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Boris Johnson wins race to become new Tory leader and set to be sworn in as PM

Boris Johnson wins race to become new Tory leader and set to be sworn in as PM
4 min read

Boris Johnson has won a landslide victory to become the new Conservative leader and is set to be sworn in as the UK’s next Prime Minister.

He defeated his rival Jeremy Hunt in the race to replace Theresa May by 92,153 votes to 46,656.

But the former Foreign Secretary must wait until Wednesday afternoon to go to Buckingham Palace, where the Queen will ask him to form a government.

Mr Johnson's victory was confirmed by Tory grandee Dame Cheryl Gillan, acting chair of the 1922 Committee, just before noon.

She revealed 87.4% of the party's 159,320 members voted in the leadership race.

Speaking after his victory was announced, he said: "We are going to energise the country.

"We are going to get Brexit done on 31 October and take advantage of all the opportunities it will bring with a new spirit of can do.

"We are once again going to believe in ourselves, and like some slumbering giant we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity."

A host of Cabinet and junior ministers are now expected to resign from the Government, having publicly declared they are unwilling to serve under Mr Johnson, who has said the UK must leave the EU by 31 October "do or die".

Anne Milton, the minister for apprenticeships and skills, announced she was quitting just 45 minutes before Mr Johnson's victory was confirmed.

In her letter to Theresa May, she said: "I have always believed that our departure from the European Union should be centred around future co-operation, and I had sincerely hoped we would have been able to leave the EU in March with a deal in place. I regret very much that this was not possible.

"However, I have grave concerns about leaving the EU without a deal, and so I feel it is time for me to return to the backbenches. It is important to me to be free to do what I feel is right for the country and my constituents."

Reacting to the result, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "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."

Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson, said: "Boris Johnson has finally got his hands on the keys to Number 10, but he has shown time and time again that he isn’t fit to be the Prime Minister of our country.

"Whether it is throwing people under the bus or writing a lie on the side of one: Britain deserves better than Boris Johnson."

The incoming Prime Minister will begin forming his own top team straight away, with the likes of David Davis and Iain Duncan Smith tipped for Cabinet comebacks.

It also remains to be seen whether he will give a job to Jeremy Hunt, given the clashes the pair had during the six-week leadership contest.

Winning the contest will see the ex-Mayor of London fulfil a lifelong ambition to hold the country’s top job, but he takes over in incredibly difficult circumstances.

He won over Tory members with his pledge to deliver Brexit by 31 October, and said he is prepared to leave without a deal if no improved agreement with the EU can be agreed.

But a host of his own MPs have said they will fight to prevent a no deal from happening, with Chancellor Philip Hammond saying he will do “everything he can” to block it from the backbenches.

And with Dover MP Charlie Elphicke suspended again by the Conservatives after being charged with sexual offences, Mr Johnson will have the slimmest of working majorities in the House of Commons

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