Thu, Jul 25, 2019 - Page 1 News List

On Brexit mission, Boris Johnson takes over as British PM

AFP, LONDON

Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson, center, arrives at Buckingham Palace in London yesterday for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he was to be formally invited to become prime minister.

Photo: AP

Boris Johnson began putting together his top team as he prepared to take over as British prime minister yesterday, on a mission to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31 by any means necessary.

The former London mayor, a divisive figure best known for his gaffes and rhetorical flourishes, was elected on Tuesday by members of the governing Conservative Party to be their next leader.

He was to be formally named as prime minister during a visit to Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace after outgoing British prime minister Theresa May formally tendered her resignation to the queen.

May arrived at the palace after earlier urging Johnson to deliver Brexit “in a way that works for the whole United Kingdom” — an allusion to the deep divisions that the issue has caused in the kingdom.

With just over three months before Britain is due to leave the EU, 55-year-old Johnson has no time to lose and was expected to swiftly announce his Cabinet and advisers.

His first move was to appoint as a top aide Dominic Cummings, the Brexit campaign chief in the 2016 EU referendum, in which Johnson played a leading role.

Johnson has vowed to renegotiate May’s deal or take Britain out of the bloc at the next deadline, Oct. 31, without a deal.

Ahead of May’s resignation, a raft of her pro-EU ministers stepped down.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said the new prime minister should be free to choose someone who was “fully aligned” with his views.

British Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke and British Secretary of State for International Development Rory Stewart also stepped down.

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