Boris Johnson has won the Tory leadership contest with 92,153 votes to Jeremy Hunt’s 46,656 on a turnout of 87.4%. The comprehensive victory saw the former London mayor win 66% of the vote. Almost 160,000 votes were cast by Conservative members.
Following the announcement, Jeremy Corbyn said: “After almost a decade of austerity, we need a Prime Minister on the side of the many, not the few. Boris Johnson has won the support of fewer than 100,000 unrepresentative Conservative Party members by promising tax cuts for the richest, presenting himself as the bankers’ best friend, and pushing for a damaging no deal Brexit.
“But he hasn’t won the support of our country. Johnson’s no deal would mean job cuts, higher prices in the shops, and risk our NHS being sold off to US corporations in a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump. The people of our country should decide who becomes Prime Minister. We need a Labour government for the many, not a Boris Johnson Conservative government for the few.”
Johnson will soon address staff at Conservative Party HQ and later speak to members of his parliamentary party at a 1922 Committee meeting. He will go to the Palace to become Prime Minister tomorrow after Theresa May has officially stepped down.
The new Conservative Party leader has described the withdrawal agreement as “dead” and the October 31st deadline as “do or die”. He has dismissed the possibility of passing a deal that includes a backstop, and the EU has dismissed the possibility of agreeing a deal without a backstop.
Cabinet minister David Gauke has resigned in response to Johnson’s election, as did education minister Anne Milton earlier today, and others such as Philip Hammond have also promised to resign.
Parliament breaks up for summer recess on Thursday, just one day after Johnson officially becomes Prime Minister. Labour has not confirmed whether it will move a motion of no confidence in him on the final day, which could potentially force an early election in September.
However, it is thought unlikely that such a motion would be successful this week. Alternatively, Corbyn could put down the no-confidence motion when parliament returns from recess on September 3rd. This could technically lead to an election on October 24th, one week before the UK’s latest Brexit date.
Responding to the leadership election result, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Prime Ministers should be elected by the whole country, not an out-of-touch few. If Boris Johnson really believes he’s ready to lead the country, he should call a general election.”
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “The election of this clown as Tory leader is sadly no laughing matter for the people of our country.”
TUC leader Frances O’Grady commented: “Let’s be clear that working people cannot take the hit of a catastrophic no-deal Brexit… No Prime Minister who truly cared about uniting and rebuilding Britain would take that step.”
President Trump tweeted: “Congratulations to Boris Johnson on becoming the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He will be great!”