DO you remember when a councillor threw a bread roll at Boris Johnson in a meeting?
We’ve looked back through our archives to find 15 of the most weird and wonderful stories about the former Henley MP, now Prime Minister.
- When Boris’s bike was nicked
Boris Johnson was furious after his bike was stolen from the supposedly ‘secure’ Palace of Westminster for the fourth time in March 2002.
Describing himself as more than usually apoplectic, he said he wanted a ‘Taliban-style’ punishment for Westminster’s bike thieves.
He said: “In my current mood I would happily adopt Taliban law on bike thieves, never mind some nambi-pambi community services nonsense.
“I think I’d have them scourged with copes of the Spectator and then forced to read the entire 275-page Proceeds of Crime Bill, the committee considering which I have sat on for the last four months.”
- When BoJo appeared in Eastenders
— Julian Druker (@Julian5News) June 15, 2019
On September 20, 2009 we were tipped off that Boris, who was then the Mayor of London, would make a star appearance on BBC’s Eastenders. He was due to have a run-in with firey landlady (at the time) Peggy Mitchell.
- That time one councillor threw a bread roll at Boris
His political speech at a civic dinner was too much for council chairman at the time Eleanor Hards.
She threw a bread roll at then tory MP for Henley’s head and scored a direct hit.
She said he ‘deserved it’ after mentioning ‘at least three times’ that people threw bread rolls at him when they got bored.
So, she took his word for it, telling us: “I’m amazed I hit him – I’ve no cricketing experience!”
Others were also impressed with the shot, including Thame mayor (at the time) Don Butler, who said: “It was cracking shot and he was banging on a bit.”
But Boris’ agent was miffed, saying: “He was taken aback, as anyone would be. But he carried on and was not upset.”
- When he called children in a sexual assault trial ‘little brutes’
When the trial of Amy Gehring hit the headlines in 2002, our then Henley MP infuriated child protection organisations by suggesting the pupils concerned were not ‘victims’ but were ‘little brutes’.
He declared that, if he had been one of Miss Gegring’s pupils, he would not have objected to her advances and denied that the boys had been assaulted, when writing his reaction piece for a column in the Daily Telegraph.
- When Boris became Doris
Boris promised to turn himself into a ‘little old lady’ to discover what life was like for those who relied on public transport in the county.
This is our artists impression of what he might look like:
- The incarnation of Doris had major problems
He said: “I am trying to rely on local buses. I was determined to go from Henley to Watlington for Sunday lunch at The Chequers.
“I got to the bus stop around 11.30am – just to allow myself plenty of time.
“But I discovered there are no buses whatsoever to Watlington…and there are no buses to virtually anywhere else! I am now absorbing the full magnitude of the problems facing my constituents.”
- He claimed for diet coke on his expenses
- His brief career as a teacher in Australia
He told the House of Commons debate about education: “I was briefly a teacher in Australia and know how hard teaching is. I had a touch time of it.
“Headteachers in my constituency tell me they cannot oblige children to spend half an hour picking up crisp packets as punishment for a misdemeanor, because their parents will come to the school and get stroppy.
“They have no authority anymore. It may be pompous of me to talk about respect in the classroom, but I think that having taken the trouble of being elected to Parliament, I am allowed to be pompous.”
Labour MP at the time David Taylor promptly referred to Mr Johnson as ‘the honourable member for Pomposity-on-Thames’.
- Boris – charming or clumsy?
- The time a teddy bear filled his seat
He was told a teddy bear would fill his seat if he failed to show up for a debate on Europe.
The Democracy Movement, a national pressure group campaigning to keep the pound and promote independence from Brussels in May 2001, challenged Boris Johnson to say where he stood on the issues and threatened to put a teddy bear in his seat he did not go to the event.
They sent him an email, saying: “We’ll look for a very large and friendly Boris-the-Bear teddy bear, as close a resemblance as we can find, to which the audience and the media can address questions.”
Mr Johnson sad: “I have a speaking engagement that night and they know perfectly well I can’t make it. They’re welcome to make a stunt out of it, but it’s a bit fatuous when they know I can’t be there.”
- A scene of devastation at his house
Mr Johnson, then Henley’s MP, had a giant ash tree at the end of his garden at his London home.
And it fell down in September 2001, destroying two parked cars. He was also the editor of the Spectator at the time and remarked ruefully: “Michael Heseltine’s [his predecessor] arboretum is reputed to have 3,500 trees. “I have now got one dead tree, a destroyed wall and an insurance headache.”
- When he said nurses at the John Radcliffe should be paid more than everyone else
In December 2001 Boris Johnson made the controversial call for nurses at the John Radcliffe Hospital to be paid more than their colleagues in many other parts of Britain.
The then-Henley MP believed the JR could never have enough nurses to open enough beds to admit all the patients it could while there were still national pay rates for nurses.
He said at the time the JR was down on its complement of 3,000 nurses – despite the recruitment of ‘walk-in’ trained candidates and Filipino nurses because the cost of living in Oxfordshire was too high to retain staff.
He said: “The Royal College of Nursing will tell you that the profession is national and that there should be a national rate. That is nonsensical as saying that there should be a national price for a two-bedroom flat.”
- More than 20,000 votes for Boris in Henley seat
- When he pleased landlords with his entourage
The media scrum paid dividends for pub landlord Ben Salter in May 2001 when Boris became the Conservative MP hopeful for Henley calling in at The Six Bells, Warborough for a pint of bitter and lunch.
He had a busy time serving the pack of media reps, a squad of campaigners and Boris Johnson who drank a pint of Brakspear.