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Balliol Boris celebration on hold

Balliol College have few plans to celebrate Boris Johnson, who read Classics as an undergraduate at the college, moving into Downing Street.

The college’s July newsletter contained a short item recognising that Johnson is now at Number 10, although Balliol are not currently planning to celebrate the success of their fourth Prime Minister in other ways.

The newsletter’s headline article focused instead on the access and outreach work of the college, describing ways in which Balliol is attempting to “encourage students from groups under-represented at Oxford to apply.”

Unlike the previous alumni – Herbert Asquith, Harold Macmillan and Edward Heath – there are no plans to hang a portrait of Mr. Johnson in college yet.

Balliol told Cherwell: “It is a longstanding College Policy that we do not display portraits of currently serving politicians.”

Mr. Johnson attended Balliol from 1983 to 1987, graduating with an upper second-class degree. It has been widely reported that he was deeply unhappy not being awarded a first.

Alongside his studies, Johnson played rugby for Balliol, co-edited the university’s satirical magazine Tributary and was President of the Oxford Union for a term in 1986.

He joined the Bullingdon Club, an upper-class drinking society dominated by Old Etonians and with a reputation for colourful behaviour.

It was also whilst at Balliol that Johnson first started dating Allegra Mostyn-Owen, his first wife. They became engaged at Oxford and married shortly after leaving.

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