Boris Johnson has been Mayor of London since May 2008, when he received the largest personal mandate in British political history. He was re-elected in May 2012 to serve a second four year term, and in May 2015 he was elected as the Conservative Member of Parliament for the West London constituency of Uxbridge & South Ruislip.
Mr. Johnson will step down as Mayor in May 2016 when his second term expires. He attends Prime Minister David Cameron’s political cabinet, but as Mayor he isn’t a minister and doesn’t attend full cabinet.
Born in New York in 1964, he describes himself as a 'one man melting-pot', with French, Turkish, Russian and German ancestry. Boris went to school in Camden, Brussels, and Sussex before attending Eton College in Berkshire, where he went on a scholarship. He read Classics at Balliol College, Oxford as a Brackenbury scholar, and served as President of the Oxford Union.
Upon graduation he lasted a week as a management consultant before becoming a trainee reporter for The Times. After a short spell as a writer for the Wolverhampton Express and Star, he joined The Daily Telegraph in 1987 as leader and feature writer.
From 1989 to 1994 he was the Telegraph's European Community correspondent and from 1994 to 1999 he served as assistant editor. His association with The Spectator magazine began as political columnist in 1994. In 1999 he became editor of the Spectator, a post he held for six years before stepping down in December 2005. He has won several awards for journalism, both as editor and columnist. He still writes a weekly column for the Telegraph.
Besides his work as a journalist, Boris has published several books, including 'Friends, Voters and Countrymen', an autobiographical account of his experience of the 2001 election campaign, 'Johnson’s Life of London', a celebration of some of the people who gave London its vibrancy and character, and in 2014 ‘The Churchill Factor’, a critically acclaimed best-seller that re-assessed Churchill’s character and the difference that character made to events that still shape our world today.
In 2001 Boris was elected as the Conservative MP for Henley on Thames, and held shadow government posts as Vice Chairman, Shadow Minister for the Arts and Shadow Minister of Higher Education, before being elected Mayor in 2008. He stepped down as MP for Henley shortly after.
Boris made policing and crime his first term priority and under his tenure crime in London has fallen 18%. The capital has seen record investment in transport, including the delivery of Crossrail, the modernisation of the Jubilee, Victoria and Northern lines and the introduction of new air-conditioned trains now serving the Metropolitan, District, Hammersmith & City and Circle lines. Tube delays are down 43%.
Shortly after his re-election in 2012 London staged what are widely acknowledged to be the most successful Olympic and Paralympic Games ever. All eight venues on the Olympic Park now have a long term private sector future, something that’s never been achieved by any other host city, and the Mayor has championed an unparalleled legacy on the Olympic park, with well advanced plans for ‘Olympicopolis’, a cultural and scientific centre of excellence in East London with UCL, the V&A and America’s Smithsonian group of museums at its core.
Boris introduced a new 'Routemaster' bus, the cleanest and greenest diesel hybrid in the world and a hugely popular cycle hire scheme. He is spending £913m on making cycling safer and more appealing in the city, and in 2015 construction began on two new fully segregated cycle routes running north/south and east/west across London, that will form the longest continuous segregated urban cycle route in the world.
Boris made jobs and growth his key focus during his second term, prioritising house building, investment in road and rail infrastructure, and support for financial services and the tech sector, as well as championing low and stable tax rates and the construction of a new multi runway hub airport to the east of London. By 2015 London accounted for a record 25% of UK GDP.
Under Boris’s Mayoralty more than 90,000 affordable homes have been built so far by City Hall alone, with more completed last year than any year since 1981. Overall the Mayor has set London it’s highest housebuilding target ever - half a million homes over the next 10 years - the majority on 38 Opportunity Area brownfield sites across the capital, including hundreds of acres of surplus public land released by the Mayor. His ‘First-Steps’ housing programme has given tens of thousands of Londoners the chance to put a foot on the housing ladder through shared ownership, but the Mayor acknowledges much more work lies ahead to improve conditions for renters and deliver enough affordable homes for a rapidly growing population.
As well as being a passionate cyclist, Boris enjoys painting, and playing tennis. He and his wife Marina have four children and live in north London.