It’s official; Conservative members have voted Boris Johnson as their new leader and the Prime Minister of Great Britain.
The former London Mayor received 92,000 of almost 160,000 votes cast on a turnout of over 87 per cent, comfortably beating Jeremy Hunt who received 47,000 votes.
But he inherits the same fragile majority that ultimately led to the demise of Theresa May.
And with the 31st October deadline already looming he is looking at a cliff edge either for his career or the UK as he has promised to deliver Brexit by that deadline – even if it is an economy-wrecking no-deal Brexit.
Yes, Boris Johnson is actually the Prime Minister of Great Britain
But the parliamentary maths will not allow Johnson to unleash that on the country as he very well knows and his government recently lost a vote to allow him to suspend parliament in a constitution wrecking attempt to bulldoze a no-deal Brexit without parliamentary consent.
In a massive blow to would-be-PM Boris Johnson, MPs voted through a crucial amendment which may make it illegal for him to suspend parliament to attempt to force a no-deal Brexit on MPs.
Johnson’s rival Jeremy Hunt embarrassingly missed the vote “by mistake.” Margot James resigned as minister for digital after voting against the Government and was among 17 Tories who rebelled by backing the amendment.
As Katy Balls wrote in the Spectator, that deadline will pass “not with Britain leaving the European Union but with a political crisis and a general election that will be won by Jeremy Corbyn. After that, the Tories will in a few months go through the whole process again — this time to pick a leader of the opposition.”
A Westminster aide appeared to concur: “We’re using this leadership campaign as a test run for when the whole thing collapses in the autumn,” they said, and it’s hard to disagree. The numbers do not add up. At best Boris will try deliver Brexit with his hands tied behind his back and at worst he will drive the Conservatives out of power. One way or another something has to give, and it will most likely be the leader.
Seven Conservatives are expected to resign now Boris Johnson has been confirmed as the next Prime Minister.
Anne Milton resigned shortly before the announcement, stating ‘grave’ no-deal Brexit concerns.
With the Conservatives only holding a slim Parliamentary majority through their agreement with the DUP, any defections could have a devastating effect on Johnson’s plans for No.10, and no majority could be a significant buffer – especially around Brexit.
The Conservative Party has experienced a number of splits in recent months, with the high-profile departure of Anna Soubry to Change UK and others such as Nick Boles resigning the party whip, exposing a widening gulf in a previously broad church.
Sir Alan Duncan yesterday left his position as Foreign Office minister in protest against a possible Johnson victory, and the political experts at Sporting Index think that could be the first of seven potential resignations.
Chancellor Philip Hammond and Justice Secretary David Gauke have also indicated that they will walk.
Health minister Stephen Hammond said he would be willing to vote down a Johnson administration in a no-confidence vote if it pursued a deal-less departure.
He explaned: “I think it’s really important that, at this historic stage in this country’s lifetime in modern politics, that politicians put aside any of their own personal ambitions or views and actually make sure they do the right thing as they see it for the country.”
With such a narrow majority, and with the DUP vowing not to let the United Kingdom be broken up, threats of a no confidence vote and defections could have a shattering effect on the Tory Party, leaving Johnson with one of the shortest reigns in history.