Former London Mayor and Prime Minister Theresa May’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson won a party vote yesterday to become the Conservative Party leader and prime minister. He defeated Tory Member of Parliament Jeremy Hunt by nearly 2-1.
Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt said he was “very disappointed”, but Mr Johnson would do “a great job”. He said he had “total, unshakeable confidence in our country” and that was a valuable quality at such a challenging time.
Mr Hunt added: “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.
“In retrospect, that was a hurdle we were never able to overcome.”
US President Donald Trump also sent his congratulations to Mr Johnson, tweeting: “He will be great!”
Almost 160,000 Conservative members were eligible to vote and turnout was 87.4%.
Johnson has always been a “hard” Brexit man and has indicated that the deal struck by Prime Minister May with the EU on Great Britain’s exit is “dead.” He has also said that the country would leave the EU on October 31, “do or die.” This means it is very likely that Great Britain will exit the European Union without a formal agreement.
Two of May’s cabinet members who oppose a no-deal Brexit resigned yesterday.
Education Minister Anne Milton tweeted her resignation just half an hour before the leadership result was due to be revealed, insisting the UK “must leave the EU in a responsible manner”.
And International Development Secretary Rory Stewart confirmed he would be returning to the backbenches, where he would be spending more time “serving Cumbria” and “walking”.
No one knows what a “responsible manner” of leaving the EU means. But the uncertainty of a no-deal Brexit could dramatically effect the British economy.
Johnson seems unconcerned:
Speaking at the Queen Elizabeth II centre in London, he said: “We are going to energise the country.
“We are going to get Brexit done on 31 October and 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.”
If confidence alone could pull off a successful exit from the EU for Great Britain, Johnson could become the man of the century. His personality, his optimism, and his belief in his country are not being questioned. Facing off with the EU to get a deal done by October 31 is.
Johnson has been criticized for having an outsized ego in the past, and is considered by some as something of a loose cannon. But no one doubts his energy or commitment to the cause of bringing back a moribund economy by unleashing the energies of the people, free from the shackles imposed by Brussels.