British right-of-centre Conservative Party politician, mayor of London from 2008. Formerly a journalist, he became one of Britain's few politicians identifiable by first name only, through his appearances on popular television programmes, his wit and gaffes, and a distinctive hairstyle. Elected MP for the Henley constituency in 2001, he became vice-chair of the Conservative Party in November 2003, but was sacked a year later after press allegations that he may have lied to the party's leader, Michael Howard, about an extra-marital affair. The party's new leader, David Cameron, appointed him shadow higher education minister in November 2005 and backed his selection, in September 2007, as the party's candidate for London's mayor. He won the May 2008 election, narrowly defeating Ken Livingstone, and stepped down as an MP to focus on his role as mayor. He was re-elected in May 2012, again narrowly defeating Livingstone, and oversaw the 2012 London Olympics. With ambitions for the Conservative leadership, he returned to Parliament after the May 2015 general election as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, and stated he would stand down as London mayor in May 2016.
As London mayor, he launched some eye-catching initiatives, including introducing ‘Boris bikes’ (bicycles for hire) and banning alcohol consumption on London's public transport.
He was born in New York, where his parents were then based. His father worked with the World Bank and European Commission and became a member of the European Parliament, while his mother was a painter and his great-grandfather was a Turkish journalist and politician. He was educated at Eton College and Oxford University, where he studied classics and was president of the Oxford Union, before becoming a journalist. He was a feature writer for The Daily Telegraph and, from 1994, a political columnist for the Conservative-leaning The Spectator, where he was editor 1999–2005. He gained a wider profile through presenting historical documentaries on British television and appearances on the news quiz, Have I Got News for You.