Boris Johnson is UK’s next Prime Minister


Boris Johnson is UK's next Prime Minister
Boris Johnson, a leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Party, leaves his office in London, Britain July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

In Summary

  • Johnson - known for his ambition, mop of blonde hair, flowery oratory and cursory command of policy detail - takes office at one of the most tumultuous junctures in post-World War Two British history.

Boris Johnson has defeated Jeremy Hunt in the race to be the Conservative party leader and will be Britain’s next prime minister.

The frontrunner will now make his first speech as Conservative leader, before taking over as PM on Wednesday.

He won the contest in resounding fashion, earning 92,153 votes to Jeremy Hunt’s 46,656. That’s a predictably comfortable victory for the long-time favorite.

His victory catapults the United Kingdom towards a Brexit showdown with the EU and towards a constitutional crisis at home, as British lawmakers have vowed to bring down any government that tries to leave the bloc without a divorce deal.

May will leave office on Wednesday after going to Buckingham Palace to see Queen Elizabeth, who will formally appoint Johnson before he enters Downing Street.

The result is a spectacular victory for one of Britain’s most flamboyant politicians, and places an avowed Brexit supporter in charge of the government for the first time since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU in the shock 2016 referendum.

But Johnson – known for his ambition, mop of blonde hair, flowery oratory and cursory command of policy detail – takes office at one of the most tumultuous junctures in post-World War Two British history.

DIVIDED KINGDOM

The 2016 Brexit referendum showed a United Kingdom divided about much more than the European Union, and has fueled soul-searching about everything from regional secession and immigration to capitalism, the legacy of empire, and modern Britishness.

Brexit, which has already toppled two Conservative prime ministers, will dominate.

Johnson has pledged to negotiate a new Brexit divorce deal with the EU to secure before Oct. 31. But if the bloc refuses, as it insists it will, he has promised to leave anyway – “do or die” – on Halloween.

It is a step that many investors and economists say would send shock waves through world markets and tip the world’s fifth largest economy into recession or even chaos.

A Brexit without a divorce deal would also weaken London’s position as the pre-eminent international financial center while jolting the northern European economy.

Report from CNN and Reuters

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