LONDON — Boris Johnson has become Britain’s new prime minister in a widely expected move that sent the FTSE 100 up 0.6 percent to 7,560.23 and left the pound broadly stable against major currencies at $1.25, and 1.11 euros.
Johnson, the favorite to win, beat his opponent Jeremy Hunt with 66.3 percent of the vote. Conservative party members came out in force with 87.4 percent of the electorate, or nearly 160,000, casting their ballots.
The Conservative party clearly cannot get enough of the charming and charismatic Johnson, despite his gaffes, scandals, and personal and professional setbacks. Grassroots members have long believed that Boris is the man who could lead the party to victory in the next general election, and bury the extreme left wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
In electing Johnson, party members also threw down the gauntlet on Brexit. Johnson has long been a hardline Brexiteer, and during his campaign he promised to deliver on the 2016 referendum and take Britain out of the European Union by the agreed deadline of October 31, even if that means leaving without a deal in place.
In a brief, upbeat speech at the Queen Elizabeth II conference center near the Houses of Parliament, Johnson made it clear that party members – and Britons – should hold their heads high, and not let the Brexit drama, conflicts with the EU and the inertia and squabbling of parliament get them down.
“Do you look daunted? Do you feel daunted?” Johnson asked an audience of about a hundred. “The people of this country are trusting in us to get Brexit done in a new spirit of can do and believing in ourselves.”
He said the mantra of his campaign would not be forgotten: “Deliver Brexit, unite the country, defeat Jeremy Corbyn. That is what we’re going to do. And we are going to energize this country.”
Today is outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May’s final day at work, with Johnson expected to move into Downing Street tomorrow as he forms his cabinet and seeks Queen Elizabeth’s approval to form a government.