Boris Johnson, once a mayor of London and often described as the ‘bicycle guy’ for riding through the streets is next in line to become the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Mr Johnson will take over from Theresa May on Wednesday after he was declared new leader of his Conservative Party.
But the former journalist takes on a big burden, that of steer the country into implementing Brexit, while keeping his Party intact.
And as a man who campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union after 46 years of political and economic ties in 2016 saying UK needed to make own decisions for its international affairs, Mr Johnson now has on his hands the hopes of the country whose decision to leave the EU still shocks observers.
He campaigned for “delivering Brexit and uniting a fantastic country.”
“Please vote for me so I can deliver Brexit by 31st October, unite our country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn,” he tweeted last week, referring to the leader of the Labour Party.
“I am the only candidate who can deliver Brexit by 31st October, win back Conservative voters and stop Jeremy Corbyn getting into Downing Street.”
Born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson in New York, United States, Johnson became a British politician, famed for riding his bike while Mayor, a post he served until 2016.
He has served as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip since 2015. Before that, he was MP for Henley from between 2001 and 2008.
As a dual citizen, Johnson also qualifies to vie for US presidency, having been born there. Usually, dual nationality is not forbidden for UK premier candidates, as long as you are also a citizen of the UK or the Commonwealth and be an adult of sound mind.
Then, one only needs to gain majority in the House of Commons and hope the Queen will allow them to form the next government.
DEAL VS NO DEAL
Back to Brexit, Mr Johnson, a former Foreign Secretary in May’s government resigned last July citing frustrations with the way the government was handling Brexit.
Yet his criticism of May could haunt him, depending on how he handles the very challenge that saw him quit. After postponements last march, the formal withdrawal from the EU is scheduled for October 31, 2019, just about 90 days after he takes power.
Mr Johnson has told audiences that he will deliver it whether there is a deal or no deal with the EU.
However, no political leaders in the UK or EU actually likes a ‘no deal’ Brexit. This could mean that border checks will be reintroduced for EU citizens visiting the UK, roaming charges for mobile phone, transportation of goods be slowed and British citizens be subjected to acquiring local EU driving licences as opposed to now when they can use their UK-issued permits.
In fact, a no-deal Brexit could mean that there won’t be a transition period and that as soon as October 31 reaches, the flip should take place.
Outgoing Prime Minister May was forced to quit on May 24 after MPs refused to endorse her ‘deal’ three times.
Now the party is under pressure from other political groupings who have risen in popularity as the Conservatives struggle to deliver Brexit.
For now, May may have departed, but only her proposals are known as the EU threatened it won’t come back for talks again.
May’s deal included a proposal to form of political deal that determines the relationship between the EU and the UK, perhaps borrowing from what countries like Switzerland have done to benefit from the European market without having to join the bloc.
The Guardian reported on last week that Brussels was preparing to offer Mr Johnson an extension beyond October 31, to allow time for negotiations.
“The extra period of EU membership would be used for renegotiation but could be billed to Conservative Brexiters as an opportunity to prepare further for leaving without a deal,” the British paper reported.
“There is growing confidence among key member states that a no-deal Brexit can be avoided after the Commons voted this week to prevent the next prime minister, likely to be Johnson, from proroguing (discontinuing sessions) parliament.