Boris Johnson is celebrating an historic victory tonight as the Conservatives stomp to victory and he gets set to stay in office for years.
The Prime Minister’s gamble on a snap election looks set to have paid off with the Tories likely to win a sizeable majority, according to an exit poll tonight.
But it didn’t always look that way – Boris has always been Britain’s flawed ‘Marmite man’ – a philandering MP with a volatile personal life who embarked on extra-marital flings and allegedly got at least two of his mistresses pregnant.
He enjoyed a gilded path to Number 10 but in the process drew attention to his messy private life; two ex-wives, a love-child and a relationship with a woman 24 years younger.
Mr Johnson’s tangled love life even saw him locked out of his own home in front of television cameras.
Just 12 days after finalising his divorce from his first wife, Allegra Mostyn-Owen, he married his second wife, barrister Marina Wheeler in 1993.
But in 2018 they announced that they, too, were divorcing after Marina learned of her husband’s tendresse for Carrie Symonds.
And who can forget him comparing Muslim women in veils to ‘letter-boxes’ and ‘bank robbers.’
But now it seems any skeletons emerging from his capacious closet have failed to deter the voters and simply amuse, rather than frighten or shock.
Tonight Mr Johnson celebrates his rise from journalist at the Daily Telegraph to Number 10, via appearances on Have I Got News For You and a stint as Mayor of London.
The Telegraph journalist and editor of the New Statesman; Johnson pictured in 2000
Mayor: Johnson, then Mayor of London and MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip at Downing Street on May 11, 2015 – some four years later it would become his home
Boris Johnson and then-wife Marina at the The Ark Charity Gala in 2009
Johnson with girlfriend Carrie Symonds following his keynote speech on day four of the Conservative Party Conference at Manchester Central on October 2, 2019
Max Hastings, Johnson’s editor in his days as a young reporter at the Daily Telegraph, calls him a ‘foot-in-the-mouth artist; serial bonker and manic self-publicist’.
When his affair with Carrie Symonds came to light last September, he and his long-suffering wife Marina Wheeler filed for divorce. Their daughter Lara Johnson, 26, who is only five years younger than Miss Symonds, reportedly branded her father a ‘selfish b******’.
Mr Johnson – who once dismissed reports of his cheating as ‘an inverted pyramid of piffle’ – married Oxford University sweetheart Allegra Mostyn-Owen in 1987, but they divorced in 1993 after he cheated on her with Marina.
In 2004, his four-year affair with journalist and society author Petronella Wyatt, the daughter of Labour grandee Lord Wyatt, became public.
She later told how she had an abortion and suffered a miscarriage.
Mr Johnson was sacked from his role as shadow arts minister by then-Tory leader Michael Howard for lying about the relationship. Mr Howard’s spokesman said at the time the issue was one of ‘personal morality’.
Two years later, the News of the World reported an affair with journalist Anna Fazackerley, saying Mr Johnson had been seen leaving her London flat.
At the time Miss Wheeler threw her husband out of their home, but the couple later patched things up.
The following year he fathered a child with art consultant Helen Macintyre.
It is understood Miss Wheeler again kicked him out of the family home.
In 2016, Miss Wyatt said: ‘He is inordinately proud of his Turkish ancestry and his views on matters such as monogamy are decidedly Eastern. ‘I find it genuinely unreasonable that men should be confined to one woman,’ he has grumbled to me, and cannot understand the media’s reaction to his personal affairs.’
City lawyer Miss Wheeler, 54, a Cambridge-educated QC and the daughter of veteran BBC correspondent Sir Charles Wheeler, put up with her husband’s infidelity for years.
But last September was the final straw for the mother of the MP’s four older children – Lara, Milo Arthur, 23, Cassia Peaches, 21, and Theodore Apollo, 19.
Since then, Miss Symonds and her boyfriend have kept a low profile, and been photographed together on only a handful of occasions.
Tonight however, it seems the vast majority of Conservative supporters do not give a fig about Johnson’s love life or misdemeanors.
Like when he was sacked as a Tory frontbencher in 2004 for allegedly lying over an affair with writer Petronella Wyatt.
A Tory spokesman said at the time: ‘It was nothing to do with personal morality but rather with his personal integrity and honesty.’
Mr Johnson dismissed the allegations as ‘an inverted pyramid of piffle’.
In June, neighbours witnessed a blazing row between Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds which resulted in police being called to the couple’s home in the early hours.
Downstairs neighbours called police to Carrie Symonds’ south London flat in a converted Victorian house over the loud row between the pair.
A recording of the row reveals Mr Johnson, 55, who lives at his partner’s flat, shouted at Miss Symonds to ‘get off my f***ing laptop’ before a loud crashing noise was heard.
In May this year, a Survation opinion poll for the Daily Mail showed that some 83 per cent of Tories did not think his two broken marriages made him unfit to be prime minister. Only 12 per cent of Tories said they did disqualify him.
Labour voters were similarly forgiving: 71 per cent said his marital record did not disbar him from No 10.
Johnson with his ex-wife Marina Wheeler and daughter Lara Johnson as she votes for the first time in May 2012
The BBC/Sky/ITV poll suggested the Conservative would win 368 seats, 42 above the 326 needed for an absolute majority in the House of Commons.
Labour is predicted to win 191 seats, the Scottish National Party 55, Liberal Democrats 13, the Brexit Party none, Plaid Cymru three and Greens one.
This would give the Tories a majority of 86.
If borne out by the actual results, the Prime Minister will return to Number 10 on Friday with a considerable majority which will, in theory, enable him to drive through his Brexit deal and take the UK out of the European Union next month.
It would represent the largest majority for a Conservative leader since Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
The result will be seen as a triumph for his tightly-controlled election campaign, which was largely gaffe-free until the final week.
It will, however, be a significant set-back for the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who will have twice led his party to defeat at the polls.
Mr Johnson entered the election without a majority – having just 298 Tory MPs – after some quit the party and he withdrew the whip from others when they rebelled over Brexit.
Labour, who had 243 MPs when Parliament was dissolved last month, is forecast to have lost 52 seats.
Amid reports of ‘mega’ turnout and unprecedented levels of tactical voting by Remainers, Tories had become increasingly nervous that victory could somehow slip from their grasp, despite a slew of polls during the campaign having given them a double-digit advantage.
But the fears seem to be unfounded, as the party’s mantra of ‘get Brexit done’ swung previously staunch Labour supporters.
The pound immediately jumped 3 per cent against the US dollar on the news, as markets breathed a sigh of relief at the prospect of clarity on Brexit and no anti-business Labour government.
Mr Johnson was fighting for votes to the last minute tonight, tweeting to urge supporters to cast their ballots as he campaigned in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat.