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 by Constituency established
Succeeded by Richard Simmonds
Personal details
Born Stanley Patrick Johnson
(1940-08-18) 18 August 1940 (age 76)
Penzance, England, UK
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Charlotte Fawcett (Divorced)
Jennifer Kidd
Children Boris
(by 1st marriage)
(by 2nd marriage)
Alma mater Exeter College, Oxford

Stanley Patrick Johnson (born 18 August 1940) of West Nethercote, Winsford, Somerset, is a British politician and author, and an expert on environmental and population issues. He was a Conservative MEP for Wight & Hampshire East from 1979 to 1984 and is a former employee of the World Bank and the European Commission. He is co-chairman of Environmentalists for Europe (E4E),[2][3] a collection of pro-EU environmentalists campaigning for the UK to remain a member of the EU.

His six children include the former Mayor of London and current Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and Jo Johnson, MP for Orpington and Minister of State for Universities and Science.

Origins and early life[edit]

Johnson was born in 1940 in Penzance, Cornwall, the son of Osman Kemal Wilfred Johnson and Irene Williams (daughter of Stanley F. Williams of Bromley, Kent, by his marriage to Marie Louise de Pfeffel (or Freiin von Pfeffel) in Paris on 15 August 1882).[4] His paternal grandfather Ali Kemal, one of the last interior ministers of the Ottoman Empire government, was assassinated during the Turkish War of Independence. Stanley's father was born Osman Wilfred Kemal or Osman Ali in England in Bournemouth, Hampshire, in 1909, his Anglo-Swiss mother Winifred dying shortly after giving birth.

After Ali Kemal returned to Turkey in 1912, Stanley's father and aunt were brought up by their English grandmother Margaret Brun (née Johnson) and took her maiden name, Stanley's father becoming simply Wilfred Johnson. His maternal grandparents were Hubert Freiherr von Pfeffel (born in Munich on 8 December 1843) and his wife Helene von Rivière (born on 14 January 1862). von Pfeffel was the son of Karl Freiherr von Pfeffel (born in Dresden on 22 November 1811; died in Munich on 25 January 1890) and his wife (m. in Augsburg on 16 February 1836) Karolina von Rothenburg (born in Frankfurt on 28 November 1805; died in Frankfurt on 13 February 1872), herself the natural daughter of Prince Paul of Württemberg by Friederike Porth.

Johnson attended Sherborne School, Dorset. While still an undergraduate reading the 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[edit]

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 1973-1979. 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[edit]

He attempted a political comeback in the 2005 general election, when he 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.

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.[5] However, on 29 May, it was reported that the local Conservative party had chosen three local people as possible candidates[6] and on 30 May, local councillor John Howell was selected to fight the by-election.[7]

He has written an autobiographical memoir, Stanley I Presume, which was published in March 2009.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Stanley Johnson married the painter Charlotte (née Fawcett, later Wahl) in Marylebone, London, in 1963, and with her had four children: Boris Johnson, Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, since July 2016 Foreign Secretary and the immediate past Mayor of London; Rachel Johnson, a journalist and former editor in chief of The Lady; Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science and Conservative MP for Orpington and Head of Lex at the Financial Times; and Leo Johnson, a film-maker and entrepreneur. He was divorced in the 1980s and later married Jennifer Kidd and had two further children, Julia and Maximilian.[9]



  1. ^ "Stanley Johnson". Profile. 4 August 2012. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  2. ^ "Boris Johnson's father: this could be a career-ending move for my son". 
  3. ^ "Home - Environmentalists For Europe". 
  4. ^ "Deaths", The Times, p. 1, 1 December 1944.
  5. ^ "Bank holiday Boris promises to work 'night and day' as father eyes his Commons seat". Daily Mail. 2008-05-05. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  6. ^ "Johnson's father in election snub". BBC News. 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2008-05-31. 
  7. ^ "Tory candidate chosen for Henley". BBC News. 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2008-05-31. 
  8. ^ "Stanley Johnson's website - Books page". 
  9. ^ "Stanley Johnson: The man who made Boris". The Telegraph. 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2016-07-05. 

External links[edit]

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

Succeeded by
Richard Simmonds