On Friday morning, Johnson and his wife Marina Wheeler announced they were divorcing. The couple has been married since 1993 and have four children. This will be Johnson’s second divorce. His first marriage, to Allegra Mostyn-Owen, ended in divorce in 1993. The British tabloid press has long been filled with stories of Johnson’s notoriously louche sexual history, which seems to have involved a staggering number of extramarital affairs and out of wedlock pregnancies.
Having quit as a Foreign Secretary in July, Johnson has become the foremost critic of Prime Minister Theresa May within the Conservative Party and is expected to try and replace her. Johnson’s status as twice-divorced might be seen to hinder his chances. After all, in the modern era, the United Kingdom has only had one divorced Prime Minister (Anthony Eden, whose brief tenure ran from 1955-1957).
But political observers, including bookmakers, still see Johnson as the person most likely to be the next leader of the Conservative Party. “He’s still the favorite,” one bookmaker told Reuters. “Over the years Boris has been very Teflon ... we think he’s got more than a couple of lives left yet.”
With his lurid private life, clownish public persona and frequent recourse to nationalist demagoguery, Johnson has often been compared to Donald Trump. It’s likely that Johnson will prove, as Trump has, that even conservative voters are willing to set aside a politician’s private life.
As Independent columnist Sean O’Grady notes, there are plenty of other reasons to vote against Johnson:
The tragedy of it all is that Johnson is being treated as a character in a reality TV show or soap opera, which denigrates politics. He is much more than that. Still, a potential leader of the country in some diabolical takeover of the Conservative Party by Leave fundamentalists.
What Johnson proposes to do next with his genitalia is nobody’s business than his own. What he proposes to do to the country concerns all of us, whether he is happily married or not.