Johnson, Boris (Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson), 1964?, British political leader, b. New York City, grad. Oxford (1986). While at Oxford Johnson was president of the prestigious Oxford Union debating society. He worked as a journalist, becoming editor of The Spectator (1999?2005). Boyish, outspoken, and sometimes controversial, he was elected to Parliament as a Conservative in 2001 and 2005. He was elected mayor of London in 2008, defeating incumbent Ken Livingstone, and defeated Livingstone again in 2012. In 2015 he was elected to Parliament again. He was among the most prominent British politicians to campaign for Britain's exit from the European Union in the 2016 referendum on the issue, and was named foreign secretary by Theresa May when she became prime minister in the aftermath of the vote in favor of leaving. He resigned the post in 2018 because he favored a more radical break with the EU than May was proposing. After May announced her resignation in mid-2019, Johnson, advocating a British withdrawal from the EU in Oct., 2019, no matter what, succeeded her in July as Conservative party leader and prime minister. Tensions in the Conservative party led to his loss of a majority, and Parliament forced him through legislation to ask for a delay from the EU. He subsequently negotiated revised agreement for leaving the EU, and then, promising to complete Brexit, led the Conservatives to a significant election victory in Dec., 2019. His new government then quickly enacted the legislation needed to allow the EU at the end of Jan., 2020. Johnson has written several books, including Friends, Voters, Countrymen (2001), Lend Me Your Ears (2003), a novel, Seventy-Two Virgins (2004), The Dream of Rome (2006), and Johnson's Life of London (2011).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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