United Kingdom’s Conservative Party has elected Boris Johnson as its leader and, by default, the country’s next prime minister.
The Brexit hardliner, a former London mayor, on Tuesday won the votes of 92,153 members of the ruling party, while his rival, Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, won 46,656.
Johnson is set to become prime minister on Wednesday, after Theresa May formally steps down.
In his victory speech, the 55-year-old said his campaign message had been to “deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat [opposition Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn – and that is what we are going to do”.
“Do you look daunted? Do you feel daunted? I don’t think you look remotely daunted to me,” Johnson told party members at the Queen Elizabeth ll conference centre in London. “We are going to get Brexit done.”
Three years after the referendum vote to leave the European Union, Britain remains a member, after twice delaying its exit amid continued wrangling in a divided parliament — and the country — on how to proceed.
Johnson led the 2016 Brexit campaign and has said the latest deadline of October 31 must be kept, with or without a divorce agreement with the EU.
But Brussels says it will not renegotiate the deal it struck with May, which was designed to ease the end of a 46-year partnership but which MPs have rejected.
A majority of lawmakers are against a “no deal” Brexit, including many of Johnson’s colleagues.
Three cabinet ministers have already said they will not serve under Johnson, saying that severing ties with Britain’s closest trading partner with no new arrangements is deeply irresponsible.
The government’s official forecaster said last week that Britain will slide into a year-long recession should it leave the EU without a deal.
It is now left to be seen how the new Prime Minister will tackle the Brexit problem.