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Wolverhampton turned me into Tory, reveals Boris

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Boris Johnson's experience as an Express & Star reporter turned him into a Conservative, the London mayor has revealed.

Boris Johnson's experience as an Express & Star reporter turned him into a Conservative, the London mayor has revealed.

Mr Johnson once worked briefly as a reporter in the Black Country when he was a trainee journalist on The Times in the 1980s. The posh Oxford graduate was sent to the West Midlands by his editor to learn how to be a reporter.

In an interview with the New York Times, the recently re-elected Mayor of London revealed it was his experience reporting in areas like Wolverhampton that made him who he is.

Asked if he could remember the moment he knew he was a Conservative, Mr Johnson replied: "When I was a 22 or 23-year-old reporter in a place called Wolverhampton.

"I got impatient with some of the stuff I saw going on about damp and mould, about who is ultimately responsible for improving the ventilation in people's houses.

"I felt that people were being infantilised and made dependent by the system and that the local Labour politicians had no interest in sorting it out, were content to harvest these people's votes without improving their lives.

"It was the spores of damp, of mould forming on the walls in Wolverhampton."

Mr Johnson spent three months with the Express & Star in 1987 and 1988.

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He lodged with "a woman called Brenda" near Bilston, according to a biography published in 2006.

The young Boris Johnson was a far cry from the average E&S reporter. Colleagues recalled he favoured wide-lapelled chalkstripe suits and silk ties.

After one week as a management consultant, he had managed to get a job on The Times thanks to his connections before being told he needed work experience on a regional newspaper to learn what the job was really like.

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