I didn’t want to like Boris Johnson but I couldn’t help it: KAY BURLEY says the new Prime Minister has a charisma that few she has met possess
I first met Boris Johnson while he was campaigning to become the Mayor of London.
At the time he was beset by yet another scandal, the sort that would have done for other politicians.
But not Boris, who barrelled into the room like an overzealous labrador. I had been determined to dislike this man from the other side of the tracks to me and was frustrated at being charmed by his Eton-educated, Bullingdon Club boyishness.
He has a charisma that few I have met possess. Among them are Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and yes, Donald Trump.
Boris Johnson has a charisma that few I have met possess. I don’t want to be sucked in by their aura, but it’s difficult to resist
I don’t want to be sucked in by their aura, but it’s difficult to resist. I hate myself for admitting to it, but some people just have ‘it’.
The next time we met was at the ambassador’s residence in Beijing where he talked about ‘whiff-whaff’ – or ping-pong as most of us know it – and later at the Olympic Stadium where, in front of a worldwide TV audience, he brandished the Union Flag as if it were Excalibur.
He looked faintly ridiculous yet pulled off the stunt in a way few others could.
It’s not just audiences that fall for his easy charm, of course. His many romantic indiscretions are well-documented, with a trail of broken hearts in his wake.
The PM has four children with his second wife, as well as a love child, and it’s striking that at 26, his eldest daughter Lara is only five years younger than Johnson’s new belle, Carrie Symonds.
Will she become the First Girlfriend to live full time at No 10? We know their relationship to be wine-throwing, name-callingly volatile. Is that part of the appeal?
It’s not just audiences that fall for his easy charm, of course. His many romantic indiscretions are well-documented, with a trail of broken hearts in his wake
There will be plenty of volatility in the coming weeks too, as Mr Johnson’s team wrestles with the Halloween deadline for Brexit.
And what of that Etonian charm when it comes to wooing the EU 27 into an amicable divorce? Well, he also has history at effortlessly captivating our shoulder-shrugging, surly neighbours.
I was invited to a reception when the Mayor of Paris was in town, at a time when Europe was caught up in the horsemeat scandal.
A typically late Boris bounded into the City Hall drinks party and announced: ‘Je mange du cheval aussi.’ Even the French raised their glasses and laughed at the ‘I eat horse too’ gag.
That was then – wooing our European ‘friends’ may prove a little harder now.