Johnson is set to become prime minister on Wednesday after winning an election to lead the governing Conservatives. He will have just over three months to make good on his promise to lead the U.K. out of the European Union by Oct. 31.
Famed for his bravado, quips in Latin and blond mop of hair, Johnson easily defeated Conservative rival, Jeremy Hunt, winning two-thirds of the votes of about 160,000 party members across the U.K. He will become prime minister once Queen Elizabeth II formally asks him to form a government, replacing Theresa May.
A “no-deal” Brexit means that on Nov. 1, tariffs will be slapped on goods traded between the U.K. and the remaining 27 EU countries. Other impediments to trade would be imposed, such as new restrictions on the movement of people and regulatory standards, including on Britain’s crucial financial services sector. Britain would also face the prospect of losing trade deals the EU has struck over the years, including Canada and Japan — these account for around 11% of U.K. trade.
Johnson is now one of two finalists — along with foreign minister Jeremy Hunt — vying for the prime ministership. He started out as the favorite in a very crowded contest, so he ran the risk of his candidacy imploding. But he mounted a disciplined campaign, largely avoided the media and unnecessary gaffes, and commanded a huge lead throughout all the rounds of voting.
In the fifth and final round, Johnson won 162 votes to Hunt’s 77. The rest of the Conservative Party membership is now voting, with the results to be tallied next week. Johnson is a popular figure among them, making it hard to imagine a scenario in which he doesn’t become prime minister on July 24.