In Pictures: Boris Johnson’s two years as PM marked by unprecedented challenges
The Prime Minister took the reins of office in a Brexit-fixated country but coronavirus would soon present a crisis like no other.
When Boris Johnson accepted the Queen’s invitation to form a government in 2019, it was on the basis that the UK needed to “get Brexit done” with political trench warfare over the manner of departure from the EU dominating his predecessor Theresa May’s time at No 10.
The incoming premier duly won a resounding Christmas election on a clear promise to sever ties with the bloc in line with the 2016 referendum result but, as he celebrated victory, he cannot have imagined how his life both political and personal would take a dramatic turn as 2020 dawned.
Three months later he would be imposing the most draconian restrictions in history on the UK in a bid to get to grips with the coronavirus crisis, although in the eyes of some of his critics his action was too slow and not strict enough.
His admission to hospital and then intensive care in what he later admitted was a close-run brush with death was swiftly followed by the birth of his son Wilfred.
He would, in 2021, tie the knot in Westminster Cathedral with Wilfred’s mother Carrie Symonds after presiding over a huge vaccine drive he saw as key to a return to normality for Britons.
Brexit had been a divisive issue for the Conservative Party and divisions remained deep even after the 2016 referendum but the Prime Minister left no doubt to voters that he was committed to his “oven-ready” deal to leave as he prepared for the verdict during the 2019 general election campaign.
With some of the opposition parties supporting Remain, and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour itself experiencing divisions on the issue, Mr Johnson presented a stark and clear message to the voters that the UK would exit the bloc if he was elected.
With victory in the bag and Mr Corbyn defeated, Mr Johnson might have been forgiven for expecting a political honeymoon but slowly emerging news of a novel form of virus in China would change his own life dramatically and also that of the nation.
Just three months after his election, Mr Johnson would be laying down prohibitions unprecedented in living memory for any Briton as the virus now known as Covid-19 spread around the world.
On a personal level, with his partner Ms Symonds pregnant, Mr Johnson tested positive himself, was admitted to hospital and then intensive care as his health deteriorated.
The round-the-clock care worked although others in the Cabinet had to take over the daily business of government.
The daily Downing Street conferences became a feature of UK life with the Prime Minister, when he led the briefing, often flanked by chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
Constant changes were announced with tier systems and then a return to full lockdown announced as the virus continued unabated.
However, the fast-moving development of vaccines meant that the Government at last had a means of confronting the virus even if it not a winning one yet.
With a road map setting out what the Prime Minister hoped would be a return to “normality”, postponed elections took place with Mr Johnson again an enthusiastic campaigner while the upcoming G7 summit would give Mr Johnson a chance for in-person meetings with world leaders with much diplomacy having taken place remotely as the pandemic surged.
While he had been denied a political honeymoon, he had also been able to seal his union with his third wife, Carrie, the mother of Wilfred.
By June, Mr Johnson was able to hold a face-to-face meeting with the Queen who herself had been in self-isolation in the so-called HMS Bubble, made up of a small group of courtiers.
There was another return to normality when Mr Johnson hosted world leaders in Cornwall that month for the G7 summit.
As his anniversary as Tory leader approached, the fallout from his explosive split with former chief aide Dominic Cummings continued to have an impact.
In an explosive interview with the BBC Mr Cummings – who left No 10 in the autumn after a power struggle – accused Mr Johnson of not having a plan and alleged that he “doesn’t know how to be Prime Minister”.
Meanwhile, the celebrations to mark his two-year anniversary as PM were likely to be muted this weekend after Mr Johnson was alerted to self-isolate after being a close contact of the Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who himself came down with Covid-19 a week earlier.