Boris Johnson to be UK's new prime minister, vows 'to get Brexit done', Latest World News - The New Paper

Boris Johnson to be UK's new prime minister, vows 'to get Brexit done'

This article is more than 12 months old

He vows to 'get Brexit done on Oct 31' and will leave the EU with or without a deal

LONDON : Mr Boris Johnson, the Brexiteer who has promised to lead Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal by the end of October, will replace Mrs Theresa May as prime minister after winning the leadership of the Conservative Party yesterday.

His victory catapults Britain towards a 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.

Mr Johnson, the face of the 2016 Brexit referendum, won the votes of 92,153 members of the Conservative party, almost twice the 46,656 won by his rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

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

"We are going to get Brexit done on Oct 31, and we are going to take advantage of all the opportunities it will bring in a new spirit of 'can do'," Mr Johnson said after the result was announced.

"Like some slumbering giant, we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity."

Mr Johnson said the mantra of his leadership campaign had been to "deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat (opposition Labour leader) Jeremy Corbyn - and that is what we are going to do".

Within half an hour of his victory, US President Donald Trump had tweeted his congratulations, adding: "He will be great."

The men have recently been complimentary about each other - yet Mr Trump is one of the many world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, about whom Mr Johnson has previously made derogatory remarks.

In 2015, he accused Mr Trump of "stupefying ignorance" that made him unfit to be president.

The victory for one of Britain's most flamboyant politicians places an avowed Brexit supporter in charge of the government for the first time since Britain voted to leave the EU in the shock 2016 referendum.

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

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

Brexit has already toppled two Conservative prime ministers.

Mr Johnson has pledged to negotiate a new Brexit divorce deal with the EU to secure a smooth transition out of the EU before Oct 31. But if the bloc refuses, as it insists it will, he has promised to leave anyway - "do or die" - on the current agreed date of Oct 31.

It is a step 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. - REUTERS