The continuous scandals, half-truths and lies that have peppered Boris Johnson throughout his political career, especially in recent years, have ended with the departure of what was the charismatic leader of the United Kingdom, considered the savior of ‘Brexit’.
From a privileged family, Johnson is a journalist turned politician who was mayor of londonnegotiated the definitive agreement of the exit of the United Kingdom of the European Union and has always been haunted by scandalseven before reaching 10 Downing Street.
After overcoming a no-confidence motion put forward by his own Conservative Party peers over Downing Street lockdown parties, further cabinet scandals have sparked a bleeding of resignationsleaving Johnson on the ropes.
“You can see people, parliamentarians who have realized that it is not possible to govern in such a chaotic way. That is his greatest failure, the chaos from the beginning”, Adam Cygan, a professor at the University of Leicester, tells RTVE.es.
From journalism to mayor of London and the jump to Downing Street
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, son of Conservative MP Stanley Johnson, was born in 1964 in New York. From a privileged birthplace, he made his Secondary studies at Eton School, which was attended by princes, diplomats, as well as 18 other British prime ministers. He later trained at Oxford University, where he graduated in Classical Studies and majored in Classical and Ancient Literature. In this university he was also elected president of the student association.
Before entering politics, Johnson worked as a journalist. He started his career in the newspaper ‘The Times‘, where was it from fired for making up some statements. In 1989 she began her work at the newspaper ‘The Daily Telegraph’medium in which was correspondent in Brussels for five years and wrote articles ridiculing European standards.
Already in the world of politics, Johnson was appointed by David Cameron shadow education minister, a position he held for two years. “He was forced to resign as shadow minister because lied about having an affair with another woman”, explains to RTVE.es the professor at the University of Leicester, Adam Cygan.
Later he achieved one of the highest positions in British politics: became Mayor of London. Boris Johnson headed the City Council of the British capital for eight years, during which he made popular decisions, such as launching the public bicycle rental system -known as ‘boris bikes‘-, prohibited the consumption of alcohol on public transport and supervised the 2012 Olympic Games, considered a success.
With Theresa May in the Conservative leadership, Johnson was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairsalthough he resigned two years later due to his disagreements over the ‘Brexit’ strategy.
After May’s resignation, Johnson comfortably won the vote against Jeremy Hunt in one in which 87.4% of conservative voters participated.
His main mistake: not understanding the responsibilities of being prime minister
In the nearly three years in which he has been Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson has had to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the numerous scandals that have marred his government.
Johnson’s tenure has been full of scandals and, for the Leicester University professor, one of Johnson’s main mistakes is that “does not understand the responsibilities of being prime minister”. “He is not someone who sees that the prime minister’s office is accountable to Parliament,” he stresses.
In addition, the professor recalls that Johnson is willing to “breaking international law with the Northern Ireland protocol”. The Johnson Government has passed a bill to unilaterally modify parts of the document negotiated with the European Union and that is part of the ‘Brexit’ agreement. The objective of the Government of him is to introduce a new document more beneficial for the United Kingdom.
As for Johnson’s handling of the pandemic, it will not be remembered as one of his best. After initially downplaying the pandemic, Johnson was hospitalized in intensive care after contracting the coronavirus. In his country he did not apply harsh restrictions and the United Kingdom was one of the first European nations to eliminate mandatory isolation.
“He understood that the pandemic was a public health issue and he simply left in the hands of public health experts”, affirms Cygan to RTVE.es. “But his instinct was to lift the lockdown as soon as possible, to take risks, to try to get back to normal life… Instinctively, lockdowns and restrictions weren’t his thing,” he adds.
For Cygan, there are few successes achieved by Johnson as prime minister, although among them he highlights that secured in 2019 the clearest conservative majority since 1987, when Margaret Thatcher won her third term. With Johnson as prime minister, the United Kingdom also became the first Western country to start distributing a vaccine against COVID-19, although according to the professor “it was a success achieved by the experts responsible for the vaccination campaign.”
The ‘partygate’, the crystallization of Johnson’s mistakes
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom passed a vote of confidence in his party a month ago after a series of scandals that have shaken his cabinet and him personally. Both Johnson and members of his government were accused of repeatedly violating the rules of confinement imposed by the pandemic with parties organized in Downing Street, a scandal known as ‘partygate’.
The Police fined the prime minister for breaking the rules and later, an official report by the official Sue Gray, revealed compromising details and claimed the parties “should never have happened”.
One of the parties held in Downing Street took place on April 16, when the United Kingdom was mourning the death of the queen’s husband, Prince Philip. According to the newspaperThe Telegraph‘, Johnson did not participate in that meeting, although he did authorize the parties.
“I think the ‘partygate’ crystallized what we all knew was wrong with Boris Johnson,” says the professor at the University of Leicester. “He is not the most honest politician, he does not believe that the rules affect him like the others. Always he has seen it all through his survival as prime minister”, asserts Cygan, who emphasizes that the party scandal “illustrates his lack of interest in the day-to-day work as prime minister”.
Another of Johnson’s scandals dates back to 2019, when in the midst of a crisis to carry out ‘Brexit’, the prime minister proposed to Queen Elizabeth II suspend sessions of the British Parliament. Several opponents came to accuse Johnson of lying to the monarch to approve the suspension, since it is the queen who makes the final decision in these cases.
The most recent scandal has been the one that has put the prime minister in check, after the British press uncovered that the former Conservative deputy Chirs Pincher “groped” two men in a Conservative Party club. The British Executive initially held that Johnson I was unaware of the sexual harassment allegations against Pincheralthough later he ended up acknowledging that he knew of the deputy’s behavior and regretted his appointment as head of the Discipline of the conservative parliamentary group.
The man who took the UK out of the European Union
The departure of the United Kingdom has been one of the historical moments that this country has experienced during the mandate of Boris Johnson. The prime minister succeeded renegotiate a divorce agreement with the community bloc that seemed immovable.
Four years after the referendum held in the United Kingdom in 2016 in which the British voted in favor of leaving the European Union, London reached an agreement with Brussels for the bilateral relations that entered into force on January 1, 2021.
In this sense, Professor Cygan believes that Johnson “He will be remembered as the man who took the United Kingdom out of the European Union.”, although he stresses that “he always supported the exit because he believed that it would be what would help him to be prime minister in the future”. “The only person Boris Johnson is interested in is Boris Johnson”it states.