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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Boris Johnson becomes new UK prime minister, meets Queen Elizabeth

Soon after taking over, Johnson exuded confidence about leaving the EU by the deadline of October 31, “no ifs and buts”, and restore public trust in democracy sullied by long-drawn debates and MPs voting down various aspects of Brexit in parliament.

india Updated: Jul 24, 2019 21:08 IST

Hindustan Times, London
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, where she will officially recognise him as the new Prime Minister, in London, Britain July 24, 2019.
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, where she will officially recognise him as the new Prime Minister, in London, Britain July 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
         

Queen Elizabeth appointed Boris Johnson as the UK’s new prime minister during a brief audience in Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, heralding a new phase in British politics fractured by Brexit that consumed two prime ministers since the 2016 EU referendum.

Soon after taking over, Johnson exuded confidence about leaving the EU by the deadline of October 31, “no ifs and buts”, and restore public trust in democracy sullied by long-drawn debates and MPs voting down various aspects of Brexit in parliament.

“After three years of unfounded self-doubt, it is time to change the record. No-one in the last few centuries has succeeded in betting against the pluck, nerve and ambition of this country. They will not succeed today,” he said in his first speech as PM outside 10, Downing Street, in a veiled warning to Brexit negotiators in Brussels.

Johnson took over after the outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May received a prolonged farewell in the House of Commons and delivered a speech before travelling to meet the queen to resign. She thereafter returned to her Maidenhead constituency near London.

May said: “I repeat my warm congratulations to Boris on winning the Conservative leadership election. I wish him and the Government he will lead every good fortune in the months and years ahead”.

“Their successes will be our country’s successes, and I hope that they will be many. Their achievements will build on the work of nearly a decade of Conservative or Conservative-led government”.

Before Johnson’s term began, leading lights of May’s team – Philip Hammond, David Lidington, Rory Stewart – symbolically tendered their resignation to signal their reluctance to serve under him, primarily due to his ambition to leave the EU by October 31 with or without an agreement.

Johnson was expected to appoint his ministerial team from Wednesday evening, with at least three Indian-origin MPs likely to be given key portfolios or promotions: Priti Patel, tipped to be the next Home secretary; and promotion for junior ministers Alok Sharma and Rishi Sunak.

David Cameron led the Conservative-led government from 2010 to 2015 (with Liberal Democrats) and resigned in 2016 after the EU referendum resulted in the vote to leave the EU. May took over from Cameron and led a minority government after the 2017 election.

Evoking extreme feelings of support and disdain, Johnson, who was elected Conservative leader on Tuesday, becomes the 14th prime minister appointed by Queen Elizabeth since her coronation in 1953; Winston Churchill was her first prime minister.

First Published: Jul 24, 2019 21:03 IST