Following William Hague's resignation as Conservative leader, Johnson backed Kenneth Clarke, regarding Clarke as the only candidate capable of winning a general election. Iain Duncan Smith was elected. Johnson had a strained relationship with Duncan Smith, and The Spectator became critical of the latter's party leadership. Duncan Smith was removed from his position in November 2003 and replaced by Michael Howard; Howard deemed Johnson to be the most popular Conservative politician with the electorate and appointed him vice-chairman of the party, responsible for overseeing its electoral campaign. In his Shadow Cabinet reshuffle of May 2004, Howard appointed Johnson to the position of shadow arts minister. In October, Howard ordered Johnson to publicly apologise in Liverpool for publishing a Spectator article – anonymously written by Simon Heffer – which said that the crowds at the Hillsborough disaster had contributed towards the incident and that Liverpudlians had a predilection for reliance on the welfare state.
Johnson secured employment on the leader-writing desk of The Daily Telegraph, having met its editor, Max Hastings, during his Oxford University Union presidency. His articles appealed to the newspaper's conservative, middle-class, middle-aged "Middle England" readership, and were known for their distinctive literary style, replete with old-fashioned words and phrases and for regularly referring to the readership as "my friends". In early 1989, Johnson was appointed to the newspaper's Brussels bureau to report on the European Commission, remaining in the post until 1994. A strong critic of the integrationist Commission President Jacques Delors, he established himself as one of the city's few Eurosceptic journalists. Many of his fellow journalists there were critical of his articles, opining that they often contained lies designed to discredit the Commission. The Europhile Tory politician Chris Patten later stated that, at that time, Johnson was "one of the greatest exponents of fake journalism".More Info
In July 1999, Conrad Black offered Johnson the editorship of The Spectator on the condition he abandoned his parliamentary aspirations; Johnson agreed. While retaining The Spectator's traditional right-wing bent, Johnson welcomed contributions from leftist writers and cartoonists. Under Johnson's editorship, the magazine's circulation grew by 10% to 62,000 and it began to turn a profit. His editorship also drew criticism; some opined that under him The Spectator avoided serious issues, while colleagues became annoyed that he was regularly absent from the office, meetings, and events. He gained a reputation as a poor political pundit as a result of incorrect political predictions made in the magazine, and was strongly criticised – including by his father-in-law Charles Wheeler – for allowing Spectator columnist Taki Theodoracopulos to publish racist and antisemitic language in the magazine.More Info
Johnson was born on 19 June 1964 in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City, to 23-year-old Stanley Johnson, an Englishman, then studying economics at Columbia University, and his 22-year-old wife of one year Charlotte Fawcett, an Oxford-born artist from a family of liberal intellectuals, and a daughter of Sir James Fawcett, a barrister. Boris's parents had married in 1963 before moving to the US, where they lived opposite the Chelsea Hotel. In September 1964, they returned to England, so that Charlotte could study at the University of Oxford; during this time, she lived with her son in Summertown, a suburb of Oxford, and in 1965 she gave birth to a daughter, Rachel. In July 1965, the family moved to Crouch End in north London, and in February 1966 they relocated to Washington, D.C., where Stanley had gained employment with the World Bank. A third child, Leo, was born in September 1967. Stanley then gained employment with a policy panel on population control, and in June moved the family to Norwalk, Connecticut.More Info
Johnson biographer Andrew Gimson believed that these articles made Johnson "one of [Euroscepticism's] most famous exponents". According to later biographer Sonia Purnell – who was Johnson's Brussels deputy – he helped make Euroscepticism "an attractive and emotionally resonant cause for the Right", whereas previously it had been associated with the British Left. Johnson's articles established him as the favourite journalist of the Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, but her successor, the Europhile John Major, was annoyed by Johnson and spent much time attempting to refute what he said. Johnson's articles exacerbated tensions between the Conservative Party's Eurosceptic and Europhile factions, tensions which were widely viewed as contributing to the party's defeat in the 1997 general election. As a result, Johnson earned the mistrust of many party members. His writings were also a key influence on the emergence of the EU-opposing UK Independence Party (UKIP) in the early 1990s. The proprietor of the Telegraph at the time, Conrad Black, said Johnson "was such an effective correspondent for us in Brussels that he greatly influenced British opinion on this country’s relations with Europe."More Info
Johnson was popular and well known at Oxford. Alongside Guppy, he co-edited the university's satirical magazine Tributary. In 1984, Johnson was elected secretary of the Oxford Union, and campaigned unsuccessfully for the career-enhancing and important position of Union President. In 1986, Johnson ran successfully for president, but his term was not particularly distinguished or memorable and questions were raised regarding his competence and seriousness. Finally, Johnson was awarded an upper second-class degree, and was deeply unhappy that he did not receive a first.More Info
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