The Fall of Boris Johnson

Sebastian Payne

01 June 2023
320 pages


The Fall of Boris Johnson is the explosive inside account of how a prime minister lost his hold on power. From Sebastian Payne, former Whitehall Editor for the Financial Times and author of Broken Heartlands.

Winner of the Parlimentary Book Awards
A New Statesman, The Times, Daily Mail and FT Book of the Year
'Revelatory' – The Daily Telegraph
'Delicious detail' – The Times

Boris Johnson was touted as the saviour of the country and the Conservative Party, obtaining a huge commons majority and finally 'getting Brexit done'. But, within three short years, he was deposed in disgrace and left the country in crisis.

Sebastian Payne tells the essential behind-the-scenes story, charting the series of scandals that felled Johnson: from the blocked suspension of Owen Paterson, through partygate and the final death blow: the Chris Pincher allegations. This is the full narrative of the betrayals, rivalries and resignations that resulted in the dramatic Conservative coup – and set in motion those events that saw the party sink to catastrophic new lows.

With unparalleled access to those who were in the room when key decisions were made, Payne tells of the miscalculations and mistakes that led to Boris Johnson’s downfall. This is a gripping and timely look at how power is gained, wielded and lost in Britain today.

'Genuinely page-turning' – Andrew Marr
'Entertaining and illuminating' – Tim Shipman

An entertaining and illuminating fly on the wall romp through Boris Johnson's final nine months, where the fly, Seb Payne, must frequently have thought he was on hallucinogens. It's more fun than a Downing Street party and contains a suitcase full of news.
A timely reminder of the fine art of defenestration written by one of Fleet Street’s most trusted insiders. Delicious detail, break-neck pace and a curiosity which is both urgent yet empathetic. We are lucky to have Sebastian Payne. One of the finest of his generation.
A genuinely page-turning, gripping account of some of the most extraordinary days in modern British history. Very well sourced, this is a book historians will be turning to for a long time to come. The fall of emperors often seems a more interesting theme than their rise; Seb Payne triumphantly confirms it.