Boris Johnson on Tuesday was elected leader of Britain’s governing Conservative Party and the country’s next prime minister, tasked with following through on his “do or die” pledge to deliver Brexit in just over three months time.
Johnson and his rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, spent the last month crisscrossing the country seeking to win over the less than 200,000 Conservative Party members who chose Britain’s new leader.
Johnson garnered 92,153 votes and Hunt 46,656, according to BBC. Voting closed on Monday and the result was announced on Tuesday morning. Johnson will formally take over as prime minister on Wednesday afternoon, succeeding Theresa May who stepped down over her failure to get parliament to ratify her Brexit deal. May pledged “full support” to Johnson in a congratulatory tweet.
The victory is a triumph for the 55-year-old Johnson, an ambitious but erratic politician whose political career has veered between periods in high office and spells on the sidelines.
Finance Minister Philip Hammond and two other cabinet ministers have already announced they will step down, as has junior foreign minister Alan Duncan.
Johnson, a former London mayor who resigned as foreign minister a year ago over May’s Brexit plans, was the clear favourite to replace May, with several polls putting him on around 70 percent.
“We will of course be pushing our plan into action, and getting ready to come out on October 31st, come what may […] do or die, come what may,” Johnson told TalkRadio last month.
Johnson is not likely to start announcing key ministerial appointments until Wednesday. Brexit without a divorce deal — as anti-EU hardliners would like — would abruptly wrench the world’s fifth largest economy away from the bloc. Critics say this would undermine global growth, buffet financial markets and weaken London’s position as the pre-eminent international financial center.— Reuters