The lies that paved the British Prime Minister’s rise and fall

Schooled at Eton and Oxford, Johnson had made a name for himself in the media, but when he was still in his thirties, he told friends he wanted more. It wouldn’t have come as a surprise to someone who had declared at the age of eight that he wanted to be ‘world king’.

“They don’t put up statues for journalists,” he once said.

After first electing a Member of Parliament in 2001, he continued to write and has been controversial again and again with his comments.

He defied conventional political wisdom, survived gaffes and was caught lying and even overcame his marital infidelity to become the remarkable and colorful British politician of his generation.

But if the Boris project, as his aspirations became known, had always seemed inevitable, it was also inevitable that it would end in tears.

Johnson, 58, announced on Thursday that he would step down as leader of the Conservative party. However, he can claim to be the most influential British politician of his generation. Many people will remember him in many ways, but ultimately as the man who took the UK out of the EU.

To many voters, he often seemed to be above politics. Especially outside of party politics. He was his own separate brand.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks about the corona virus during a media briefing.  His own staff did not adhere to the lockdown rules.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks about the corona virus during a media briefing. His own staff did not adhere to the lockdown rules.Credit:AP

In the 2019 Brexit referendum and elections, his celebrity and famous irreverence helped to aid the disaffected. His rallying cry “Take Back Control” and “Get Brexit Done” were effective in motivating those reluctant to vote. They helped pull Leave to win the vote 52 percent against Remain’s 48 percent. It also helped deliver seats in the “Red Wall” – a series of constituencies mainly in the Midlands, Northern England and North East Wales that had traditionally supported Labor but switched to Tory in 2019.

In that general election, Johnson presented himself as the only person who could deliver on the Brexit promise, while vowing to invest in backward areas of England.

After championing bankers during the financial crisis, he now denounced London’s preeminence. He built a new electoral coalition uniting rural parts of southern England with seats in former industrial towns, where working class loyalty to the Labor Party had been eroded.

It cemented his image as a “Heineken politician,” one who could reach parts of the country that other conservatives couldn’t.

He won with a majority of 80 seats, the Conservatives’ biggest majority since 1987. The victory was such that it looked like Johnson could enjoy a decade as prime minister.

But although he was previously considered a “sweet buffoon”, his critics argued that after approaching progressives in London as mayor, he had evolved into something of a British Trump. Someone who would stir up xenophobia and ugly racism and shift his party to a far-right populist group that polarized the country and threatened to break up the UK.

Of course he wasn’t Trump. Nowhere near. But he came close this week when he threatened to barricade himself at 10 Downing Street and ignore the massive layoffs that caused his downfall.

He once again distinguished himself from Trump on climate, where he became the most outspoken world leader in ambitious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps one day those on the progressive side of politics will recognize the shift and that he played a vital role in getting the world’s richest countries talking about decarbonization as an economic issue.

Boris Johnson was greeted with applause as he returned to number 10 after the 2019 election victory.

Boris Johnson was greeted with applause as he returned to number 10 after the 2019 election victory.Credit:AP

Boris Johnson was his own separate brand.

In October last year, Johnson’s father told Stanley: The Sydney Morning Herald and The age that his son’s critics often “turned down” him too quickly, underestimating his intellect and genuine interest in the environment, particularly around biodiversity and the spread of plastic.

When Britain finally left the EU on January 31, 2020, Johnson promised the start of a “new act in our great national drama”.

He praised the 2020s as a “decade of prosperity and opportunity” for post-Brexit Britain and said the UK could “turn the page on the divisions of the past three years”.

Within a month, COVID-19 struck, and he found himself contemplating health restrictions that went against his socially libertarian instincts. He was painfully slow in ordering national lockdowns, leading to the needless deaths of thousands.

Discharging patients without testing in accordance with government policy brought COVID-19 into retirement homes. But he won the public’s sympathy when he himself nearly died of the virus that year.

A rapid rollout of vaccines and billions of pounds in state aid strengthened its position.

But it’s how he behaved in private, not his policies, that made him undo.

“There is a pattern in Boris’s life, and it is not the lust for office, or applause, or sensitive women, that draws this pattern in red warning ink,” Matthew Parris, a former Tory MP and political columnist in front of The times even wrote before Hastings.

“It is the unforced dishonesty, the cruelty, the betrayal; and, under the betrayal, the emptiness of Real ambition: the ambition to do something useful with the office once that has been achieved.”

Things began to turn against Johnson in late 2020 when his chief assistant, Dominic Cummings, traveled hundreds of miles to Barnard Castle at a time when Britons were being ordered to stay at home.

Cummings was the architect of both of Johnson’s greatest achievements: Brexit and the 2019 election victory. And so the prime minister went against a howl of public loathing and stayed with his man.

At the time, Johnson said he was “sorry,” but only about the anger and confusion the public felt over his assistant’s 500-mile round trip. It came at a high political cost.

But Cummings, embroiled in a power struggle within No.10, soon resigned and spent his time out of politics attacking Johnson, whom he likens to a shopping cart — which smashed from one side of the aisle to the other because of his indecision.

Dominic Cummings' unauthorized drive through England during lockdown became a sore point for Johnson's already struggling government.

Dominic Cummings’ unauthorized drive through England during lockdown became a sore point for Johnson’s already struggling government.Credit:Getty

His government also teased fairness issues, with questions about who paid for his vacation to Mustique in the Caribbean in early 2020 and the expensive renovations of his Downing Street flat.

These stories bubbled up and faded, but never completely went away.

In November last year, he demanded that his party vote against the suspension of fellow Brexiter and former Secretary of State Owen Paterson, who had broken paid lobbying rules. It caused outrage and led to an embarrassing turn and apologies. And with each mishandling, more questions arose about his judgment.

Perhaps the hammer blows were the revelations of Downing Street parties during the pandemic. And it was Cummings who helped expose those breaches.


In December, Johnson approved an independent investigation into allegations that he and other officials held closing parties during periods when the public was under strict restrictions.

His hand was forced after a flood of newspaper reports sparked explosive public anger over what came to be known as partygate.

The investigation, led by officer Sue Gray, was temporarily thwarted when the Metropolitan Police launched its own investigation into the events and ordered Gray to redact its findings until officers completed their investigation.

On April 12, after months of speculation and the gathering of evidence against the Prime Minister, Johnson was fined £50 by police for attending his own birthday party in May 2020. He was the first British Prime Minister to rule the law while in office. had violated.

It came to a head last month with a no-confidence vote, which he narrowly survived, but two shocking midterm election losses followed.

For many Tory MPs, the final straw has been a changing official account of what the Prime Minister had known about inappropriate behavior by Tory MP Chris Pincher before appointing him minister.

These cases were not mentioned in Johnson’s resignation speech on Thursday night (AEST), but that did not come as a shock to his colleagues. Again, he suggested that he had done nothing wrong; he was instead the victim of “relentless sledding” and an “eccentric” decision by Tory MPs to get rid of him.

“He is clearly very angry,” a former minister told the… Financial times


“Because, of course, it’s never his fault.”

After three years in power, Johnson lost his party and his country.

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