Boris Johnson will succeed Theresa May as Britain’s next prime minister after beating Jeremy Hunt.
Boris Johnson won the race to become Conservative leader and Britain’s next prime minister.
He will take the keys to Downing Street on Wednesday, shortly after Theresa May’s last Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons. May will travel to meet the Queen and formally resign in the afternoon, before Johnson makes the same journey to ask to form a government.
Johnson once famously said he’s “pro cake and pro eating it too” – so here’s what’ll land on his plate on day one, according to GZERO Media:
Tensions with Iran: Last week, Iran seized a British tanker that it said had entered its territorial waters, a claim that London denies. Johnson will have few good options to respond: there isn’t much left to sanction in the Iranian economy, while a more robust military response in the region risks further escalation or unintended consequences.
But the broader question is whether Johnson will continue to align the UK’s position with other European powers that want to preserve, somehow, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Donald Trump walked out of, or to run the risk of open conflict with Iran by adopting Washington’s more confrontational policy of “maximum pressure.”
US-UK relationship: The so-called “special relationship” between the US and UK is under pressure. Johnson and Trump—successful, unconventional provocateurs both—share a mutual admiration, but Washington has signaled that London won’t get special treatment when it comes to pressuring Iran, post-Brexit trade deals, or the UK government’s decision about whether to use technology supplied by Huawei, the Chinese tech giant that the Trump administration has sanctioned as a security threat. Washington has even signaled that it’s not keen on protecting British ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz. With “Special” friends like these…!
And of course… Brexit: Johnson inherits precisely the same dilemma that brought down his predecessor, Theresa May. The UK is – at the moment – committed to leaving the EU, but when it came to hammering out an agreement on how to do that, the best deal that London could get from Brussels failed three times to win a vote of support in the House of Commons.
The Brexit question must be resolved by October 31 or the UK will be stuck with an economically perilous “no-deal” scenario that sends the UK crashing out of the EU with no new agreement on the future of their relationship. Johnson, for his part, has embraced that possibility much more enthusiastically than May, even if only because he believes it will boost his negotiating leverage with the EU. He seems to be betting that a game of chicken will force Brussels to reopen negotiations.
The last bite: Boris Johnson has shown that he is wily and formidable politician – can he now be a successful statesman?
Sadiq Khan, Boris Johnson’s successor as Mayor of London, has called on the incoming Prime Minister to work together and “put aside” their differences. But Khan, who backs a second referendum on Brexit, warned Johnson he’ll continue to make the case against a no-deal crash out of the EU.
Congratulations @BorisJohnson. Let’s put aside our differences and work together to reverse police & TfL cuts, invest in affordable homes & secure further devolution to London – which you backed as Mayor. But I'll never stop speaking out against the catastrophic threat of Brexit.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) July 23, 2019
Leaders in the European Union have been responding to Johnson’s success, and signaling an openness to work with him on Brexit.