How a ex-Rastafarian’s talk at a Prayer Breakfast ended Boris Johnson’s Prime Ministership

Boris Johnson

Bishop Graham Kings, a Church of England evangelical leader, is serialising his memoirs in The Living Church, a US-based magazine that straddles the episcopal church and the Breakaway Anglican Church of North America.

He’s up to writing about his first church appointment – shunning a university church, he opts for a working-class parish in London where he has a steady flow of guests in their end-of-terrace house. One was “Les Isaac, a young Black evangelist and great friend of mine.

At a youth club Kings founded they “listened, fascinated, to the story of Les’s life. He had been a violent youth and then had become a serious Rastafarian with long dreadlocks, spending his time smoking ganja and reasoning from the Bible.

“Les’s world was shattered in 1974 when he saw his Messiah and God, Haile Selassie, on the News at Ten, ignoring the poor in Ethiopia. Soon after that a friend, who had recently become a Christian, spoke to him in the street and one night, in his room, he knelt and decided to be a follower of Jesus, who really was good news to the poor. That night he cut his dreadlocks and hurled his valuable ganja right out of the window. Then he started going around youth clubs, in his spare time, sharing this good news, and became a pastor in the Church of God of Prophecy.

“In 2003 Les founded Street Pastors, an extraordinary movement of Christian volunteers who serve young people coming out of nightclubs. He invited me to preach at the London Graduation of Street Pastors, in Brixton, on November 19, 2016, and at a managers and coordinators meeting, in Kennington, on July 14, 2017. On February 19, 2017, he was appointed an ecumenical canon of Southwark Cathedral.

“It was Les’s address on “Serving the Common Good” at the National Prayer Breakfast in Parliament on July 5, 2022, that precipitated the downfall of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Sajid Javid said live on BBC TV (July 10, 2022) that it was Les’s mention of the importance of integrity in public life which strengthened his resolve to resign that evening as Secretary of State for Health. This triggered the resignations of Rishi Sunak as Chancellor of the Exchequer a few minutes later, and then of more than 50 other members of the government.”

Image:Boris Johnson Credit: Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing St