Boris Johnson elected Conservative leader, slated to be Britain's next Prime Minister

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Johnson in 2018
Image: Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Conservative Party members voted on Tuesday to elect Boris Johnson — former Foreign Secretary, mayor of London, and member of Parliament — as the new Conservative leader. Current Prime Minister Theresa May is to step down today, with Johnson succeeding her as the Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Johnson competed for the role against Jeremy Hunt, who succeeded him as Foreign Secretary, the United Kingdom's chief diplomat. He won with 92,153 votes, out of roughly 160,000 members of the Conservative Party that were eligible to vote. In his victory speech, Johnson stressed his support for the Brexit movement, and reiterated that he plans on leaving the European Union even if no agreement has been reached regarding future relations. Parliament, however, has repeatedly voted against a "no deal" Brexit.

Johnson first entered politics when elected in 2001 as a member of Parliament. He then served eight years as the mayor of London, from 2008 to 2016, before rejoining Parliament. Following the UK's Brexit vote, Theresa May appointed him Foreign Secretary, which he served as until 2018, resigning in protest to May's negotiated Brexit agreement.

Citizens of the United Kingdom do not elect the Prime Minister directly. Rather, the official leader of the party with the most seats in Parliament is appointed Prime Minister by the King or Queen, currently Queen Elizabeth II. In this way, the British Prime Minister is elected indirectly, as the people vote for their members of Parliament.