Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson arrives at Conservative party HQ in London, Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Brexit-hard-liner Boris Johnson, one of Britain’s most famous and divisive politicians, won the race to lead the governing Conservative Party on Tuesday, and will become the country’s next prime minister in a little over 24 hours. (Aaron Chown/PA via AP)

Brexit hard-liner Boris Johnson wins race to become UK’s next prime minister

The EU is adamant that the deal it struck with May will not be renegotiated

Brexit hard-liner Boris Johnson, one of Britain’s most famous and divisive politicians, won the race to lead the governing Conservative Party on Tuesday, and will become the next prime minister in a little over 24 hours.

Then he will have just over three months to make good on his promise to lead the country out of the European Union.

Johnson resoundingly defeated rival Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative leadership contest, winning two-thirds of the votes in a ballot of about 160,000 party members across the U.K. He will be installed as prime minister Wednesday in a formal handover from Theresa May.

In a brief speech to hundreds of party members and lawmakers gathered for the announcement, Johnson radiated optimism, pledging to “deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn,” leader of the opposition Labour Party.

“I think we know that we can do it, and that the people of this country are trusting in us to do it and we know that we will do it,” said Johnson, a former London mayor and foreign secretary.

“I say to all the doubters: Dude, we are going to energize the country, we are going to get Brexit done.”

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has praised Johnson in the past, tweeted his congratulations and said he will be “great.”

Trump has been very critical of May’s inability to achieve a Brexit deal and has said Johnson will do a better job.

Hunt, who trailed in the polls throughout the contest, said he was sure Johnson would “do a great job.”

“He’s got optimism, enthusiasm, he puts a smile on people’s face and he has total, unshakable confidence in our amazing country,” said Hunt, who is likely to be removed as foreign secretary by the new prime minister.

May stepped down after Parliament repeatedly rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with the 28-nation bloc.

READ MORE: What next? A new delay could prolong UK’s Brexit agony

Famed for his bravado, quips in Latin and blond mop of hair , Johnson wooed Conservatives by promising to succeed where May failed and lead the U.K. out of the EU on the scheduled date of Oct. 31 — with or without a divorce deal.

Johnson insists he can get the EU to renegotiate — something the bloc insists it won’t do. If not, he says Britain must leave the EU by the deadline, “come what may.”

Economists warn that a no-deal Brexit would disrupt trade and plunge the U.K. into recession . Fears that Britain is inching closer to crashing out of the bloc weighed on the pound once again Tuesday. The currency was down another 0.3 per cent at $1.2450, nearly a two-year low.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director of the Confederation of British Industry, said businesses needed a withdrawal agreement with the EU to restore confidence that has been badly shaken by uncertainty about the terms of Brexit.

“On Brexit, the new prime minister must not underestimate the benefits of a good deal,” she said.

The EU is adamant that the deal it struck with May will not be renegotiated.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said he looked forward “to working constructively” with the new Conservative leader “to facilitate the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

British lawmakers are due to start a six-week summer break on Friday. When they come back in September, Johnson looks set for a fight with Parliament over his plans.

He will preside over a House of Commons in which most members oppose leaving the EU without a deal, and where the Conservative Party lacks an overall majority.

Education Minister Anne Milton and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart on Tuesday became the latest ministers to announce they were quitting before they could be shuffled or demoted by Johnson.

They and others plan to resist any push for a no-deal Brexit.

“We’ll have to see what Boris can muster,” said Margot James, who quit last week as digital minister but remains a Conservative lawmaker. She said she doubted Johnson would be able to get a new Brexit deal by the deadline.

“The default position is leaving without a deal, and there is a significant majority in Parliament who will work very hard to sure that doesn’t happen. And I will be among that number.”

ALSO READ: Man found dead near Alberni teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

__

Associated Press writer Raf Casert in Brussels contributed.

__

Jill Lawless And Danica Kirka, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

VIDEO: Asphalt plant protest takes place outside Mission City Hall

Group from Steelhead oppose proposed project, want public hearing reopened

Westbound Highway 1 roll-over crash slowing commuters in Abbotsford

Accident occurred just west of Mt. Lehman Road, left lane blocked

World-renowned violinist to perform at Abbotsford prison

Gidon Kremer’s concert on Jan. 29 is part of Looking at the Stars’ program

Suspected dine-and-dasher who pulled gun on staff arrested by Abbotsford police

Police recognized man from description of neck and arm tattoos

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Deer carcass strung up at Surrey fire hall prompts investigation

Investigation underway following complaint a Surrey firefighter hung a deer carcass in a fire hall

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Most Read