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Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (born 19 June 1964), known as Boris Johnson, is a British politician, popular historian, author, and journalist. He has been Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs since July 2016 and has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Uxbridge and South Ruislip since 2015. He had previously served as MP for Henley from 2001 until 2008 and as Mayor of London from 2008 until 2016. A member of the Conservative Party, Johnson identifies as a One-Nation Conservative and has been associated with both economically liberal and socially liberal policies.
Born in New York City to wealthy upper-middle class English parents, Johnson was educated at the European School of Brussels, Ashdown House School, and Eton College. He studied Classics at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was elected president of the Oxford Union in 1986. Beginning his career in journalism at The Times, he later became The Daily Telegraph's Brussels correspondent, with his articles exerting a strong influence on growing Eurosceptic sentiment among the British right-wing. He was assistant editor from 1994 to 1999 before taking the editorship of The Spectator from 1999 to 2005. Joining the Conservatives, he was elected MP for Henley in 2001, and under Conservative leaders Michael Howard and David Cameron he served in the Shadow Cabinet. Mostly adhering to the Conservative party line, he nevertheless adopted a more socially liberal stance on issues like LGBT rights in parliamentary votes. Making regular television appearances, writing books, and remaining active in journalism, Johnson became one of the most conspicuous politicians in Britain.
Selected as Conservative candidate for the London mayoral election of 2008, Johnson defeated Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone and resigned his seat in parliament. During his first term as mayor, he banned alcohol consumption on public transport, championed London's financial sector, and introduced the New Routemaster buses, cycle hire scheme, and Thames cable-car. In 2012, he was re-elected mayor, again defeating Livingstone; during his second term he oversaw the 2012 Summer Olympics. In 2015 he was elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, stepping down as mayor the following year. In 2016, Johnson became a prominent figure in the successful Vote Leave campaign to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Union.
Johnson is a controversial figure in British politics and journalism. Supporters have praised him as an entertaining, humorous, and popular figure with appeal beyond traditional Conservative voters. Conversely, he has been criticised by figures on both the left and right, accused of elitism and cronyism, laziness and dishonesty, and using xenophobic, racist language. Johnson is the subject of several biographies and a number of fictionalised portrayals.