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Who is Stanley Johnson? Boris 'nominates his father for knighthood'

Best known as the former prime minister's father, the conservationist and author has been dogged by several high-profile controversies.

Britain's Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson and his father Stanley are seen at a hustings event, in Exeter, Britain, June 28, 2019. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Boris Johnson (left) has reportedly nominated his father Stanley for a knighthood. (Reuters)

What's happening? Boris Johnson's resignation honours list is set to be released on Monday, amid reports he has nominated his father, Stanley Johnson, for a knighthood.

The news that Johnson's father may be among 100 names put forward by his own son was met with widespread criticism - the nomination coming several years after Johnson made his brother, Jo Johnson, a lord.

Johnson's office has said they did not comment on honours nominations, however the suggestion that Stanley Johnson could receive an honour was described as "ridiculous" by Labour leader Keir Starmer.

"The idea of an ex-prime minister bestowing honours on his dad – for services to what?” he said. "The idea that Boris Johnson is nominating his dad for a knighthood – you only need to say it to realise just how ridiculous it is," Starmer told LBC Radio:

“It’s classic of a man like Johnson. I mean, I think the public will just think this is absolutely outrageous.”

But who is Stanley Johnson - and have his activities warranted a knighthood? Yahoo News explains...

Watch: Science Secretary speaks to Sky News about Boris Johnson reportedly nominating his father for a knighthood

Stanley Johnson's career

Stanley Johnson has penned numerous books about travel, the environment and the natural world - as well as a memoir, titled 'Stanley, I presume'.

He worked at the European Commission from 1973-1979, serving as Head of the Prevention of Pollution division, and was later elected Conservative MEP for Wight and Hampshire East - a role he held from 1979-1984, also serving as the vice chairman of the Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection.

In 1984, he won the Greenpeace Prize for Outstanding Services to the Environment, and was honoured in 2012 with the Worldwide Wildlife Fund’s Silver Medal, and in 2015 with the RSPB’s Medal for Services to Nature Conservation.

He is currently an ambassador for the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species.

Stanley Johnson, father of former British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, reacts as he walks between venues with British reality TV personality Georgia Toffolo during Britain's Conservative Party's annual conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 3, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Stanley Johnson and Georgia Toffolo became firm friends during their reality TV stint and were pictured together at the Conservative Party's annual conference in 2022. (Reuters)

I'm a Celebrity

Johnson appeared on reality TV show 'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here' in 2017, becoming the oldest person to have entered the jungle at the time - and finishing 5th in the show.

He took part in three challenges and formed a close bond with the show's eventual winner, Made in Chelsea alumni Georgia 'Toff' Toffolo.

The pair remained close friends and have since appeared together on shows Celebrity Hunted and Celebrity Antiques Roadtrip, as well as being pictured together at the Conservative Party Conference in 2022.

Stanley Johnson said he visited Greece for essential travel. (Getty)
Stanley Johnson said he visited Greece for essential travel. (Getty)

COVID

The prime minister's father did not always take his son's advice when it came to the coronavirus pandemic. He was pictured going into a newsagents without wearing a face covering in October 2020, while the rules stated masks were to be worn while shopping.

In a TV interview in March 2020, Johnson said he would ignore the prime minister's advice about visiting pubs, saying "Of course I’ll go to a pub if I need to go to a pub", and on another occasion admitted he had broken a lockdown rule to go out and buy a newspaper after the birth of his grandson.

Johnson was also accused of breaking COVID lockdown rules to fly to Greece at a time when the advice was not to travel unless it was for "essential business". Johnson later told the Daily Mail he had to travel to COVID-proof his holiday home for lettings.

MP Caroline Nokes speaks during Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons in London, Britain September 16, 2021. UK Parliament/Roger Harris/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. IMAGE MUST NOT BE ALTERED
MP Caroline Nokes accused Stanley Johnson of inappropriately touching her in 2003. (UK Parliament/Roger Harris/Handout via Reuters).

Domestic violence and groping allegations

Johnson faced allegations of domestic violence from his ex-wife, the late Charlotte Johnson Wahl, who claimed he broke her nose during an altercation - leading her to seek hospital treatment.

The first wife of Johnson, and mother to Boris and his three siblings, Johnson Wahl shared details of her life with journalist Tom Bower for a biography titled "The Gambler", which details her allegedly unhappy marriage to Johnson.

In the book, she accused Johnson of breaking her nose in the 1970s. Friends of the couple told The Daily Mail the incident had been a one-off, saying she had "flailed" at Johnson who broke her nose "flailing back".

Another biography, of Boris Johnson, claimed Stanley Johnson had multiple extramarital affairs.

"Charlotte had lived every day for years knowing that every woman who came into close contact with Stanley was fair game,' said a long-time family friend. 'It even included the wives of friends'," an extract from 'Just Boris', by Sonia Purnell, read.

In addition to the allegations made by his ex-wife, Johnson has also been accused of inappropriate touching by two women.

Tory MP Caroline Nokes, the chair of the parliamentary women and equalities committee, said Johnson had groped her in 2005, when she was running for a seat in Romsey and Southampton North.

"I can remember a really prominent man – at the time the Conservative candidate for Teignbridge in Devon – smacking me on the backside about as hard as he could and going, ‘oh, Romsey, you’ve got a lovely seat’," she told Sky News.

Asked to identify the person, she said: "Stanley Johnson did that to me, ahead of the ’05 election."

Johnson declined to comment, but said he had “no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all”.

Following Nokes' comments, political journalist Ailbhe Rea said she had been groped by Johnson in 2019.

"Stanley Johnson also groped me at a party at Conservative conference in 2019," Rea tweeted in 2021. "I am grateful to Caroline Nokes for calling out something that none of us should have to put up with, not least from the Prime Minister's father."