Adam Fleming says Boris Johnson was a “fool” when he was younger.

As the dust begins to settle Boris JohnsonAs he leads Britain, many pundits are speculating about who will replace the Conservative as leader. Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak is among the names touting, along with the likes of Penny Mordaunt, Steve Baker and Sajid Javid. Mr Johnson’s tenure effectively ended on Thursday when he announced his resignation from the post, saying he would remain in the role until a replacement was found.

His time as Prime Minister began with a resounding victory in the 2019 election, where his Conservative Party won a landslide majority against Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.

Although he has achieved a number of successes in government, including “finishing Brexit” and his support for Ukraine in its long-running conflict with Russia, critics have attacked him on a number of issues, such as his record during the coronavirus pandemic.

And a new BBC podcast called Boris will aim to shed even more light on the outgoing Prime Minister as those closest to him debate what kind of politician he really is.

Promoting the series on BBC Breakfast this morning was its host Adam Fleming, who talked about how the podcast was made and what to expect from it.

Boris Johnson: ‘Characteristics born in the moment’ as PM’s past life as ‘fool’ revealed (Image: GETTY)

Adam Fleming

Adam Fleming (Image: BBC)

Mr Fleming said: “It was very interesting. So at the same time we were reporting on Boris Johnson’s resignation and that speech outside Downing Street where he took such a lighthearted stance.

“But at the same time, making this new series for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds about his story as a man, you suddenly understand where that attitude comes from.

“He lived his whole life in a pretty chaotic environment with a lot of very bad, difficult things happening to him and people abandoning him and he abandoning other people. And all the time he just lived for hire.

“So that’s why ‘they break’, that’s why he said that. That’s how it was all his life.”

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Boris Johnson walks his dog

Boris Johnson walks his dog (Image: BBC)

But as the series began to take shape, Mr Fleming admitted that some of the revelations about what Mr Johnson was like, particularly as a child, were “quite strange, to be honest”.

Among Mr. Fleming’s conversations with Andrew Gimson, Mr. Johnson’s biographer.

During the podcast discussion, Mr Gimson reportedly thought he had “defined the exact moment of birth of the Boris character we all know”.

Mr Fleming continued: “It was at school, at Eton, and he was doing a play and he forgot his lines on something like the third word of his first line, and he ended up joking with the man backstage who was prompting him.

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Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson (Image: GETTY)

“And the house collapsed, including the director.

“Everybody was laughing, and I think it’s pretty convincing to say that was the moment where the whole character was really born.”

Finally, Mr. Fleming mentioned some other anecdotes which showed how Mr. Johnson’s character had evolved into the man the nation sees today.

He added: “It’s interesting that up until this point it wasn’t necessarily exactly who Boris Johnson really was.

Boris Johnson family tree

Boris Johnson family tree (Image: EXPRESS)

“He seems to have been quite shy. For the first eight or nine years of his life, he was a weakling and did not have good hearing.

“And he told Michael Cockrill that his favorite thing to do as a kid was to get on the London Underground, by himself, go to the British Museum, sit in a corner and just read a book.”

Johnson is expected to stay on as leader until October, when the Conservatives can announce who will replace him.

Mr Sunak is now many bookmakers’ favorites to become prime minister, while others including Ben Wallace, Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat are also well placed.

Coral’s John Hill said: “Since Rishi announced his campaign, investors have been keen to back the chancellor to win the Conservative leadership race.”

“Sunak is now the clear favourite, ahead of Ben Wallace and Penny Mordaunt respectively.”



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