Boris Johnson has been elected leader of the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party 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.
The 55-year-old said the mantra of his leadership campaign 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 conference centre in London. “We are going to get Brexit done.”
Reporting from Westminster, Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee said the result was widely anticipated.
“It was certainly a comprehensive victory,” he said. “The membership of the Conservative Party, who voted for him, is absolutely insistent that Brexit has to happen”.
Johnson has vowed to negotiate a new Brexit divorce deal with the European Union before the scheduled October 31 deadline, but the EU has insisted it will not reopen negotiations.
He has said he would ramp up preparations for a no deal to try to force the EU’s negotiators to make changes to the accord.
“We will of course be pushing our plan into action, and getting ready to come out on October 31, come what may … do or die, come what may,” Johnson told Talkradio last month.
The only deal on the table has been rejected three times by the British parliament and many legislators – including pro-EU rebels in the Conservative Party – are also vowing to block Johnson from trying to take Britain out of the EU without a deal.
A number of Conservative ministers have already announced they will resign to fight against a no deal Brexit, which experts warn would push the UK’s economy into a severe downturn.
Credit: AL JAZEERA NEWS