Boris Johnson has long been known for his shambolic nature. He wore slouchy suits to fancy dinners with heads of state. He hid from reporters in a walk-in fridge, and when he jumbled up his notes during a speech on the future of British industry he started extemporizing about the children’s cartoon Peppa Pig. He seems not to know how many children he has.

But aside from his ability to skirt the truth with athletic dexterity, the former prime minister’s most identifiable feature has for years been his unruly mop of bright-blond hair. Long believed to be just another manifestation of his overall thoughtlessness—perhaps hacked into shape by his wife, Carrie, with a bowl and a pair of blunt scissors—we now know that Johnson’s hair is, in fact, the work of a professional named Kelly Jo Dodge.

Or, as of last week, Kelly Jo Dodge, M.B.E.

On June 9, a year after he resigned from Parliament, Johnson released his honors list, a tradition by which an outgoing prime minister is allowed to reward his friends and allies with titles. Johnson’s announcement caused an uproar. Partly because several people on the list are implicated in the pandemic “Partygate” scandal, which forced him from office. And partly also because Johnson saw fit to honor his hairdresser for her “services to Parliament.”

The collective shock even led to whispers in Westminster that the diminutive blonde was granted the M.B.E. as a result of a steamy affair with her best-known customer. (Take this with a pinch of salt. Rumors of new Boris Johnson affairs crop up almost weekly. I have crunched the numbers and concluded that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for all of them to be true. Though one of them reportedly led to a black eye, courtesy of his then wife, Marina.)

Just how long Dodge—a fitting name for the stylist of a politician regularly compared to Oliver Twist’s Artful Dodger—has been styling Boris’s askew do is unknown, but considering the fact that he first became an M.P. in 2001, it’s probably been a while.

A hairdresser is seemingly an unlikely fit for an M.B.E., the honor usually being set aside to recognize contributions to the arts and sciences, charitable work, or public service. But it is possible that Dodge deserves a large share of the credit—or blame—for Johnson’s success in politics. After all, whenever I ask anybody why they voted for him, the answer is always the same: he looks like a fun guy.

Johnson has long been ridiculed for his unkempt hair. But has it been the secret to his political success all along?

The secret to this is all in the hair. What started as the butt of jokes became an integral part of his brand. Indeed, the hair is now as much of a recognizable trademark as Churchill’s cigar, Queen Elizabeth’s sweater sets, and Kim Kardashian’s backside.

Long thought to be just another manifestation of his overall thoughtlessness, we now know that Johnson’s hair is, in fact, the work of a professional.

Dodge, who is 52, started cutting hair during summer breaks from school, and worked briefly as a hairdresser on cruise ships before getting a job at the John Simon salon in Hampstead. In 1996, John Simon applied to be Parliament’s first unisex hair salon, and took the place of what used to be called the Commons barber. Dodge has been working there ever since.

If you can find the out-of-the-way salon, a men’s wash and cut with Dodge will set you back $31; a women’s cut costs $57. And since everyone pays the same price, regardless of station, at John Simon, we now know what Johnson spends to achieve his signature look. (Johnson is often called the Donald Trump of Britain, but this is where the comparison breaks down; Trump’s own tax returns revealed that he deducted $70,000 for hair-related expenses during his years on The Apprentice.)

An appointment with Dodge won’t break the bank, but you will have to book ahead. After 27 years in the salon, she has become something of a hot ticket. “It’s impossible to get a booking with her. She’s filled up weeks in advance because she has the best gossip,” said one lobby journalist. Another told me, “Many a political editor is known to get their hair cut there as a source of juicy sleaze, but they end up all looking like Buzz Aldrin.” (The hair salon is open not only to prime ministers and M.P.’s but to anyone who has access to the Houses of Parliament.)

Hair appointments have long been a combination of cosmetics and confession, but Dodge’s sessions are unmatched for headline-worthy chatter. After all, another thing Boris was renowned for was his loose lips. As Dodge told Parliament’s in-house magazine, “I hear everything, absolutely everything.”

Kara Kennedy is a columnist for The Spectator World