Boris Johnson won the Conservative party leadership race in the UK Tuesday afternoon, setting him up to become the next Prime Minister.
A party official, Dame Gillan, announced that Johnson had defeated his opponent, current foreign affairs minister Jeremy Hunt, by a margin of 66% to 34%, with 92,153 votes to Hunt’s 46,656.
Johnson, the American-born former Mayor of London and ex-foreign affairs minister who resigned from the Theresa May government last year, was former Mayor of London and ex-foreign affairs minister.
In his victory speech Tuesday afternoon, Johnson said his government and the Conservative party would now be charged with “delivering Brexit, uniting the country, and defeating Jeremy Corbyn” – hinting that snap elections could be in the offing.
President Donald Trump congratulated Johnson, tweeting “Congratulations to Boris Johnson on becoming the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He will be great!”
Hunt, Johnson’s successor at the foreign office, had refused to commit to pulling out of the EU in 2019, saying he would favor completing a deal with the EU even if it would require a “few more parliamentary days” beyond the current October 31st deadline.
But Hunt had also tried to reassure Brexiteers within the Conservative party that if there does not appear to be a viable path to a deal which can be accepted by both the EU and the British Parliament, he is prepared to pursue a “no-deal Brexit”.
Incumbent Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation as premier on May 24th, after Parliament repeatedly voted down Brexit deals with the EU.
One-hundred-and-sixty thousand Conservative party members were subsequently called upon to select a new party chief – and new premier – in a seven-week voting period which ended on Monday.
May is expected to submit her formal resignation as Prime Minister on Wednesday, paving the way for Johnson’s inauguration as premier at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday.
The party is preparing for a possible snap election this fall as senior Conservative officials resign from the government in protest of a “no-deal Brexit”.
The Johnson government will also likely be confronted with a diminished majority in the House of Commons, with the Conservatives expected to lose a by-election next month.