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12 June 2019updated 06 Sep 2021 12:57pm

The Johnson audit: the record and misdeeds of our new prime minister

NS writers and contributors scrutinise the new Conservative leader: his record in office, his past gaffes and insults, and what he would do with power. 

By New Statesman


Why the Conservatives deserve to face extinction if they make Boris Johnson prime minister

Martin Fletcher, a New Statesman contributing writer and a former foreign editor of the Times, on why “installing such a charlatan as prime minister” would forfeit any right the Conservatives have to be taken seriously. 

Johnson’s record in office and his character

Boris Johnson’s record of chaos shows why we should fear him as prime minister

Sonia Purnell, the author of Just Boris: a Tale of Blond Ambition, on why Johnson’s “active pursuit of chaos” could have deadly consequences if he reaches Downing Street. 

Johnson and Conservative MPs

In supporting Boris Johnson, desperate MPs know they are backing an idle, lying charlatan

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Simon Heffer, a Daily and Sunday Telegraph columnist, on why Conservative MPs are prepared to believe that Johnson can dupe the public as effectively as he has duped them. 

Johnson as foreign secretary 

The joke’s over – how Boris Johnson is damaging Britain’s global stature

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Martin Fletcher’s long profile from 2017 on how Johnson continually undermined Britain’s interests by “going around the world giving needless offence”. 

Johnson as London mayor 

Boris Johnson’s mayoralty was average at best — he’d struggle on the national stage​

Dave Hill explains why Johnson’s London mayoral record is nothing to boast about and why he’d find national leadership far harder. 

Johnson as comedian 

How Boris Johnson became Britain’s most successful stand-up comedian

Have I Got News For You writer Dave Cohen on how he saw Johnson learn to joke his way out of trouble. 

Johnson as journalist 

Boris Johnson was a terrible journalist, but he’s the politician the media deserves 

Jasper Jackson, the New Statesman’s digital editor, evaluates Johnson’s “ignominious career” as a journalist and how he has thrived in spite of this. 

Johnson and the Muslim community 

“We should be fearful”: Muslim women on the prospect of Boris Johnson as prime minister

Anoosh Chakelian, the New Statesman’s senior writer, speaks to Muslim women about the surge in hate crime they have endured since Johnson compared them to “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”. 

Johnson and Northern Ireland

How would Boris Johnson solve the Irish border problem?

Patrick Maguire, the New Statesman’s political correspondent, writes that Johnson’s lack of firm principle suggests an accommodation with the EU could be more likely than it looks.

Johnson’s insults and gaffes

Boris Johnson’s racist insults, dog whistles and slurs

We collate 18 of Johnson’s most egregious and distasteful remarks. 

Johnson and accountability 

It should terrify us that it’s impossible to hold Boris Johnson to account

So prevalent are the lies and the embarrassments and the screw-ups that, somehow, nothing seems to stick, writes New Statesman assistant editor Jonn Elledge. 

Johnson’s economics 

Boris Johnson is not a One Nation Conservative but an ardent Thatcherite

Grace Blakeley on why Johnson’s own words show that he would further enrich and empower the wealthy as prime minister. 

Johnson and the Johnsonites — his closest political allies 

Who are the Johnsonites? The loyal band behind the Conservative frontrunner

Patrick Maguire on the Tory allies who have sustained Johnson through his travails — and his politically fragile electoral coalition. 

Johnson and his grassroots supporters 

Boris Johnson supporters want a no-deal Brexit and less talk of climate change

Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, analyses new polling showing that Conservative members who support Johnson are even more ideologically unrepresentative than others. 

Johnson’s ambition

Review: Just Boris: the Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity

In a 2011 review of Sonia Purnell’s biography, former New Statesman political editor Rafael Behr presciently noted of Johnson: “He thinks he is destined for greatness and no doubt imagines himself equal to the biggest job in politics.”

Johnson and unelected prime ministers 

“Without a mandate from the British people”: how Boris Johnson described Gordon Brown in 2007

Johnson has pledged not to seek an early general election if elected Conservative leader. But in 2007 he demanded that new prime minister Gordon Brown immediately hold one.