Boris Johnson: The Cat With Nine Lives, But Until When?

LONDON | “Some say you’re a cat with nine lives. How many do you have left?” a journalist recently asked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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Wednesday’s publication of the report on illegal parties in Downing Street raises the question.

At the end of 2019, Boris Johnson was the charismatic hero of Brexit after offering his party a historic victory in the parliamentary elections.

Two and a half years later, he is weakened and contentious, including in his party, as the British have lost confidence in him after the ‘party gate’ scandal and belt-tightened, faced with a historic decline in their purchasing power.


Eight in ten Britons believe they lied about partying in Downing Street during the lockdowns. His approval rating has fallen from 66% in favor in April 2020 to 26%, according to the latest YouGov barometer and 60% of Brits think he should stop.

A police investigation found that he had broken the law, which was unheard of for a sitting prime minister, and fined him.

Boris Johnson apologized profusely, multiplying questionable statements.

But at 57, this political outfielder with phenomenal poise has seen others. Lying has never been a problem for him.

Messy straw hair, communicative energy, he recently said he was “absolutely” convinced that he would still be prime minister six months from now.


The war in Ukraine, where he expressed his early support for President Volodymyr Zelensky, has temporarily repelled the desire for a vote of no confidence fueled by certain elected conservatives.

But on all domestic issues, inflation, immigration, taxes, housing, economy, health, transport, Brexit, education, crime, environment… a majority of Britons think their government is doing poorly, according to a recent YouGov poll. This percentage reaches 74% before inflation, now at 9%, a 40-year record.

Lack of seriousness

It would take more to reach Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, born in New York on June 19, 1964, who, according to his sister, wanted to become “the king of the world”.

After spending two years as a child in Brussels, where his father was a European civil servant, he followed the marked trail of the British elite, Eton College and then the University of Oxford. Some teachers already denounce a lack of seriousness and a tendency to believe themselves above the rules.


In 1987 he was a trainee journalist at the Time through family relationships. He was soon fired for a made-up offer. the Daily Telegram fishes him out and sends him to Brussels, where he ridicules the European institutions with indignation and approaches.

Back in London he became a political columnist for the Telegram and the spectatoralso writes car reviews for the magazine QG† He is funny, erudite, powerful. But collects £4,000 in parking fines with the cars he tests. Very often the cars delivered to him don’t move either, said the former editor of QG Dylan Jones.


He entered parliament in 2001 and was quickly fired from the opposition ‘ghost cabinet’ for lying about an affair.

He then took over as mayor of London from Labour, then pro-European and pro-immigration, in 2008.

He stayed there for eight years, built up an international allure, helped by the Olympic Games.


He went on to become one of the key figures in the Brexit campaign, then head of diplomacy under Theresa May, replacing her as prime minister in July 2019.

“He is a brilliant performer, but unfit for national office because he seems to care only about his fate and his personal satisfaction,” his former boss Max Hastings told the Telegraph of him.

“Boris Johnson is like a rat. He mumbles gently until he’s trapped. Then he will chew bones, kill everyone, do anything to free himself,” a relative said recently in the… Time

His private life does justice to the character. Married three times, in 1987, 1993 and 2020, he has at least seven children, including the youngest two born from his 2020 marriage to Carrie Symonds, 34, a former Conservative Party communications officer.


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