As Boris Johnson leaves no.10 to be replaced by Liz Truss, we explore the length of his term in office and where he ranks in terms of the longest and shortest terms held by UK Prime Ministers.
Boris Johnson has been the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since his predecessor Theresa May left the role following complications surrounding a Brexit agreement.
After roles as Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary, Johnson beat ex-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in a Conservative Leadership Race, cementing his position as the country’s chief politician.
How long was Boris Johnson Prime Minister?
On July 7 this year, Johnson announced his official resignation as PM, conceding that “no one is remotely indispensable” in politics as he delivered an exit speech to the awaiting press.
His resignation came after various scandals, most notably the lockdown gathering scandal dubbed ‘partygate’, which saw Johnson fined by the police for breaching Covid restrictions.
Johnson’s tenure as Prime Minister began on July 24, 2019, and officially concluded yesterday, September 6 2022, meaning Boris Johnson was Prime Minister for three years and 44 days.
This ranks him as the 32nd longest serving Prime Minister in UK history, two places ahead of prior PM May who lasted 35 days less than Johnson.
Which UK Prime Minister held the shortest term in office?
Now, if you want to be pedantic about it, technically Truss is Prime Minister with the shortest term having only served one day of her tenure.
However, the Prime Minister that has actually had the shortest term in the UK is George Canning who was appointed as leader on April 12, 1827.
He took over from Robert Jenkinson, the 2nd Earl of Liverpool, who was forced to resign in the wake of complications arising from a stroke he had suffered.
Unfortunately for Canning, he followed down a similar route to Jenkinson and his term as Prime Minister came to an end when he passed away on August 8, 1827 due to Tuberculosis complications.
His term as Prime Minister was the shortest in UK history, lasting just 119 days.
Which Prime Minister had the longest term in the UK?
Now modern-day Prime Ministers tend to last anywhere between three and ten years but, back in the day, being PM was a much more long-term commitment.
The Prime Minister that has held the longest term in the UK is Robert Walpole, the 1st Earl of Orford. He was first appointed in 1721 and went on to serve no less than 20 years and 314 days.
Fun fact, Walpole’s tenure as PM lasted longer than Mhairi Black had been alive for when she became the youngest modern-day Member of Parliament in 2015.
The UK Prime Minister with the longest term that was actually witnessed by people still alive today is Margaret Thatcher, who managed 11 years and 208 days.