oven-ready” deal he had struck with the EU.

The voters gave him a ringing endorsement, with the Tories claiming spectacular wins in “red wall” seats which had previously been seen as safe for Labour.

Little did Mr Johnson know that the imminent leaving of the EU would soon be superseded by a crisis like no other.

The coronavirus outbreak saw Mr Johnson taking unprecedented decisions, governing every aspect of citizens’ life with his March 23 2020 address telling people to stay at home the beginning of a long struggle, both politically and personal.

After being treated in intensive care, Mr Johnson resumed full duties but although his physical health recovered, events during the lockdown would in the end help trigger his downfall.

Being taught how to make a latte at a Starbucks branch in London (Stefan Rousseau/PA) / PA Archive
Pouring a pint during the Vote Leave Brexit campaign in St Austell (Stefan Rousseau/PA) / PA Archive
Mr Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds arrive in Downing Street after the landslide victory in the 2019 general election (Yui Mok/PA) / PA Wire
The Prime Minister speaks to British troops stationed in Estonia during a one-day visit shortly before Christmas (Stefan Rousseau/PA) / PA Wire

Mr Johnson was credited by some for a fast vaccine rollout while an inquiry will determine his handling of the pandemic.

But it was the so-called partygate scandal of socialising at the heart of Westminster while the four nations were locked down that would see his popularity tumble.

After a series of bad election results, the Chris Pincher scandal proved the final straw for a party that had narrowly voted to keep the leader in post just weeks earlier.

Speaking to the Duke of Sussex during the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London in late January 2020 (Stefan Rousseau/PA) / PA Wire
The couple were spotted in the stands during the Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham shortly after the news they were to become parents (Adam Davy/PA) / PA Wire
A weary looking Mr Johnson speaking at a coronavirus media briefing in Downing Street on the 99th day since the Tories won the election (PA) / PA Wire

With mass resignations ensuing, the Prime Minister finally agreed to stand down on Thursday with even the Chancellor he had appointed 36 hours earlier telling him it was time to go.


Previous articleChildless Tax: Why It’s Such An Offensive Suggestion
Next articleMk2 Volkswagen Phaeton: never-launched luxury saloon revealed