FREEPRESS – Boris Johnson will take office on Wednesday as British Prime Minister and will unveil the names of the team he has tasked with delivering Brexit by the end of October, with or without a deal.
Johnson enters Downing Street at one of the most perilous junctures in post-World War British history.
The United Kingdom is divided over Brexit and weakened by a three-year political crisis since the Brexit referendum.
His pledge to energise the country and deliver Brexit – do or die – on Oct. 31, sets the UK up for a showdown with the EU and thrusts it toward a potential constitutional crisis, or election, at home.
“Like some slumbering giant, we are going to rise and ping off the guy-ropes of self-doubt and negativity,’’ Johnson, 55, said on Tuesday after he was elected by Conservative Party members.
“We are going to energise the country.
“We are going to get Brexit done on Oct. 31 and we are going to take advantage of all the opportunities it will bring in a new spirit of can do.’’
Wednesday will combine arcane British political choreography with the realpolitik of appointing a new government.
Prime Minister Theresa May will leave Downing Street after a three-year premiership that was mired by crises over Brexit.
She will travel to Buckingham Palace to formally tender her resignation to Queen Elizabeth.
Johnson will then have an audience with the queen, who will request he form an administration.
His formal title will be “Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury.’’
He will enter Downing Street in the afternoon and is expected to give a speech before appointing key members of the government – names that could give a hint of how he will handle Brexit, Britain’s most significant decision in decades.
“Boris will build a cabinet showcasing all the talents within the party that truly reflect modern Britain,’’ a source close to Johnson said.
Johnson has pledged to negotiate a new Brexit deal with the EU before October 31 but if the bloc refuses, he has promised to leave without a deal on Halloween.
That, many investors warn, would send shock waves through the world economy and tip the world’s fifth-largest economy into recession or even chaos.
Brexit without a divorce deal would roil financial markets and, some bankers warn, weaken London’s position as the pre-eminent international financial centre.
Brexit supporters say those fears are overblown and the UK will thrive if cut loose from the European project, which they cast as a German-dominated bloc that is falling far behind its global competitors such as the U.S. and China.
“If he really wants a no-deal, he will get it.
“We will never push an EU member out but we can’t stop him, more likely, his own parliament would,’’ one EU diplomat said.
“Johnson has been such a chameleon, he has reinvented himself so many times that it is hard to know what to expect really,’’ the diplomat said.
Another diplomatic source had an ominous warning: “my scenario is purgatory’’.