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BRITAIN-EU/LEADER New Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves to the crowd in front of Number 10 Downing Street. 

Boris Johnson becomes new UK Prime Minister

Boris Johnson, the Brexiteer who has promised to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal by the end of October, takes office as the nation’s new Prime Minister on Wednesday.

By Susy Hodges

Boris Johnson takes over as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from Teresa May, after winning the leadership of the ruling Conservative Party by a decisive margin on Tuesday.

The new prime minister will face many of the same problems as his predecessor in trying to deliver Brexit.

Delivering Brexit

Johnson says the mantra of his leadership campaign has been to deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat the opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn; and that, he said, is what we are going to do.

U.S. President Donald Trump quickly tweeted his congratulations saying Johnson will be great.

Britain’s new Prime Minister has pledged to negotiate a new divorce deal with the EU to secure a smooth transition. But if the bloc continues to refuse, Johnson has promised to leave anyway, do or die, on the current agreed date of October 31st.

Many financial experts say this would shake global markets and tip Britain’s economy into recession or even chaos.

Some conservative lawmakers have threatened to topple the government to avert a no-deal Brexit, a step that would probably deepen Britain’s political crisis and lead to a general election.

In 2016, as one of the most recognizable faces of the Brexit referendum campaign, Johnson was accused of making untenable claims. The most notable was that Britain would be 350 million pounds a week better off outside the EU. 

But his colourful personality and embrace of what many describe as his court jester role have allowed him to survive both gaffes and scandal.

Facing challenges

However, Johnson must solve a series of daunting challenges if he is to succeed where May failed.  His party has no majority in parliament so the Conservatives can only govern with the support of the pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist party in Northern Ireland. The events of the past year have clearly shown that a majority of lawmakers in Britain’s parliament are against a no-deal Brexit. 

Johnson has yet to spell out how his EU withdrawal deal will differ from May’s deal which was decisively rejected three times in parliament.   If Johnson fails to deliver Brexit as promised, he faces the choice of a general election or a second referendum.  

Listen to Susy Hodges' report
24 July 2019, 17:32