FORMER mayor of London Boris Johnson has been elected as the new leader of the UK’s Conservative Party and is due to be sworn-in as prime minister tomorrow after coasting him in the party’s just-concluded leadership election.
This morning, the results of the leadership election were announced, with Mr Johnson securing 92,153 votes, about double that of his rival Jeremy Hunt, who got 46,656 votes. In his victory speech, delivered at the Queen Elizabeth II centre in London, Mr Johnson promised he would deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Johnson said: “We are going to energise the country, we are going to get Brexit done on 31 October and we are going to take advantage of all the opportunities it will bring with a new spirit of can-do. We are once again going to believe in ourselves and like some slumbering giant, we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity.”
In his speech, Mr Johnson thanked his predecessor, Theresa May, saying it had been a privilege to serve in her cabinet as foreign secretary. Mrs May in turn congratulated her successor, promising him her full support from the backbenches, while Mr Hunt, the foreign secretary, said Mr Johnson would be a great prime minister for the country at this critical moment.
US President Donald Trump also sent his congratulations to Mr Johnson and the two are expected to forge a close relationship. Both men share a hardline rightwing agenda that is opposed to multilateral organisations like the European Union and both are passionate believers in Brexit.
Almost 160,000 Conservative members were eligible to vote in the leadership election and turnout was 87.4%. Mr Johnson’s share of the vote, which stood at 66.4%, was slightly lower than that garnered by David Cameron in the 2005 Tory leadership election when he got 67.6%.
Currently the Member of Parliament for Uxbridge, Mr Johnson was the clear favourite throughout the contest but a number of senior figures have already said they will not serve under him. Education minister Anne Milton tweeted her resignation just half an hour before the leadership result was due to be revealed.
She joins the likes of chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond, justice secretary David Gauke and international development secretary Rory Stewart who have all said they disagree too strongly with Mr Johnson’s Brexit strategy to work closely with him. However, the European Commission’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said he was looking forward to working with Mr Johnson to facilitate the ratification of the withdrawal.
Mr Johnson has previously said the agreement Mrs May reached with the EU was dead, adding that the UK will leave the European Union (EU) 31 October 31,do-or-die, pointing out that a no-deal Brexit will happen if a new agreement cannot be reached by then. Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit co-ordinator, said the assembly would hold an extraordinary meeting tomorrow in response to Mr Johnson’s election.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Mr Johnson had won the support of fewer than 100,000 unrepresentative Conservative Party members but has not won the support of our country. Newly-elected Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, added that Mr Johnson had shown time and time again that he is not fit to be the prime minister of the country.