Boris Johnson to become new UK Prime Minister

In a turnout of 87.4% from Conservative members, Johnson received 92,153 votes.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
July 23, 2019 19:02
3 minute read.
Boris Johnson to become new UK Prime Minister

Britain's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson arrives at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, July 3, 2018.. (photo credit: SIMON DAWSON/ REUTERS)

US President Donald Trump congratulated Boris Johnson, who was elected leader of Britain's governing Conservative Party and therefore the next prime minister of the United Kingdom earlier on Tuesday.

In a turnout of 87.4% from Conservative members, Johnson received 92,153 votes.

Johnson will formally take over as prime minister on Wednesday afternoon, succeeding Theresa May, who stepped down over her failure to get parliament to ratify her Brexit deal.

He will inherit a political crisis over Britain's exit from the European Union, currently due to take place on October 31. Johnson must persuade the EU to revive talks on a withdrawal deal that it has been adamant cannot be reopened, or else lead Britain into the economic uncertainty of an unmanaged departure.

The only deal on the table has been rejected three times by parliament and many lawmakers - including pro-EU rebels in the Conservative Party - are also vowing to block Johnson trying to take Britain out of the EU without a deal.

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.

Johnson is not likely to start announcing key ministerial appointments until Wednesday, but his victory in the leadership contest is expected to prompt several resignations in the deeply divided Conservative Party.

Two junior ministers have already quit over Johnson's willingness to leave the EU without transition arrangements, and finance minister Philip Hammond and justice minister David Gauke have both said they plan to resign before they are sacked.

Johnson received well wishes from across the world.

"Congratulations to Boris Johnson on becoming the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom," US President Donald Trump tweeted. "He will be great!"

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday congratulated Johnson, saying in a tweet that Tehran does not seek confrontation with London.

"I congratulate my former counterpart, @BorisJohnson on becoming UK PM," Zarif said on Twitter. "Iran does not seek confrontation. But we have 1500 miles of Persian Gulf coastline. These are our waters & we will protect them."

"The May govt's seizure of Iranian oil (tanker) at behest of US is piracy, pure & simple," Zarif added.

In Israel, Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz lauded Johnson's victory and wished him "great success in his new role."

Gantz said in a press release on Tuesday that the UK and Israel "have a long tradition of cooperation [due] to shared values and interests" and that a government under his leadership [Gantz] will improve the diplomatic and economic relations between the UK and Israel "alongside relentlessly fighting antisemtisim and BDS."    

Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Isaac Herzog congratulated Johnson on his Tory election victory on Tuesday.

"Best wishes to Boris Johnson, a true friend of Israel. I trust you will continue working to make the Jewish community feel safe in the UK during these challenging times. I look forward to your ongoing commitment to fostering ties between the UK and Israel," Herzog wrote in an official press release. 

Blue and White's number two Yair Lapid tweeted his congratulations to Johnson, saying, "Congratulations and good luck to my good friend @BorisJohnson. I’m sure that as Prime Minister you will continue to strengthen the relationship between our two countries."

Reuters contributed to this report.


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