Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and former foreign secretary to Theresa May, trounced current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt by a 66 percent to 34 percent margin on Tuesday to win the Conservative (Tory) Party’s leadership vote. Johnson will take over the reins at Number 10 Downing Street, replacing May, who failed to deliver Brexit to the nation, which voted to leave the European Union in 2016.
Without another extension, the new Tory leader will have only 100 days to deliver Brexit as the next “leave” date is set for October 31 of this year.
“We know the mantra of the campaign just gone by — deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat (leader of the Labour Party) Jeremy Corbyn and that’s what we’re going to do,” Johnson told supporters in the wake of his victory. “Some wag has already pointed out ‘deliver, unite and defeat’ was not the best slogan because it spells out ‘dud.’ But they forgot the final E — for energize!”
“I say to my doubters — DUDE, we’re going to get Brexit done by October 31.”
Johnson’s election was not a general election by citizens of Great Britain, but rather a leadership choice by approximately 160,000 Conservative voters across the U.K. Barring any more leadership changes, Great Britain’s next general election is scheduled for 2022.
Among the first international leader to congratulate Johnson was President Trump. “Congratulations to Boris Johnson on becoming the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He will be great,” the president tweeted.
Later, while speaking at a Turning Point USA rally, the president laid more praise on Johnson. “A really good man is going to be the PM of the UK now. Boris Johnson. He’s good and he’s tough,” Trump said. “They call him Britain’s Trump.”
“That’s what they need,” the president concluded. “He’ll get it done. Boris is good.”
Johnson will officially become the prime minister tomorrow when Theresa May travels to Buckingham Palace, formally resigns, and advises Queen Elizabeth on who her successor should be. That successor is always the party leader who commands the most support in the House of Commons. According to the vote, that person is Johnson.
Johnson thanked May for her service and said it had been “a privilege to serve in her cabinet.” Johnson was May’s foreign secretary until he resigned last July when her Brexit Deal was first publicized. Calling May’s deal a “betrayal,” Johnson resigned, along with several others, to get May to reconsider the deal — something she never did.
May, who will return to the House of Commons, promised Johnson “full support from the backbenches.”
Johnson’s opponent, Jeremy Hunt, will almost certainly face a demotion from his current post as foreign secretary when Johnson forms his government. Hunt, who was a “remain” supporter in 2016, said he was “very disappointed” but believed that Johnson will “do a great job.”
“It was always going to be uphill for us because I was someone who voted Remain and I think lots of party members felt that this was a moment when you just had to have someone who voted for Brexit in the referendum,” Hunt said.
“In retrospect, that was a hurdle we were never able to overcome.”
European reaction to Johnson’s victory was congratulatory but cautious. EU Commission spokesperson Natasha Bertaud relayed EU President Jean-Claude Juncker’s congratulations. “President Juncker, who is in Malta today, wants me to extend his congratulations to Boris Johnson on his appointment as the leader of the Conservative and Unionists’ Party and the next prime minister of the United Kingdom. The president wants to work with the new prime minister in the best way possible.”
But Frans Timmermans, the first vice president of the European Commission, warned that the EU was not about to renegotiate a new deal with the U.K. And Johnson, while preferring to leave with a deal in place, would definitely consider leaving on October 31 without a deal.
“A no-deal Brexit, a hard Brexit, would be a tragedy — for all sides, not just for the United Kingdom,” Timmermans said. “We are all going to suffer if that happens.”
Timmermans urged Johnson not to abandon the deal Theresa May negotiated. “The United Kingdom reached an agreement with the European Union and the European Union will stick to that agreement,” Timmermans declared. “We will hear what the new prime minister has to say when he comes to Brussels…. This is the best deal possible.”
If that’s the case, and Johnson is a man of his word, he should skip any trips to Brussels and focus on preparations for a no-deal Brexit. The “soft Brexit” that May negotiated was, ultimately, her downfall. Johnson was elected because of his hardline stance on getting Great Britain out of its globalist entanglement with the EU. And the current deal on the table leaves the United Kingdom inextricably linked to the EU.
Photo of Boris Johnson: U.S. Department of State