Boris Johnson has won the Conservative Party leadership contest, defeating Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the final postal ballot of party members. Johnson obtained 66% of the votes and will become Prime Minister of the UK. He will now lead the UK Government in the final stages of the extended Article 50 period and attempt to navigate exit from the European Union
The announcement of the result took place in the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Westminster and marks the end of an extended election process which began in May and featured ten candidates. The postal vote was preceded by five rounds of preliminary voting among party MPs, four broadcast debates and seventeen regional hustings.
While all of the contenders campaigned on a platform of delivering Brexit in some format, Johnson’s campaign was marked by a hard-line approach, emphasising the primacy of leaving over the form of deal or the agreement of a deal at all. This was seen as the most extreme position in the race, one which prioritised exiting on 31 October 2019 over any further extension or second referendum.
In the immediate aftermath of the announcement some of the senior members of Theresa May’s cabinet considered as moderates on the Brexit issue confirmed they would refuse to serve under Johnson, including Philip Hammond (Chancellor of the Exchequer) and David Gauke (Justice Secretary).
The formal appointment of Johnson as Prime Minister will be made by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on 24 July, after Theresa May resigns the office.