Broth­ers at odds: vas­sal or vas­salage? John­son the younger: a quick pro­file

The Guardian - - NEWS - Dan Sab­bagh

The sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the two John­son MPs are far greater than the dif­fer­ences. Both were ed­u­cated at Eton and Bal­liol Col­lege, Ox­ford; although Jo, seven and a half years younger, out­shone Boris, with a first in mod­ern his­tory.

The 46-year-old also pur­sued a ca­reer in jour­nal­ism be­fore en­ter­ing pol­i­tics, af­ter a short stint at Deutsche Bank. He worked at the Fi­nan­cial Times for 13 years, where he edited the Lex in­vest­ment col­umn af­ter stints in Paris and Delhi. He was se­lected for the safe Con­ser­va­tive seat of Or­p­ing­ton by the nar­row­est of mar­gins, beat­ing Sa­jid Javid, af­ter the first bal­lot be­tween the two was tied. He won by a sin­gle vote among as­so­ci­a­tion mem­bers on the sec­ond bal­lot.

John­son was quickly made head of the Down­ing Street pol­icy unit by David Cameron, although at the time there was some sur­prise – not be­cause of his tal­ents but be­cause of his rel­a­tively left-wing views.

John­son be­came uni­ver­si­ties min­is­ter af­ter the 2015 elec­tion – a job he en­joyed – be­fore, to his dis­ap­point­ment, be­ing reshuf­fled to be­come rail min­is­ter.

In his res­ig­na­tion state­ment John­son said Theresa May’s Brexit plans would leave the UK with a choice be­tween “vas­salage and chaos”. Last De­cem­ber, his el­der brother warned the UK would go from “mem­ber state to a vas­sal state.”

If Jo John­son’s ca­reer as an MP be­gan with a prom­ise that he would sound dif­fer­ent to Boris John­son, in the lat­est it­er­a­tion the two sound oddly sim­i­lar.

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