AGENCY London: Boris Johnson on Tuesday comfortably won the Conservative Party’s leadership race to become the UK’s next Prime Minister and vowed to “get Brexit done” by the October 31 deadline, amid the political uncertainty over the country’s divorce deal with the European Union that cost his predecessor her job. Johnson, the 55-year-old former foreign secretary and London Mayor, was widely expected to beat foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt in the battle for 10 Downing Street, which was triggered last month when a Brexit-battered Theresa May resigned as party chief and prime minister amid a mounting rebellion from within the Conservative Party.
The west London MP from Uxbridge and Ruislip sought to strike a unifying note by thanking his predecessor, May, and his challenger Hunt as a formidable opponent whose good ideas he plans to “steal”.
Addressing the Tory party members at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London, near the Houses of Parliament, soon after the results were declared, Johnson said: “No one person or party has the monopoly of wisdom. Time and again it is to us [Conservative Party] that people have turned.
“At this pivotal point in history… I know that we will do it. The mantra is deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn.
“I will work flat out to repay your confidence. The work begins now.”
The co-chair of the Tory party’s 1922 Committee Cheryl Gillan MP declared that Johnson won 92,153 votes compared to 46,656 polled for Hunt by a voting base of 159,320 Tory membership, with 509 rejected ballots.
Johnson, who has in the past described himself as a “son-in-law of India” by virtue of his now estranged wife Marina Wheeler’s Indian mother, also played up a strong “personal relationship with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi.”
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