Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who’s likely to soon be a Conservative MP once again, and if things go his way, could be the Conservative party’s next Prime Minister.
Johnson is a clownish character, but he’s got enviable popularity levels and is known by his first name across the UK. He’s even affectionately referred to as BoJo over social media.
This week he admitted that he’d like to be in the running in any Tory leadership race, and if David Cameron loses the election on May 7, a battle for control of the party is very likely.
That would put him in a position to become Prime Minister at the following election.
While at Oxford University, Boris was President of the Oxford Union -- a position held by former Conservative leader William Hague and ex-Prime Minister Edward Heath.
Johnson went to both school (Eton College) and university with Prime Minister David Cameron, but Boris was much more obviously political at the time.
Johnson was sacked after a brief career at the Times, and then worked for the Telegraph as the paper's Brussels correspondent, gaining a name for himself in the centre-right press.
Politics and journalism runs in the family: Boris' brother Jo Johnson is also a Conservative politician, following a career as an investment banker and as a bureau chief at the Financial Times.
Boris was appointed as editor of the Spectator magazine in 1999, before being selected for the Conservative seat of Henley on Thames and elected in 2001.
Boris was embroiled in scandal in his early years as a politician. In 2003, as an MP and still Spectator editor, he said the city of Liverpool revelled in a 'victim status.'
Despite the repeated gaffes, people warmed to Boris, though the incidents often come off as clownish, they make him seem more authentic than normal politicians.
In 2004, Johnson lied about having an extra-marital affair and Conservative leader Michael Howard sacked him as shadow minister for the arts.
By 2005, when David Cameron was elected as leader of the Conservative party, Johnson was back as higher education minister.
In 2008, Boris stood down as an MP and defeated the incumbent Labour party's Ken Livingstone in London's third mayoral election.
The city's bike hire scheme now unofficially bears Johnson's name -- pretty much everyone refers to them as 'Boris bikes' -- here he is riding one with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He also made a big deal of bringing back London's Routemaster buses, replacing the 'bendy buses' which were used under Ken Livingstone.
In 2012, Boris won re-election as Mayor in another contest against Ken Livingstone, winning by a smaller margin -- London generally tends to vote more for the Labour party.
Boris kept a constant media profile, and with no major gaffes in quite some time, the idea of him leading the Tory party became increasingly more realistic.
But his critics say he's been an inactive Mayor, using the position to boost his personal publicity. Here he is with BBC presenter Jeremy Paxman on a tandem bike.
His popularity figures are perpetually high, regularly beating all other British politicians. A poll in June last year showed him 13 points clear of David Cameron.
Boris announced in August 2014 that he would run in the upcoming general election, and if the Conservatives lose, he's widely expected to run for the leadership.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.