Tom Bower’s biography of Boris Johnson opens with exactly the kind of scene you expect. It is August 2019 and our hero has been prime minister for less than a month. To celebrate the birthday of his father, Stanley, he throws a party at Chequers. But the mood is dreadful. Boris’s four children with his estranged wife, Marina Wheeler, are no longer speaking to him and refuse to come. “He’s a shit,” one of the Johnson clan remarks of the new prime minister. “He’s utterly selfish. He’s destroyed the family.” And this is just the first page.
Who is Boris Johnson, really? This book’s subtitle calls him The Gambler, the kind of swashbuckling nickname he might choose for himself. Yet over 500 dense pages