This morning Boris Johnson is taking a well-deserved victory lap, having crossed the finish line victorious in the most dramatic general election victory for a generation.
The wildest dreams of CCHQ’s most lateral thinkers did not foresee a majority of close to 80 seats and a Labour Party handed a defeat so crushing its leader resigned before dawn.
But even as he pauses the newly re-elected Prime Minister will be drawing breath for the five year marathon ahead of him – and the road is beset with obstacles of his own making.
Which of Boris’s countless personal problems may prove a stumbling block to his premiership?
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
The alleged lover
Mr Johnson is facing two separate inquiries over his relationship with American former pole dancer and tech entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri, 34, while he was Mayor of London.
Investigations have been launched by City Hall and by police watchdog the IOPC over the PM’s links with the businesswoman, who was handed £126,000 of public money.
She was allowed to join him on overseas trade missions in 2014 and 2015 and one of her businesses received £11,500 in sponsorship from a mayoral organisation and a £15,000 government grant for foreign entrepreneurs in Britain.
A further £100,000 grant was awarded to Ms Arcuri’s company by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in January. A government review said the funding was ‘appropriate’.
In October Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said there was ‘no impropriety in the awarding of the grant’.
Mr Johnson is accused of not declaring a personal interest while Mayor despite the pair having a friendship – he was a regular late night visitor to her London flat, according to Ms Arcuri.
Boris Johnson and Jennifer Arcuri pictured together on October 14, 2014. The PM faces intense scrutiny about their relationship
The life and times of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson
1964: Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was born in New York and moved house 32 times by the age of 14
1977: Attended Eton where teachers said he had a ‘disgracefully cavalier attitude’
1983: Went to Oxford after winning a scholarship to study classics, and joined the infamous Bullingdon Club
1987: Graduated with a 2:1 and was taken on as a graduate trainee at the Times – before being quickly sacked
1989: Secured a job at the Daily Telegraph after inviting editor Max Hastings to speak at the Oxford Union and was promoted to Brussels correspondent aged 25
1994: Made Telegraph’s assistant editor and chief political columnist and given a column in the Spectator
1998: Appeared on Have I Got News for You and made the audience laugh while discussing Guppy tape
1999: Made editor of The Spectator and stayed on for four years
2001: Became MP for Henley until 2008
2008: Served as Mayor of London until 2016
2016: Foreign Secretary until 2018
2019: In May he was appointed leader of the Conservative Party
He has denied any wrongdoing and says there was ‘no interest to declare’ and that everything was done ‘entirely in the proper way’.
Ms Arcuri has refused to say whether she was in an intimate relationship with Mr Johnson. She said he was just ‘a really good friend’ and ‘categorically’ had ‘nothing to do with my other achievements’.
As a scandal about both sex and money this has the potential to be explosive.
Ms Arcuri has thus far kept her counsel and – as she said in a recent television interview – has ‘kept his secrets’.
But she has also spoken of her hurt at being ‘cast aside like a Gremlin’ by Mr Johnson.
If the scorned but savvy self-publicist were to reveal embarrassing details about her relationship with Boris, the public might take a dim view of their PM’s philanderous past becoming a public embarrassment.
And while this Teflon politician might weather a sex scandal, should the GLA or the IOPC conclude there was impropriety in the process by which Ms Arcuri received public funds, the furore could be career-threatening even for Boris.
The IOPC is deciding whether to investigate the prime minister for a potential criminal offence of misconduct in public office while he was London mayor, between 2008 and 2016, when he also had oversight of the Metropolitan Police.
The inquiry by the GLA into alleged conflicts of interest has been paused until the watchdog’s probe is concluded.
Now the election is out of the way he faces the prospect of both the IOPC and then the GLA reopening their investigations in earnest in the new year.
Marina Wheeler, whom Boris married in 1993 just 12 days after finalising his divorce from his first wife Allegra Mostyn-Owen, has shown herself to be a woman of remarkable patience and sang-froid.
The PM’s wife endured multiple public humiliations over Boris’s well-publicised affairs, locking her high profile husband out of the house more than once, only to forgive him, prior to their final split last year.
Mr Johnson now lives at Number 10 with Carrie since leaving his second wife Marina Wheeler (pictured together in 2015) last year
Mr Johnson married Oxford University sweetheart Allegra Mostyn-Owen in 1987, but they divorced in 1993 after he cheated on her with Marina
Divorce proceedings between the pair are ongoing and thus far there have been no leaks or sniping to the press – but will that continue?
In May a poll for the Daily Mail showed that 83 per cent of Tories did not think his two broken marriages made him unfit to be prime minister, with 71 per cent of Labour voters equally forgiving.
But should the longsuffering former Mrs Johnson choose to speak out – perhaps about the trustworthiness of the man she chose to leave but the country chose to keep – it would make for uncomfortable listening in Number 10.
‘How many children do you have, Prime Minister?’
It may seem extraordinary that this is a question journalists would ask of a British Prime Minister – but even more bizarre is that he has yet to answer it.
We know he and Ms Wheeler have four older children – Lara, Milo Arthur, Cassia Peaches, and Theodore Apollo.
Lara Johnson, who is only five years younger than Boris’s girlfriend Miss Symonds, reportedly branded her father a ‘selfish b******’ after his split with her mother.
Johnson with his ex-wife Marina Wheeler and daughter Lara Johnson as she votes for the first time in May 2012
In 2004, his four-year affair with journalist and society author Petronella Wyatt (pictured), the daughter of Labour grandee Lord Wyatt, became public
Mr Johnson fathered a child with art consultant Helen Macintyre (pictured left, and right with her child). It is understood Miss Wheeler again kicked him out of the family home
In 2004, his four-year affair with journalist and society author Petronella Wyatt, the daughter of Labour grandee Lord Wyatt, came to public attention.
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 Johnson dismissed the allegations as ‘an inverted pyramid of piffle’.
Mr Howard’s spokesman said the issue was one of ‘personal morality’.
In 2006 the News of the World reported Mr Johnson had had an affair with journalist Anna Fazackerley.
And in 2009, Boris fathered a child with art consultant Helen Macintyre, about which the Court of Appeal ruled in 2013 the public had a right to know.
While the number of Boris’s children remains unknown it will continue to haunt him as a reminder to the press and the public of just how uncomfortable this Prime Minister can be facing direct questions.
Certainly the question would loom large were his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, who is 31 and childless, to fall pregnant.
In September 2018 Boris’ affair with senior Conservative Party communications staffer Carrie Symonds, then 30, came to light and ended his marriage.
Initially the subject of critical press coverage, Ms Symonds and Mr Johnson formalised their relationship soon after and the Prime Minister’s partner has barely put a foot wrong on the campaign trail.
Carrie Symonds, 31, walking with newly re-elected Boris Johnson towards Downing Street. Her still-married boyfriend has been elected despite his notoriously tumultuous personal llife.
Johnson with girlfriend Carrie Symonds following his keynote speech on day four of the Conservative Party Conference at Manchester Central on October 2, 2019
She has not voiced an opinion which has sparked a negative headline, her work with environmental charity Oceana burnishes the PM’s green credentials and she has taken pains to be photographed with the couple’s rescue dog, Dilyn.
But in June, neighbours overheard 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 revealed Johnson, who was living at his partner’s flat, shouted at Miss Symonds to ‘get off my f***ing laptop’ before a loud crashing noise was heard.
What kind of a consort will Ms Symonds prove to be? Will the pair rush to marry after Johnson’s divorce is finalised?
Will evidence of further blazing rows be leaked to the press?
And most salaciously of all perhaps, will the notoriously amorous Mr Johnson stay faithful to his new partner – and how will she and the public react if he does not?
As the re-elected Prime Minister eyes the road ahead, obscured by pools of shadow cast by the events of his past, he may conclude that last night’s landslide victory was the easy bit.