Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (born 19 June 1964), better known as Boris Johnson, is a British politician, popular historian, and journalist. He has been the Member of parliament (MP) for Uxbridge and South Ruislip since 2015. He had previously been the MP for Henley from 2001 to 2008. He was Mayor of London from 2008 to 2016, and from 2016 to 2018 he served as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. A member of the Conservative Party, Johnson identifies as a one-nation conservative and has been associated with both economically and socially liberal policies.
Born in New York City to wealthy upper-middle class English parents, Johnson was educated at the European School of Brussels, Ashdown House School, and Eton College. He studied Classics at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was elected president of the Oxford Union in 1986. He began his career in journalism at The Times but was sacked for falsifying a quotation. He later became The Daily Telegraph's Brussels correspondent, with his articles exerting a strong influence on growing Eurosceptic sentiment among the British right-wing. He was assistant editor from 1994 to 1999 before taking the editorship of The Spectator from 1999 to 2005. Joining the Conservatives, he was elected MP for Henley in 2001, and under party leaders Michael Howard and David Cameron he was in the Shadow Cabinet. He largely adhered to the Conservatives' party line but adopted a more socially liberal stance on issues like LGBT rights in parliamentary votes. Making regular television appearances, writing books, and remaining active in journalism, Johnson became one of the most conspicuous politicians in the United Kingdom.
Selected as Conservative candidate for the London mayoral election of 2008, Johnson defeated Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone and resigned his seat in the House of Commons. During his first term as Mayor of London, he banned alcohol consumption on much of the capital's public transport, championed London's financial sector, and introduced the New Routemaster buses, cycle hire scheme, and Thames cable car. In 2012, he was reelected to the office, again defeating Livingstone; during his second term he oversaw the 2012 Summer Olympics. In 2015 he was elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, stepping down as Mayor of London the following year. In 2016, Johnson became a prominent figure in the successful Vote Leave campaign to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Union. He became Foreign Secretary under Theresa May's premiership, but resigned in criticism of May's approach to Brexit and the Chequers Agreement.
Johnson is a controversial figure in British politics and journalism. Supporters have praised him as an entertaining, humorous, and popular figure with appeal beyond traditional Conservative voters. Conversely, he has been criticised by figures on both the left and right, who accused him of elitism, cronyism, dishonesty, laziness, and using racist language. Johnson is the subject of several biographies and a number of fictionalised portrayals.