Meet Boris Johnson: The Man Who Wants To Replace David Cameron As British Prime Minister

Boris Johnson

While David Cameron was away in Africa, it was left to the Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson to defend his party in the wake of the disastrous phone hacking scandal.

Defend he did, but not without a nice bit of schadenfreude.

Asked about David Cameron’s judgment when appointing disgraced News of the World editor Andy Coulson during a press conference after two of the UK’s most senior police officers resigned, Johnson was quick to distance himself from that scandal:

“I’m not here to discuss government appointments, I’m here to talk about events in the Metropolitan police service. Those questions you must direct to government.”

Many, such as Benedict Brogan, deputy editor of The Telegraph, have been noticing Johnson’s increasingly brazen attitude towards the British government and his own party.

Now with the serious possibility of David Cameron being forced from leadership with the depth of the phone hacking scandal, is Johnson ready to make his move?

He was born in New York as a member of England's upper crust

Boris was born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the son of Stanley Johnson, a Conservative British politician and author, and his first wife the painter Charlotte Fawcett.

However his upbringing was unusually cosmopolitan, even by upper class standards. He was born in 1964 in New York (he's still a US citizen), was first schooled in Brussels, and is of Turkish descent. He later studied at Eton on a scholarship.

Source: BBC

In 1983 he arrived at Oxford University.

He studied Classics at the UK's most prestigious university, where he became head of the Oxford Union, a position also held by people such as Andrew Sullivan, Benazir Bhutto and Edward Heath.

Source: BBC

While there he was a member of the notorious Bullingdon Club.

The club revolves around donning dinner jackets, going to expensive restaurants, getting insanely drunk, and trashing them (yes, it still exists).

Other members included David Cameron and George Osborne. A picture of the club in full 'uniform' became notorious for signifying the British right's privilege.

(Full picture here)

Source: BBC

He married fellow student Allegra Mostyn-Owen in 1983.

They were both just 23.

At the wedding Johnson forgot his suit and lost his wedding ring shortly after.

They'd divorce after a few years and he would marry fellow journalist and lawyer Marina Wheeler.

Source: BBC

After Oxford he became a trainee at the Times of London.

Where he was later sacked for making up a quote.

Source: BBC

However, he soon landed at The Telegraph.

While at The Telegraph he returned to Brussels. He was a huge hit, eventually becoming Deputy Editor of the paper, and later becoming editor of The Spectator.

Source: BBC

His oafish demeanor made him something of star.

Johnson's appearances on the political satire quiz show Have I Got News For You made him a household name (though perhaps not for the right reasons).

He initially became an MP in 2001, but it was fraught with problems.

Johnson came under fire for a Spectator article that criticised the city of Liverpool's 'victim status' after a man from the city was murdered in Iraq.

He was sacked from the party after allegations of an affair with a journalist. He denied the allegations, calling them an 'inverted pyramid of piffle'.

Source: BBC

In 2006, he had to apologise to the entire country of Papua New Guinea

And another moment of bad judgment at a charity soccer match became a YouTube favourite.

There were also allegations of darker secrets.

A recording was made public in 2003 that appeared to show Johnson agreeing to give a school friend the address and phone number of a News of the World reporter.

The school friend wished to have the reporter attacked.

Source: The Daily Mail

David Cameron made him a junior education minister in 2006, and in 2008 he became Mayor of London

Johnson beat out the left's candidate, 'Red' Ken Livingstone, in a vote that was seen as signaling a resurgent Conservative Party after years of New Labour rule.

Source: The New York Times

Boris faces another battle with Red Ken in 2012.

Johnson has proved to be a fairly successful mayor. Highlights have included his free public bicycle system (known colloquially as 'Boris Bikes').

His handling of the phone hacking controversy has been questioned.

When informed of allegations last year, Johnson called the phone hacking stories 'codswallop'.

Source: The New York Times

But has Boris got his sights aimed higher?

Even back in 2008, the idea of Johnson as British Prime Minister was making the rounds. In his biography of Johnson, Andrew Gimson wrote:

Boris is now in a position to make his mayoralty an extended demonstration of what he can or cannot do. If he succeeds, he can entrench himself as the darling of the Tory party, a man who could yet become prime minister by acclamation. It is possible it will all end in disaster: many a term of office that opens in high hopes closes in ignominy.

Source: The Telegraph

Many have noted that Boris seems to be breaking from Cameron's policies.

Boris, of course, remains coy.

'My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive,' he once said.

Source: The Telegraph

Now check out the phone hacking scandal that could bring Boris into power...

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