Boris Johnson will succeed Theresa May as the new prime minister of the United Kingdom after he was chosen the leader of the Conservative Party on Tuesday. The former foreign minister got 92,153 votes from party members, against the 46,656 votes received by top diplomat Jeremy Hunt, BBC reported.
Johnson, 54, is a former mayor of London who served as May’s foreign secretary until he resigned in 2018 in protest against her Brexit strategy.
Johnson said he hoped to repay the party’s confidence and would work “flat out” with his team, which he will build over the next few days. “The campaign is over and the work begins,” he added.
May congratulated Johnson and pledged him full support.
“Many congratulations to @BorisJohnson on being elected leader of @Conservatives,” she wrote on Twitter. “We now need to work together to deliver a Brexit that works for the whole UK and to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of government. You will have my full support from the back benches.”
Johnson paid tributes to Hunt and said he is a “font of excellent ideas”. Johnson will take up office on Wednesday, CNBC reported.
He had secured the backing of 160 MPs in the final ballot of the party’s MPs – more than half of the total. He was chosen from a field of 10 by the 313 lawmakers of the Conservative Party.
The Conservatives do not have a majority in the House of Commons, and govern through an alliance with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.
May resigned after she failed to get the MPs’ approval for a Brexit deal last month. While announcing her decision on May 24, the prime minister had said that she had done her best to make a success of Brexit but had failed to convince members of Parliament to back her deal.
Johnson will have until the end of October to decide the future of the United Kingdom in the European Union. The UK’s exit from the trade bloc was due on March 29, but has been delayed twice because May was unable to get the terms of the exit approved by the Parliament.
Brexit is now due on October 31 – and without a consensus, the country will have to choose to delay it again or leave the EU without an agreement at all.