Boris Johnson is already celebrating 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 a dramatic exit poll tonight.
But it didn’t always look that way – Boris has 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 once notoriously him locked out of his own home in front of television cameras by his angry wife Marina over allegations he had cheated on her in 2004.
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.
This earned him the dubious record of being the first PM in modern times to divorce while in Downing Street.
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 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
How the philandering MP with a volatile personal life went on to become Prime Minister
Boris Johnson’s volatile personal life could have blocked his path to Number 10.
Mr Johnson announced he was splitting from second wife Marina Wheeler just before his relationship with Ms Symonds – former media chief at the Conservative Party – became public.
This earnt him the dubious record of being the first PM in modern times to divorce while in Downing Street.
Mr Johnson has also faced pressure to state how many children he has.
Both the BBC’s Emma Barnett and ITV’s Piers Morgan have grilled his supporters on why Mr Johnson was seemingly unwilling to face questions about his public and private life – including about the number of offspring.
Mr Johnson has four children with his wife Marina Wheeler who he separated from last year with the pair now in the process of getting divorced.
In 2013 it emerged that Mr Johnson had fathered a child in an extramarital affair with Helen Macintyre, a professional art consultant, and the Court of Appeal ruled that the public did have the right to know about it after a privacy battle to keep the birth a secret.
The daughter was alleged during court proceedings to be the second child fathered by Mr Johnson as a result of an affair, according to The Guardian.
Mr Johnson previously hit the headlines in the 2000s over an affair with socialite Petronella Wyatt. She allegedly had an abortion as a result of the relationship.
Mr Hunt has been stressing his own apparently idyllic family life during his campaign up to now, as well as suggesting Mr Johnson cannot be ‘trusted’ by the EU.
Max Hastings, Johnson’s editor in his days as a young reporter at the Daily Telegraph, dubbed 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.
Mr Johnson married Oxford University sweetheart Allegra Mostyn-Owen in 1987, but they divorced in 1993 after he cheated on her with Marina
When Boris Johnson’s affair with Carrie Symonds came to light last September, he and his wife Marina Wheeler filed for divorce
Mr Johnson now lives at Number 10 with Carrie since leaving his second wife Marina Wheeler (pictured together in 2015) last year
The couple pictured together in London on January 18, for the first time after Mr Johnson’s second marriage ended following rumours of a relationship with Miss Symonds
How Carrie Symonds ‘transformed’ Boris Johnson’s image
Carrie Symonds is credited with transforming Mr Johnson’s public image.
Under her direction, his famous blond mane has been cropped, he has lost weight and his trademark dishevelled appearance has been replaced by a sharp-suited image.
Carrie comes from a successful background as her father Matthew Symonds was co-founder of The Independent newspaper and her mother Josephine Mcaffee a successful media lawyer.
Carrie moved into No 10 when Boris won the leadership race.
Sources say Carrie’s ability to effortlessly combine the intense focus required to win a fiercely fought leadership campaign with a playful sense of fun has rubbed off on Boris, bringing a competency that his political operation once lacked.
He is said to be hoping to marry Miss Symonds once his divorce to Marina Wheeler, with whom he has four children, has been finalised.
The break-up is said to have severely strained relations between Mr Johnson and his children.
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.
Lean machine: Boris cuts a much slimmer, smarter figure under the influence of Carrie Symonds. Left: Boris in 2013. Right: In 2019
Mr Johnson – who once dismissed reports of his cheating as ‘an inverted pyramid of piffle’ – married Oxford University sweetheart Allegra Mostyn-Owen in 1987 (pictured), 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 (pictured), the daughter of Labour grandee Lord Wyatt, became public
Mr Johnson fathered a child with art consultant Helen Macintyre (pictured). It is understood Miss Wheeler again kicked him out of the family home
City lawyer Miss Wheeler (pictured), 54, a Cambridge-educated QC and the daughter of veteran BBC correspondent Sir Charles Wheeler, put up with her husband’s infidelity for years
Johnson with his ex-wife Marina Wheeler and daughter Lara Johnson as she votes for the first time in May 2012
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.