In a long-anticipated move, Boris Johnson has been selected as the new leader of the British Conservative Party and thus, the new prime minister of the UK. He will officially succeed outgoing PM Theresa May on Wednesday.
Johnson won with 66.4 percent of the vote (92,153) to Hunt’s 33.6 percent (46,656). 139,318 votes were cast by Tory members with a turnout of 87.4 percent.
Conservative grassroots members had been voting by post for the past two and a half weeks. Johnson saw off his challenger Jeremy Hunt and was revealed as the new PM at midday local time in London.
Delivering his impassioned victory speech, the new prime minister claimed that there will be people who “question the wisdom” of him becoming leader.
He revealed that he had read in the Financial Times on Tuesday morning that no incoming leader had ever faced such a daunting set of circumstances, with Brexit casting a shadow over British politics.
Addressing the packed auditorium in London, he declared: “Well I look at you this morning and ask do you look daunted? Do you feel daunted? I don’t think you do.”
Johnson also added a new letter to his campaign slogan – Deliver, Unite, Defeat with an E for Energise – rebranding it from the DUD to the DUDE strategy.
A former mayor of London and former British foreign secretary, Johnson was the clear favorite from the moment Theresa May announced she would be stepping down, following her failure to secure a Brexit deal with the EU.
A staunch Brexiteer, Johnson won the backing of over 50 percent of MPs in the first stage of the leadership race, marking him as the likely successor to lead Brexit-era Britain into the final chapter of the EU divorce saga which began with the 2016 referendum.
Theresa May chaired her final cabinet meeting Tuesday morning and will tender her official resignation to the Queen on Wednesday afternoon, immediately after her final Prime Minister’s Questions. Johnson will attend an audience at Buckingham Palace shortly afterwards before being sworn in.
Johnson is expected to issue a slew of changes in his cabinet in the coming days as he prepares to take up the mantle of Brexit negotiations.