Born in New York City to wealthy upper-middle class English parents, Johnson was educated at the European School of Brussels, Ashdown House School, and Eton College. He read Classics at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was elected president of the Oxford Union in 1986. He began his career in journalism at The Times but was sacked for falsifying a quotation. He later became The Daily Telegraph's Brussels correspondent, with his articles exerting a strong influence on growing Eurosceptic sentiment among the British right-wing. He was assistant editor from 1994 to 1999 before taking the editorship of The Spectator from 1999 to 2005. Joining the Conservatives, he was elected MP for Henley in 2001, and under party leaders Michael Howard and David Cameron he was in the Shadow Cabinet. He largely adhered to the Conservatives' party line but adopted a more socially liberal stance on issues like LGBT rights in parliamentary votes. Making regular television appearances, writing books, and remaining active in journalism, Johnson became one of the most conspicuous politicians in the United Kingdom.