Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson arrives at Conservative party HQ in London, Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Brexit-hard-liner Boris Johnson, one of Britain’s most famous and divisive politicians, won the race to lead the governing Conservative Party on Tuesday, and will become the country’s next prime minister in a little over 24 hours. (Aaron Chown/PA via AP)

Brexit hard-liner Boris Johnson wins race to become UK’s next prime minister

The EU is adamant that the deal it struck with May will not be renegotiated

Brexit hard-liner Boris Johnson, one of Britain’s most famous and divisive politicians, won the race to lead the governing Conservative Party on Tuesday, and will become the next prime minister in a little over 24 hours.

Then he will have just over three months to make good on his promise to lead the country out of the European Union.

Johnson resoundingly defeated rival Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative leadership contest, winning two-thirds of the votes in a ballot of about 160,000 party members across the U.K. He will be installed as prime minister Wednesday in a formal handover from Theresa May.

In a brief speech to hundreds of party members and lawmakers gathered for the announcement, Johnson radiated optimism, pledging to “deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn,” leader of the opposition Labour Party.

“I think we know that we can do it, and that the people of this country are trusting in us to do it and we know that we will do it,” said Johnson, a former London mayor and foreign secretary.

“I say to all the doubters: Dude, we are going to energize the country, we are going to get Brexit done.”

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has praised Johnson in the past, tweeted his congratulations and said he will be “great.”

Trump has been very critical of May’s inability to achieve a Brexit deal and has said Johnson will do a better job.

Hunt, who trailed in the polls throughout the contest, said he was sure Johnson would “do a great job.”

“He’s got optimism, enthusiasm, he puts a smile on people’s face and he has total, unshakable confidence in our amazing country,” said Hunt, who is likely to be removed as foreign secretary by the new prime minister.

May stepped down after Parliament repeatedly rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with the 28-nation bloc.

READ MORE: What next? A new delay could prolong UK’s Brexit agony

Famed for his bravado, quips in Latin and blond mop of hair , Johnson wooed Conservatives by promising to succeed where May failed and lead the U.K. out of the EU on the scheduled date of Oct. 31 — with or without a divorce deal.

Johnson insists he can get the EU to renegotiate — something the bloc insists it won’t do. If not, he says Britain must leave the EU by the deadline, “come what may.”

Economists warn that a no-deal Brexit would disrupt trade and plunge the U.K. into recession . Fears that Britain is inching closer to crashing out of the bloc weighed on the pound once again Tuesday. The currency was down another 0.3 per cent at $1.2450, nearly a two-year low.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director of the Confederation of British Industry, said businesses needed a withdrawal agreement with the EU to restore confidence that has been badly shaken by uncertainty about the terms of Brexit.

“On Brexit, the new prime minister must not underestimate the benefits of a good deal,” she said.

The EU is adamant that the deal it struck with May will not be renegotiated.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said he looked forward “to working constructively” with the new Conservative leader “to facilitate the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

British lawmakers are due to start a six-week summer break on Friday. When they come back in September, Johnson looks set for a fight with Parliament over his plans.

He will preside over a House of Commons in which most members oppose leaving the EU without a deal, and where the Conservative Party lacks an overall majority.

Education Minister Anne Milton and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart on Tuesday became the latest ministers to announce they were quitting before they could be shuffled or demoted by Johnson.

They and others plan to resist any push for a no-deal Brexit.

“We’ll have to see what Boris can muster,” said Margot James, who quit last week as digital minister but remains a Conservative lawmaker. She said she doubted Johnson would be able to get a new Brexit deal by the deadline.

“The default position is leaving without a deal, and there is a significant majority in Parliament who will work very hard to sure that doesn’t happen. And I will be among that number.”

ALSO READ: Man found dead near Alberni teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

__

Associated Press writer Raf Casert in Brussels contributed.

__

Jill Lawless And Danica Kirka, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Ojibwe man marks completion of five-day ‘healing walk’ from Hope to Saanich

Claremont Secondary students join celebration in Cordova Bay

MISSING: Saanich police search for 18-year-old last seen Sept. 9

Robyn Coker-Steel has short purple hair, frequents downtown Victoria

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Saanich police encourage safe driving habits as rain leads to pooling on roadways

Slow down, inspect vehicle ahead of driving in wet autumn weather

Victoria police seek suspect in parkade break and enter

Cycling gear, tools reported stolen from vehicle, storage locker

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read