Purnell recognised that during the 2008 mayoral election he was "polarising opinions to the extreme", with critics viewing him as "variously evil, a clown, a racist and a bigot". Writing in The Guardian, journalist Polly Toynbee referred to him as a "jester, toff, self-absorbed sociopath and serial liar", while Labour politician Hazel Blears called him "a nasty right-wing elitist, with odious views and criminal friends". He has also been accused of sexism, after referring to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as "a big girl's blouse" and former prime minister David Cameron as a "girly swot". Cameron has said of Johnson: "The thing about the greased piglet is that he manages to slip through other people's hands where mere mortals fail." In 2019, The Irish Times described him as "a deeply polarising figure, cherished by many older Conservatives but viewed by others as a serial liar and an amoral opportunist who sold Brexit to the British people on the basis of false promises."
Johnson appointed his Cabinet on 24 July 2019, describing it as a "Cabinet for modern Britain", with The Guardian branding it "an ethnically diverse but ideologically homogeneous statement of intent". While forming his government, Johnson dismissed 11 senior ministers and accepted the resignation of six others, a purge described by Johnson's ally Nigel Evans as "not so much a reshuffle as a summer's day massacre". The mass dismissal was the most extensive Cabinet reorganisation without a change in ruling party in postwar British political history, exceeding the seven Cabinet ministers dismissed in the "Night of the Long Knives" of 1962, and was dubbed the "Night of the Blond Knives" by The Sun.More Info
In 1987, Johnson married Allegra Mostyn-Owen, daughter of the art historian William Mostyn-Owen and Italian writer Gaia Servadio. The couple's marriage was annulled in 1993 and 12 days later Johnson married Marina Wheeler, a barrister, daughter of journalist and broadcaster Charles Wheeler and his wife, Dip Singh. Five weeks later, Wheeler and Johnson's first child was born. The Wheeler and Johnson families have known each other for decades, and Marina Wheeler was at the European School, Brussels, at the same time as her future husband. They have four children: two daughters and two sons.More Info
Having been born in New York City to British parents, Johnson at first held British-American dual citizenship. In 2014, he acknowledged he was disputing a demand for capital gains tax from the US tax authorities on a property that he inherited in the United Kingdom, which ultimately he paid. In February 2015, he announced his intention to renounce his US citizenship to demonstrate his loyalty to the UK, which he did in 2016. Johnson has a knowledge of French, Italian, German, Spanish, Latin, and Ancient Greek, frequently employing and alluding to classical references in both his newspaper columns and his speeches. His favourite movie is The Godfather, due to "the multiple retribution killings at the end".More Info
Purnell believed that it was the influence of Johnson's maternal family, the left-wing Fawcetts, that led to him developing "a genuine abhorrence of racial discrimination". Johnson praised the former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, saying that "Churchill saved this country and the whole of Europe from a barbaric fascist and racist tyranny and our debt to him is incalculable." He added that Churchill had "an extraordinary record as a social reformer who cared deeply for working people and their lives." In 2003, Johnson said of the EU, "I am not by any means an ultra-Eurosceptic. In some ways, I am a bit of a fan of the European Union. If we did not have one, we would invent something like it." As Mayor of London, Johnson was known as a supporter of immigration. From 2009 onward, he advocated a referendum on Britain's EU membership.More Info
On 19 July, Reuters reported that Johnson, as well as his political allies, had been actively supported by the former Russian oil tycoon Alexander Temerko, who became a major donor to the Conservative Party after he fled Russia in 2004 to evade criminal charges. Temerko said he was on friendly first-name terms with Johnson. Temerko reportedly had close ties to the Russian government but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Temerko "has no connection to the Kremlin or the Russian authorities".More Info
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