instagram envelope_alt facebook twitter search youtube_play whatsapp remove external_link loop2 arrow-down2

Would-be world king BoJo’s past… a litany of gaffes, laughs and scandal

Fishy tactic: Mr Johnson waves a kipper at a hustings last week PICTURE: EPA

A COLOURFUL, chaotic and controversial figure — Boris Johnson believes he is the man to recapture the UK’s ‘mojo’ through an optimistic attitude and a ‘do or die’ commitment to Brexit.

He has got to No.10 despite a litany of gaffes and scandals that would have ended another politician’s career, but Mr Johnson has been able to survive and prosper despite — or possibly due to — his capacity for causing uproar.

The former foreign secretary has been criticised for using racially-charged or offensive language, including describing the Queen being greeted in Commonwealth countries by ‘flag-waving piccaninnies’ and then-prime minister Tony Blair being met by ‘tribal warriors’ with ‘watermelon smiles’ in the Congo.

Childhood snap: A young Boris (centre back) with his family, including his sister Rachel (right)

Last year, in a Daily Telegraph column, he described veiled Muslim women as ‘looking like letter boxes’.

During the leadership race, he said: ‘Insofar as my words have given offence over the last 20 or 30 years when I have been a journalist and people have taken those words out of my articles and escalated them, of course I am sorry for the offence they have caused.’

Gaffes: Boris stuck on a zipwire in London; below: charging over a boy during a rugby game in Japan and falling into a river he was helping clean in 2009 PICTURES: ISABEL INFANTES/REUTERS/PA

He acknowledged that ‘occasionally some plaster comes off the ceiling as a result of a phrase I may have used’ but insisted politicians should be able to speak frankly.

Never one to shy away from a photo opportunity, he has often found himself the butt of humour, from getting stuck on a zip wire while promoting the 2012 London Olympic Games, to knocking a ten-year-old boy flying during a game of rugby on a trip to Japan in 2015.

Most recently he waved a kipper around during a hustings event.

Although he has been willing to attract publicity for his political advantage, Mr Johnson, 55, has been reticent when it comes to his private life.

He met his first wife, Allegra Mostyn-Owen, while they were students at Oxford. They wed in 1987 but divorced in 1993 — days before he married his heavily pregnant lover, Marina Wheeler. His turbulent second marriage ended last year after 25 years, during which he and Marina had four children.

Tangled love life: (from top) Boris with Allegra Mostyn-Owen; below, Marina Wheeler and Petronella Wyatt PICTURES: GETTY/REX

In 2004 he was sacked from the Tory front bench over a reported affair with journalist Petronella Wyatt. The Appeal Court ruled in 2013 the public had a right to know he had fathered a daughter during an affair while mayor of London in 2009.

Mr Johnson’s latest relationship with Carrie Symonds, 31, has been the subject of intense speculation about what her role would be when he was in Downing Street.

Questions about his character were raised during the leadership race, with one Tory member asking him if a good prime minister needed to be ‘a loyal husband and father’. Mr Johnson said: ‘I have been asked all sorts of questions in the last 20 or 30 years, and I just don’t comment on that stuff.’

An old Etonian, Mr Johnson — like former Tory PM David Cameron — was a member of the notorious dining society the Bullingdon Club while at Oxford University.

Although he has now reached No.10, as a child he held even loftier ambitions. According to his sister Rachel, the young Boris’s goal was to be ‘world king’.