Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is prime minister-designate of the United Kingdom.
The former mayor of London swept to a convincing victory over Jeremy Hunt Tuesday, after securing the backing of ardent Brexiters including Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker.
Johnson won 66% of the votes – 92,153, to Hunt’s 46,656. Turnout was 87.4% among the Tory party’s 159,320 eligible members.
But with a wafer-thin majority in the House of Commons, he will need the backing of colleagues from both sides of the divide to get a Brexit deal through parliament.
Boris Johnson will underline his determination to unite a fractured and demoralised Conservative party and deliver Brexit by October 31 as he achieves his long-cherished ambition of becoming Britain’s prime minister.
The new Tory leader has already begun “love-bombing” sceptical centre-ground MPs as Theresa May prepared to leave No 10 Downing Street after three fraught years.
“He is at heart a one-nation Tory. That’s who he is and that’s how he’ll govern,” insisted a Johnson ally.
As he begins to assemble his cabinet, with perhaps up to a dozen key appointments on Wednesday, Johnson will seek to highlight the diverse nature of his top team. ”
Most closely watched will be the job of chancellor, with former leadership contender Sajid Javid and early Johnson backer Liz Truss both in the frame. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, is also hoping to be generously rewarded for swinging behind Johnson after dropping out of the contest himself.
In his acceptance speech, Johnson said his task “at this pivotal moment in our history” would be to “reconcile two noble sets of instincts – between the deep desire for friendship and free trade and mutual support and security and defence between Britain and our European partners; and the simultaneous desire, equally heartfelt, for democratic self-government in this country.”
His attempt to strike a moderate tone was dealt a blow by Donald Trump, however, as the U.S. president labelled the former mayor of London “Britain’s Trump”..
“He’s tough and he’s smart …They’re calling him Britain’s Trump. And people are saying that’s a good thing. They like me over there,” he said.
Some U.K. ministers are expected to resign following Johnson’s victory.
Alan Duncan resigned as a foreign office minister on Monday to seek a Commons vote that could have prevented Boris Johnson from becoming prime minister. Duncan said he could not serve under Johnson, whom he has previously described as a “circus act”, and asked speaker John Bercow to test whether the former foreign secretary would command the confidence of the house as prime minister. The speaker rejected his call.
On Tuesday, the first of the day came before the announcement of Johnson’s victory, with education minister Ann Milton resigning.
–With agency reports