Boris Johnson has resigned. Soon, he will no longer be the British Prime Minister. On July 6th, a staggering 70% of the British population wanted Johnson to resign. The country and his party have repeatedly echoed their demands for his resignation, and it finally came. So, what did the Prime Minister even accomplish in his time as leader, and how did he get there in the first place?
His Early Life:
Boris Johnson was born in New York City, New York in 1964. By 1969, Boris and his family had returned to England. Early records of the future Prime Minister’s personality described him as “quiet and studious.” According to historical testimony, the child’s first ambition was to be “world king.”
Boris attended Eton College, a well-renowned preparatory school for children aged 13–18. Teachers often complained about Boris’s laziness, lateness, and immense complacency. After Eton, Boris Johnson studied classics at Balliol College, one of Oxford University’s oldest colleges.
Following graduation, Johnson embarked on a journalism career. He first worked for The Times (1987) but was fired for fabricating a quotation. From 1989–1999, Boris worked for The Daily Telegraph in two separate roles. In 1994, Boris also took up a role as a political columnist for The Spectator, and in 1999, he was named the magazine’s editor, a role he served until 2005.
Parliament, Mayor, and Foreign Secretary:
In 2001, Johnson’s official political career began. He stood for Parliament in the Henley-on-Thames constituency and won. Although plagued with rumors of affairs and insensitive comments on The Spectator, Johnson retained his seat in 2005.
Boris Johnson then entered the London mayoral election, which was being held in July 2007. Focusing on crime and transportation, he was able to win a narrow election. Come 2012, Johnson won again.
In 2016, a national referendum on whether the UK should leave the EU saw 52% of citizens support the nation’s leave from the intergovernmental organization. Then Prime Minister David Cameron (Conservative party) immediately resigned. Many expected Johnson to succeed Cameron, yet, his campaign for the leadership collapsed when he was unable to garner the needed support of his allies. Once Theresa May succeeded Cameron for the leadership, Johnson was appointed as Foreign Secretary.
May, however, struggled to properly form a plan for Brexit. By July 2018, both the Brexit secretary and Johnson had resigned. By June of the next year, May resigned. Boris Johnson won sufficient support from his party to be elected as the next leader. He was now the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
His Tenure As Prime Minister:
Two notable things are remembered from Johnson’s reign as PM. Brexit and COVID.
Johnson led the final parts of the Brexit negotiation and was able to successfully carry out the U.K.’s leave from the European Union. On December 24, 2019, Johnson reached an accord with the EU. In his address to the public on January 1st, 2020, Johnson claimed how that was “the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act in our great national drama.” Johnson had promised to “Get Brexit Done” if he were PM, and he did, although after several delays. Nevertheless, many Brits now regret ever leaving the EU. As of October 2021, approximately a year and 2/3 after the UK had left the EU, goods trade with the EU was 15.7% lower than it would have been had Britain remained a part of the EU. A sizable part of those who once supported leaving Brexit in efforts to regain Britain’s true sovereignty are now filled with remorse as their businesses fail to generate enough revenue.
Then, COVID hit as Boris was PM. At first, Johnson was relaxed about the threat, hesitating to impose restrictions on movement and businesses. Yet, he was later forced to change course in late March 2020, when he imposed a lockdown. Boris himself even came down with COVID, having to spend multiple nights in intensive care. His handling of the pandemic drew mixed reviews. Early on, he claimed that the pandemic would only last a handful of weeks. The U.K., nonetheless, went on to have one of the highest numbers of cases and deaths. As of July 2022, the U.K. reported 23 million cases and 181,000 deaths.
However, he did get one thing right about COVID. He invested in vaccine development and purchases early on and thus was able to give the bulk of the population the needed doses. Consequentially, his approval ratings improved — but, that didn’t last long. In essence, reports came out that showed that Boris Johnson and a number of other politicians had broken the COVID restrictions his government had imposed on the people by hosting a number of events. By this time, the people would not forgive him.
It all kept going downhill for Johnson. Recently, he claimed to be unaware of prior complaints regarding assault about a member of his government. His lie of “being unaware” was exposed. Then came a “no-confidence vote” he barely survived. And after more than 50 members of Parliament resigned from his government in less than 48 hours, Boris finally realized his reign as PM was over. There was nothing he could do, no matter how hard he tried; it was over.
Boris isn’t leaving office loved but hated. The majority of his own party does not support him as well. His influence on British politics is effectively gone. So what’s his future? Many believe that his future isn’t in Britain but in Ukraine. As PM, Boris spearheaded international movements to assist the nation. Nobody truly knows what Mr. Johnson’s future holds, but it may very well be far away from Britain.