John­son brac­ing to be next UK PM

Vow to leave EU by Oc­to­ber could prompt de­fec­tions

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Boris John­son is ex­pected to be­come Bri­tain’s next prime min­is­ter this week, vow­ing to de­liver Brexit on Oc­to­ber 31 come what may, in the face of fierce op­po­si­tion in par­lia­ment.

The for­mer Lon­don mayor is the ru­n­away fa­vorite to win the govern­ing Con­ser­va­tive Party’s lead­er­ship con­test and re­place Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May on Wed­nes­day.

The postal bal­lot of 160,000 grass­roots party mem­bers is ex­pected to re­turn John­son, 55, as the new Con­ser­va­tive leader over For­eign Sec­re­tary Jeremy Hunt when the re­sult is an­nounced on Tues­day.

Any re­main­ing bal­lots must be de­liv­ered by the Mon­day 5:00 pm dead­line. Book­mak­ers give Hunt around a one in 15 chance of vic­tory.

While John­son spent a rel­a­tively trou­ble-free Satur­day, Hunt, his suc­ces­sor in the For­eign Of­fice, was deal­ing with Iran’s seizure of a Bri­tish­flagged tanker in the Gulf.

The cen­ter-right Con­ser­va­tives com­mand a ra­zor-thin ma­jor­ity in par­lia­ment’s lower House of Com­mons and John­son’s op­po­nents – both within and out­side the party – are keen to scup­per his lead­er­ship.

John­son has vowed to take Bri­tain out of the Euro­pean Union on Oc­to­ber 31, with or with­out a di­vorce deal.

Op­po­nents of Brexit, and es­pe­cially of a no-deal de­par­ture, are plot­ting moves against John­son.

Some Con­ser­va­tives have hinted they are pre­pared to bring down their own gov­ern­ment rather than ac­cept leav­ing the EU with­out a deal.

Jus­tice Sec­re­tary David Gauke said he would quit the gov­ern­ment if John­son be­came prime min­is­ter.

He told The Sun­day Times news­pa­per that a no-deal Brexit would trig­ger na­tional “hu­mil­i­a­tion.”

The broad­sheet re­ported that up to six eu­rophile Con­ser­va­tive MPS were con­sid­er­ing de­fect­ing to the cen­trist, proeu Lib­eral Democrats should John­son win – leav­ing him with­out a Com­mons ma­jor­ity.

PRO-EU pro­test­ers ral­lied in cen­tral Lon­don on Satur­day in an­tic­i­pa­tion of John­son tak­ing of­fice.

The “No to Boris, yes to Europe” protest saw a gi­ant bal­loon of John­son – in­spired by the sim­i­lar blimp of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump – fly­ing out­side par­lia­ment.

“I want to be on the right side of his­tory. I think any­body who con­sid­ers Brexit to be a good so­lu­tion, re­ally hasn’t con­sid­ered the facts,” demon­stra­tor Ta­mara Bishop told AFP.

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