Boris Johnson, former UK foreign minister and former mayor of London has won the Conservative leadership contest, setting him up to be Britain’s new prime minister.
Which means the onetime unofficial face of Brexit will soon have the responsibility of steering the United Kingdom through its messy divorce with the European Union.
Johnson cruised through the Conservative leadership contest that began last month, his victory over his opponent, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, never really in doubt.
Johnson entered the race as the clear frontrunner and easily got the backing of Conservative members of Parliament and the approximately 160,000 party voters — the 0.25 percent of Brits who ultimately got to choose the country’s next leader.
Boris Johnson is expected to takes over as the prime minister on July 24 with the latest Brexit deadline just about three months away, on October 31. And besides a change in leadership — Theresa May out, Johnson in — not much else has shifted. The UK is still divided over how, or whether, to break up with the EU, and May’s original, unpopular deal is still the only one on offer from Brussels.
Johnson, a vocal proponent of Brexit, has said he will renegotiate May’s Brexit deal. The problem is that the EU has said it will not renegotiate, and Johnson’s plan to break the impasse primarily relies on ideas the EU has already rejected and the power of positive thinking.
Johnson has vowed that the UK will leave the European Union on October 31, though, with or without a deal. Time will tell whether that’s mostly campaign bluster or a real strategy, but Johnson has been much more willing to publicly stake out that position.