LONDON: Former London mayor Boris Johnson on Tuesday won the race to become Britain’s next prime minister, defeating Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative Party leadership contest.
Johnson defeated Hunt by 92,153 votes to 46,656 votes cast by members of the Conservative party. He will officially replace outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday when she formally tenders her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
Following his victory on Tuesday, Johnson vowed to “get Brexit done” by the twice-delayed October 31 deadline.
“We’re going to get Brexit done on October 31,” Johnson said moments after being declared the winner of the Conservative party leadership race.
Three years after the referendum vote to leave the European Union, Britain remains a member, after twice delaying its exit amid continued wrangling in a divided parliament – and the country – on how to proceed.
Johnson led the 2016 Brexit campaign and has said the latest deadline of October 31 must be kept, with or without a divorce agreement with the EU.
But Brussels says it will not renegotiate the deal it struck with May, which was designed to ease the end of a 46-year partnership but which MPs have rejected.
A majority of lawmakers are against a “no-deal” Brexit, including many of Johnson’s colleagues.
Three cabinet ministers have already said they will not serve under Johnson, saying that severing ties with Britain’s closest trading partner with no new arrangements is deeply irresponsible.
The government’s official forecaster said last week that Britain will slide into a year-long recession should it leave the EU without a deal.