Boris Johnson: The man who would be 'World King'

Always ambitious, Mr Johnson told people growing up that he wanted to be “World King” ...
James Wilson
James Wilson

18.31 7 Jul 2022

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Boris Johnson: The man who wou...

Boris Johnson: The man who would be 'World King'

James Wilson
James Wilson

18.31 7 Jul 2022

Share this article

Boris Johnson has officially resigned his position as Conservative Party leader.

In an address outside 10 Downing Street this afternoon, the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip said he was “sad to be giving up the best job in the world" adding "but them's the breaks.”

He confirmed he plans to remain on as Prime Minister until a replacement is elected.


That will bring to an end a three-year reign that spanned some of the most tumultuous years in modern British history.


Always ambitious, Mr Johnson told people growing up that he wanted to be “World King”.

His birth in New York meant he could theoretically have run for office in the US; however, instead he spent decades working his way towards 10 Downing Street.

He first entered elected politics in 2001 as MP for the true-blue Tory seat of Henely in Oxfordshire.

A few years later in 2008, he became Mayor of London where he cultivated a reputation as a modern Conservative who championed causes such as gay marriage, immigration and membership of the EU’s single market.

'Take back control'

In 2016, an MP once more, Mr Johnson had a big decision to make as a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU loomed.

A journalist by trade, he wrote two opinion columns - one in favour of remaining in the EU, the other for leaving. In the end, he went with the latter and was announced as Vote Leave’s star campaigner.

Few European capitals expected Britons to back Brexit but, in the end, that is exactly what they did.

Mr Johnson was hailed as the hero of the hour by Britain’s Eurosceptics and soon after he announced he would stand in the race to succeed David Cameron as Prime Minister.

It was an ill-fated effort; his running mate Michael Gove u-turned and declared him unfit for office and a chastened Mr Johnson pulled out of the race.

Down but not out, Theresa May, newly installed in No 10, asked him to serve as Foreign Secretary - a position he eventually resigned after they clashed over her Brexit policy.

The criticism that Mrs May’s Brexit deal would leave Britain too closely aligned with the EU was one shared by many Tory MPs and in 2019, she quit having failed to get her deal through Parliament.

Elected as Tory leader that summer, Mr Johnson negotiated a new deal with Brussels that left Northern Ireland de facto in the EU single market while Great Britain would leave entirely.

The DUP was disgusted but Mr Johnson took his deal into the 2019 UK General Election and was rewarded with a landslide victory.

After years of dreaming and scheming, Mr Johnson’s job and place in history seemed secure.

'You must stay at home'

However, the highs of the 2019 election were quickly forgotten in 2020 as COVID-19 began to spread across the planet.

An optimist and a libertarian by nature, the pandemic meant Mr Johnson had to ignore his natural instincts and he ordered the public to stay at home under the most draconian set of laws in living memory.

Mr Johnson’s opponents point out that Britain suffered one of the highest mortality rates in the world during the pandemic; while his supporters note that the vaccine rollout was Europe’s fastest and meant the country exited lockdown well before its neighbours.

Few will disagree that the cavalier approach Mr Johnson took to the rules he made himself was an error of titanic proportions.

Whilst the British public was legally obliged to stay at home, Mr Johnson attended a birthday party his wife had organised for him in June 2020. His aides regularly got widely drunk after work - even partying the day before Prince Philip’s funeral.

As the details were leaked into the national press, Tory support in the opinion polls shrivelled – and Mr Johnson’s MPs began to fear for their jobs.

In June, a leadership ballot was held and 59% of colleagues voted that they had confidence in him.

Had Chris Pincher, the Government’s Deputy Chief Whip, not gotten drunk and allegedly groped two men at a posh London member’s club, Mr Johnson might have clung to power.

But when news broke that a formal complaint had previously been made about Mr Pincher’s behaviour but that Downing Street had appointed him to the Whips’ Office regardless, even the most loyal MPs voiced their disgust.

Regicide was the only solution, they concluded, and Mr Johnson’s fate was sealed.

Main image: Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves following a visit to the Lakeland Forum vaccination centre in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Picture date: Friday March 12, 2021.

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