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Who is Boris Johnson, not a comedian but the UK’s foreign secretary

Th UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May chose Boris Johnson as the country’s foreign secretary. Why was the world so surprised by this decision?

In a political plot twist worthy of Game of Thrones, former London Mayor Boris Johnson is in the spotlight again with his unexpected appointment as the UK’s foreign secretary. The country’s new Prime Minister Theresa May, who succeeded David Cameron when he resigned on the 13th of July, selected him to occupy this key position.

The world reacts to the new foreign secretary

The reactions of media and policy-makers globally were of more or less subtle mockery and incredulity.

 

Well-educated, witty and with an international background, Johnson has been in politics for the past fifteen years. However, diplomacy hasn’t been his strength. He’s probably the most controversial, colourful and unpredictable figure in British politics, famous for his gaffes and politically-incorrect jokes.

Who is Boris Johnson: classicist, journalist, politician

Born in the US city of New York in 1964, he studied Classics at Oxford University. Active in journalism and politics, there he joined the infamous Bullingdon Club, a drinking society known for local vandalism. He started his career as a journalist long before entering the political arena in 2001, when he became a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Conservative Party. He was Mayor of London from 2008 to 2016, when he was succeeded by Labour Party candidate Sadiq KhanThroughout his political career, Johnson has been an active public figure with numerous television appearances, a busy journalist with regular columns in The Spectator, GQ and The Daily Telegraph, as well as a book author.

A man of controversy: views and insults

With his jokes and comments, Johnson has offended many in the UK and beyond. Not long ago he had a go at Barack Obama for coming out against Brexit. He mocked the US president for his decision to remove a bust of historic British statesman Winston Churchill from the Oval Office: “Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British Empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender”.

Despite having always been a supporter of Hillary Clinton, in 2007 he called her a “sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”. Among the most liberal of Conservatives, though he has always been actively in favour of LGBT rights, he hasn’t spared us homophobic comments either. Recently he also offended Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, taking part in a poetry competition for The Spectator (that didn’t go down well in Ankara), which he won with the poem:

There was a young fellow from Ankara

Who was a terrific w*nkerer

Till he sowed his wild oats

With the help of a goat

But he didn’t even stop to thankera

Whilst he justifies this attitude as satire, he might have to spend most of his time in his new international role apologising to people.

The unexpected Brexiteer

Perhaps one of  his most surprising moves, Johnson decided to campaign in favour of Brexit. For many this was a move aimed at positioning himself to become the next Prime Minister. But when, after Cameron’s resignation, he advanced his candidacy, former justice secretary Michael Gove, who was expected to back the former London mayor, announced he would run himself, prompting Johnson to withdraw.

Following this (brief) fall from grace, Johnson is back as one of UK’s top political figures. We eagerly await his next moves as he aims to “reshape Britain’s profile as a world global player” and works alongside the new Cabinet in the Brexit negotiations yet-to-come.

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