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Johnson vows Brexit in 99 days.

Byline: Jill Lawless and Danica Kirka Associated Press

LONDON -- Boris Johnson took over as Britain's prime minister Wednesday, vowing to break the impasse that defeated his predecessor by leading the country out of the European Union and silencing "the doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters" who believe it can't be done.

But the brash Brexit champion faces the same problems that flummoxed Theresa May during her three years in office: heading a government without a parliamentary majority and with most lawmakers opposed to leaving the EU without a divorce deal.

Johnson has just 99 days to make good on his promise to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31 after what he called "three years of unfounded self-doubt."

He optimistically pledged to get "a new deal, a better deal" with the EU than the one secured by May, which was repeatedly rejected by Britain's Parliament.

"The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts," he said, standing outside the shiny black door of 10 Downing St.

Trying to avoid the political divisions that plagued May, Johnson swept out many of her ministers to make way for his own team, dominated by loyal Brexiteers. He appointed Sajid Javid to the key role of Treasury chief, named staunch Brexit supporter Dominic Raab as foreign secretary and made Priti Patel the new home secretary, or interior minister. Michael Gove, who ran the 2016 campaign to leave the EU alongside Johnson, also got a Cabinet job.

Over half of May's Cabinet is gone, including ex-Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Johnson's defeated rival for the Tory leadership, who said he had turned down the chance to stay in government in a different job.

In his first speech as prime minister, Johnson unleashed a scattershot spray of promises -- from more police on the streets to ending a ban on genetically modified crops to faster internet access.

To the many critics of the polarizing politician who find the phrase "Prime Minister Boris Johnson" jarring, it was typical of a verbal vim that is not always wedded to hard facts.

For the 55-year-old Johnson, walking into the Downing Street residence was the culmination of a life's ambition. The flamboyant, Latin-spouting former London mayor and foreign secretary helped lead the 2016 campaign to get Britain out of the EU and is now the darling of Brexit backers who feel frustrated that, three years later, the country is still in the bloc.

He vowed to keep relations with the EU "as warm and as close and as affectionate as possible" and promised the 3 million EU nationals in Britain "absolute certainty" that they can stay.

May made the same promise, but it still is not enshrined in law.

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Title Annotation:World_
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 25, 2019
Words:447
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