Best known as Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley Johnson has also been a politician in his own right. He was once even awarded the Greenpeace Prize for Outstanding Services to the Environment.
Following Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, Johnson was one of the first Brits sent to Brussels. In 1979, Stanley served as the Conservative MEP for Wight and Hampshire East, a position he held until 1984.
In the 2005 General Election, Johnson also stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative Party candidate for the marginal seat of Teignbridge in Devon. He finished second behind the Liberal Democrats.
Stanley Johnson is also a life-long animal rights and environmental activist, writing many books on these subjects.
3 things you may not know about Boris Johnson’s Dad
He appeared on ‘I am a Celebrity’
In November 2017, the later Prime Minister’s father was confirmed as a contestant for the 17th series of ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’. Stanley Johnson finished in seventh place.
Richard and Judy
Stanley Johnson reportedly once met the daytime TV power couple, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, at a dinner.
After they told him they both worked in television, Johnson asked if they’d ever come across each other at work! Richard and Judy are of course married and they presented ‘This Morning’ from 1988 to 2001, as well as their own chat show, ‘Richard and Judy’, from 2001 to 2009.
He has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro three times
Johnson has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the highest peak in Africa and the world’s highest free-standing mountain, three times. On all occasions, he was in his 70s.
On May 2020, Johnson told LBC he wanted the coronavirus lockdown eased for over 70s so that he could have a fourth crack at the mountain in order to raise funds to protect the Asian Elephant.
Johnson’s first role in Brussels was at the European Commission (1973-1979) as Head of the Prevention of Pollution division.
As an MEP (1979-1984), Johnson served as the Vice Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection.
Johnson returned to the European Commission in 1984 and served as a Senior Adviser to the newly created Directorate General of Environment. Johnson took early retirement from the European Commission in 1994.
Johnson has published ten books dealing with environmental issues, including his 1972 effort, ‘The Politics of the Environment’.
Johnson has also been the Director of the Environmental consultancy firm, ERM; a trustee of the Earthwatch Institute, and Plantlife International; and an environmental adviser to Jupiter Asset Management.
For his role in environmental activism, in 1984 Johnson was awarded the Greenpeace Prize for Outstanding Services to the Environment.
In 2012 Boris Johnson’s dad was awarded the Worldwide Wildlife Fund’s Silver Medal.
In 2015 he received the RSPB’s Medal for Services to Nature Conservation’.
Johnson’s staunch environmental activism may have been triggered by his upbringing on a 500-acre farm in Exmoor, Devon. Johnson’s family has owned this farm since 1951 and he still tends to it.
Johnson is also passionate about Animal welfare.
He is currently a trustee of the ‘Gorilla Organisation’ and an Ambassador for the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).
Johnson is said to have played a key role in the EU’s 1983 ban on the import of skins from whitecoat harp seals that were less than two weeks of age. For this, in 1984 Johnson received the RSPCA Richard Martin Award for services to animal welfare
Johnson once dressed as a turtle as part of an environmental protest at the World Trade Organisation in Seattle. He said at the time: ‘Like a turtle, you’ve got to got to stick your neck out to go forward’.
In 2019, Stanley Johnson was together with his now daughter in law, Carrie Johnson, holding placards and attending an anti whaling protest together. Given that Boris Johnson’s wife, Carrie, and his father Stanley, both share a passion for environmental and animal welfare causes, it would appear that Prime Minister Boris Johnson must be under significant personal influence to pursue ‘green’ causes.
Stanley Johnson and Brexit
Despite Boris Johnson spearheading the ‘Leave’ campaign and then subsequently taking the United Kingdom out of the EU as Prime Minister, the PM’s father was initially opposed to Brexit. During the 2016 referendum, Stanley Johnson was a ‘staunch’ member of the ‘Remain’ side.
However, by 2017 Boris had apparently persuaded his father to the leave cause; Stanley said: ‘the time has come to bail out’.
Following Britain’s exit from the EU, Stanley Johnson told France’s RTL radio that he was seeking French Citizenship. It’s not about becoming French’, he told France’s RTL radio. He added that his interest in becoming a French Citizen and obtaining a French Passport was all ‘about reclaiming what I already have’.
Stanley Johnson had four children with his first wife, Charlotte Johnson-Wahl. Three of these children, Boris, Rachel and Joseph-would go on to be prominent public figures in the United Kingdom.
Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, Joseph (Jo) Johnson also became an MP and is now a member of the House of Lords, whilst Rachel Johnson is a journalist who was a lead candidate for Change UK in the 2019 European elections.
Mr Johnson also has two children by his second marriage.
Twitter – @StanleyPJohnson