Stanley Johnson (writer)

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Stanley Johnson
Member of the European Parliament
for Wight and Hampshire East
In office
7 June 1979 – 14 June 1984
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byRichard Simmonds
Personal details
Stanley Patrick Johnson

(1940-08-18) 18 August 1940 (age 79)
Penzance, Cornwall, England
Political partyConservative
RelativesAli Kemal (grandfather)
Alma materExeter College, Oxford

Stanley Patrick Johnson (born 18 August 1940 in Penzance) is a British author[2] and former politician. He has written books on environmental and population issues. He was a Conservative MEP for Wight and Hampshire East from 1979 to 1984 and is a former employee of the World Bank and the European Commission.

His six children include Boris Johnson, who is the Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and former Mayor of London; Jo Johnson, MP for Orpington and former Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation; and Rachel Johnson, an editor, journalist, television presenter and author.

Origins and early life

Stanley Johnson was born in 1940 in Penzance, Cornwall, the son of Osman Kemal (later Wilfred Johnson) and Irene Williams (daughter of Stanley Fred Williams of Bromley, Kent, and Marie Louise de Pfeffel).[3][4] His paternal grandfather, Ali Kemal Bey, one of the last interior ministers of the Ottoman Empire government, was assassinated in 1922 during the Turkish War of Independence. Stanley's father was born in 1909 in Bournemouth, in Hampshire, and his birth was registered as Osman Ali Wilfred Kemal.[5] Osman's Anglo-Swiss mother Winifred Brun died shortly after giving birth.[6] Ali Kemal returned to Turkey in 1912, whereafter Osman Wilfred and his sister Selma were brought up by their English grandmother, Margaret Brun, and took her maiden name, Johnson, Stanley's father therefore becoming simply Wilfred Johnson.[7]

Stanley Johnson's maternal grandmother's parents were Hubert Freiherr von Pfeffel (born in Munich on 8 December 1843) and his wife Hélène Arnous-Rivière (born on 14 January 1862). Hubert von Pfeffel was the son of Karl Freiherr von Pfeffel (born in Dresden on 22 November 1811; died in Munich on 25 January 1890) by his marriage in Augsburg on 16 February 1836 to Karolina von Rothenburg (born in Frankfurt on 28 November 1805; died in Frankfurt on 13 February 1872), herself said to be the illegitimate, natural daughter of Prince Paul of Württemberg by Friederike Porth.

Johnson attended Sherborne School, Dorset. While still an undergraduate reading Greats at Exeter College, Oxford, he took part in the Marco Polo Expedition with Tim Severin and Michael de Larrabeiti, travelling on a motorcycle and sidecar from Oxford to Venice and on to India and Afghanistan. The adventure led to the publication of Severin's 1964 book Tracking Marco Polo, with photographs by de Larrabeiti.

Work and interests

He has previously worked at the World Bank, has a great interest in the environment and was the Head of Prevention of Pollution Division at the European Commission from 1973 to 1979. He is a trustee of the Gorilla Organisation and a board member of Plantlife International. In 1983 he received the RSPCA Richard Martin Award for Outstanding Services to animal welfare, and in 1984 he received the Greenpeace Award for Outstanding Services to the Environment. He is an ambassador for the UNEP Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals based in Bonn, Germany.

He has published a number of books dealing with environmental issues and nine novels, including The Commissioner, which was made into a 1998 film starring John Hurt. In 1962 he won the Newdigate Prize for Poetry.

Recent activities

At the 2005 general election, Johnson stood for the Conservative Party in the constituency of Teignbridge. He came second behind Richard Younger-Ross of the Liberal Democrats.

For a time, starting on 26 May 2005, he wrote a weekly column for the G2 section of The Guardian, and continues to write for various newspapers and magazines, often on environmental topics (see Stanley Johnson personal site below for details). He was one of the first regular hosts of the late night discussion programme The Last Word on Channel 4's More4 channel, and made an appearance on Have I Got News For You on 7 May 2004.[citation needed]

On 5 May 2008, it was reported that Johnson hoped to be selected to contest his son Boris's parliamentary seat of Henley for the Conservative Party.[8][unreliable source?] However, on 29 May it was reported that the local Conservative party had chosen three local people as possible candidates[9] and on 30 May, local councillor John Howell was selected to fight the by-election.[10]

He has written a memoir, Stanley I Presume, which was published in March 2009.[11]

Having supported the Remain campaign during the 2016 European Union membership referendum, in October 2017 he came out in support of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, stating that "the time has come to bail out" and cited the approach and attitude of the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker as a major factor in his change of mind. He added that argument and debate over the length or detail of any transition or implementation period is expected but the ultimate "end-state" of the UK leaving the European Union is decided.[12]

In November 2017, Johnson was confirmed as a contestant for the seventeenth series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!.[13] He was the fifth person to be eliminated from the show, finishing in seventh place.

In 2018, alongside eight other celebrities, he appeared on the BBC programme The Real Marigold Hotel.

Johnson said his son Boris Johnson's comments that Muslim women who wear burkas look like "letterboxes" and "bank robbers" did not go far enough and that criticism of the comments had been "synthetic indignation" created by political opponents of Boris.[14]

In October 2018 Johnson said that, irrespective of the solution for the border on the island of Ireland after Brexit, if the Irish people "want to shoot each other, they will shoot each other".[15]

Personal life

Johnson married the painter Charlotte Fawcett in Marylebone in 1963, with whom he had four children: Boris, Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, previously Foreign Secretary and Mayor of London; Rachel, journalist and former editor-in-chief of The Lady; Jo, Conservative MP for Orpington, former Minister of State for Universities and former Head of Lex at the Financial Times; and Leo, film-maker and entrepreneur. Johnson and Fawcett divorced in 1979. He married Jennifer Kidd in Westminster in 1981 and they had two children, Julia and Maximilian.[16][17][18]


  • Gold Drain (1967, Heinemann) ISBN B0000CNKG6
  • Panther Jones for President (1968, Heinemann) ISBN 0-434-37701-5
  • Life without Birth: A Journey Through the Third World in Search of the Population Explosion (1970, Heinemann) ISBN 0-434-37702-3
  • The Green Revolution (1972, Hamilton) ISBN 0-241-02102-2
  • The Population Problem (1973, David & C) ISBN 0-7153-6282-8
  • The Politics of Environment (1973, T Stacey) ISBN 0-85468-298-8
  • The Urbane Guerilla (1975, Macmillan) ISBN 0-333-17679-0
  • Pollution Control Policy of the EEC (1978, Graham & Trotman) ISBN 0-86010-136-3
  • The Doomsday Deposit (1979, EP Dutton) ISBN 0-525-09468-7
  • The Marburg Virus (1982, Heinemann) ISBN 0-434-37704-X
  • Tunnel (1984, Heinemann) ISBN 0-434-37705-8
  • Antarctica: The Last Great Wilderness (1985, Weidenfeld & N) ISBN 0-297-78676-8
  • The Commissioner (1987, Century) ISBN 0-7126-1587-3
  • World Population and the United Nations (1987, Cambridge UP) ISBN 0-521-32207-3
  • Dragon River (1989, Frederick Muller) ISBN 0-09-173526-2
  • The Earth Summit: The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) (1993, Kluwer Law International) ISBN 978-1-85333-784-0
  • World Population - Turning the Tide (1994, Kluwer Law International) ISBN 1-85966-046-0
  • The Environmental Policy of the European Communities (1995, Kluwer Law International) ISBN 90-411-0862-9
  • The Politics of Population: Cairo, 1994 (1995, Earthscan) ISBN 1-85383-297-9
  • Icecap (1999, Cameron May) ISBN 1-874698-67-8
  • Stanley I Presume (2009, Fourth Estate Ltd) ISBN 0-00-729672-X
  • Survival: Saving Endangered Migratory Species [co-authored with Robert Vagg] (2010, Stacey International) ISBN 1-906768-11-0
  • Where the Wild Things Were: Travels of a Conservationist (2012, Stacey International) ISBN 1-906768-87-0
  • UNEP The First 40 Years; A Narrative by Stanley Johnson (2012, United Nations Environment Programme) ISBN 978-92-807-3314-3
  • Stanley I Resume (2014, Biteback) ISBN 978-1-84954-741-3
  • Kompromat (2017, Point Blank) ISBN 978-1-78607-246-7


  1. ^ "Stanley Johnson". Profile. 4 August 2012. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Family of influence behind Boris Johnson". UK Daily Telegraph. 3 May 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Deaths", The Times, p. 1, 1 December 1944.
  4. ^ Istanbul, Lorraine Mallinder in. "Istanbul Letter: Lunch with Boris Johnson's Turkish cousin". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  5. ^ Register of Births for the Christchurch Registration District, volume 2b (Dec 1909), p. 621: "KEMAL, Osman Wilfred"
  6. ^ Register of Deaths for the Christchurch Registration District, volume 2b (Dec 1909), p. 417: "KEMAL, Winifred"
  7. ^ "Istanbul Letter: Lunch with Boris Johnson's Turkish cousin". The Irish Times. 2016.
  8. ^ "Bank holiday Boris promises to work 'night and day' as father eyes his Commons seat". Daily Mail. 5 May 2008. Retrieved 5 May 2008.
  9. ^ "Johnson's father in election snub". BBC News. 29 May 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
  10. ^ "Tory candidate chosen for Henley". BBC News. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
  11. ^ "Stanley Johnson's website - Books page".
  12. ^ Perring, Rebecca (6 October 2017). "Boris Johnson's Remainer dad now backs Brexit – thanks to JUNCKER". Daily Express. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Meet your 2017 Celebrity Campmates!". ITV. 14 November 2017. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  14. ^ Murphy, Joe (14 August 2018). "Boris Johnson's family at war as his brother raps 'bigotry' of burka jibes". Evening Standard. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  15. ^ "Irish will shoot each other 'if they want to,' says Stanley Johnson". Retrieved 13 June 2019 – via
  16. ^ Walden, Celia (11 April 2008). "Stanley Johnson: The man who made Boris". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  17. ^ Killen, Mary (March 2015). "Boris Johnson's mother on her brilliant brood". Tatler. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 19 January 2018.

External links

European Parliament
New constituency Member of the European Parliament
for Wight and Hampshire East

Succeeded by
Richard Simmonds