Britain has a new Prime Minister as of this week. Boris Johnson will be taking the top office at Downing Street after a recent vote by the Conservative Party. Johnson’s first and main challenge will be reuniting a divided party and nation over Brexit; something outed Prime Minister Theresa May was unable to do.
The 53-year-old Johnson is a former journalist and mayor of London. He was a key figure in the initial success of 2016’s original Brexit initiative. Johnson’s latest victory was decisive, he topped competitor Jeremy Hunt by almost twice the number of votes to secure the top office. The UK reports a vote of 92,153 for Johnson to just 46,656 for Hunt. The vote was held within the Conservative Party, not in the country at large, so just 139,000 people voted — per tradition in the United Kingdom. This has led to backlash from those left out of the voting process and leads to a uphill fight for Johnson as he takes over the party and the position of Prime Minister.
Here in the United States, President Donald Trump is on the record as a Johnson supporter. The President is also in favor of Brexit, so he sees these results as both support of Brexit and as confirmation of his own popularity in Britain.
“He’s tough and he’s smart. They say the British Trump. They say that’s a good thing. They like me over there. That’s what they wanted. He’ll get it done. Boris is good,” Trump said.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the left-wing Labour party, was swift to complain on Twitter.
“Boris Johnson has won the support of fewer than 100,000 unrepresentative Conservative Party members by promising tax cuts for the richest, presenting himself as the bankers’ friend, and pushing for a damaging No Deal Brexit,” he wrote. “But he hasn’t won the support of our country.”
Johnson will be able to get to work right away.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May has formally resigned. Johnson in turn is heading to Buckingham Palace to formally meet with Queen Elizabeth II. Once he assumes office, Johnson will be the 14th Prime Minister approved by the Queen during her long reign as leader.
Brexit is not the only issue facing the incoming Johnson; once he is officially approved, he will need to attend to not just this issue, but ongoing problems with Iran. Johnson inherits ongoing Iran related talks and questions about Britain’s support of sanctions on Iran designed to prevent the further development of nuclear weapons.
Johnson is reportedly unconcerned about the daunting circumstances he faces, and the outing of his predecessor for a lack of action on Brexit. He cheerfully spoke to the press, highlighting his eagerness to proceed and ensure that the Brexit initiative is a success. Expect to see Johnson in the news as Brexit proceeds and the flamboyant and outspoken politician moves into the official residence at Downing Street.