Last week, Boris Johnson won the first round of voting in the Conservative Party leadership contest, confirming his position as the frontrunner to be the next British prime minister. He will now have to contest the second round of voting on June 18.
The former foreign secretary who is vying to fight for a better Brexit deal, won the approval of 114 Tory MPs, out of the total of 313. Besides Johnson, six other candidates have also qualified to contest the second round. The included incumbent Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab. They will go through to the next round of voting among MPs, unless they decide to drop out.
Former Leader of House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, former Work and Pensions Minister Esther Louise McVey and former Chief Whip Mark Harper were knocked out of the race, as they received less than 15 votes.
“Thank you my friends and colleagues in the Conservative and Unionist Party for your support. I am delighted to win the first ballot, but we have a long way to go” Johnson said in a statement on Twitter. His victory in the first round by securing 114 votes means that he is certain to reach the final rounds of the leadership contest. Only 105 votes are required to reach to the final round, in which two candidates will face each other.
Johnson was the only candidate who received more than 100 votes. Other six candidates, who also made to the second round, polled less than 50 votes.
Also last week a motion seeking to prevent a no-deal Brexit under the future prime minister was defeated in the House of Commons on Wednesday and has boosted Tory leadership contenders seeking a clean break from the EU.
The cross-party motion, which would have allowed MPs to prevent a no-deal Brexit and time to pass legislation that would restrict the future prime minister in leaving the bloc without a deal, was defeated by 309 votes to 298, a majority of 11.
Boris Johnson seems like he will use “no deal Brexit” card against European Union leaders who are not willing to go back to negotiations. However, it is a card that might cost a lot to both sides.
According to a leaked cabinet report last week, the UK is not yet ready for a no deal.
It will take “six to eight months” to build up supplies of medicines for a no-deal Brexit. The warning says the pharmaceutical industry needs that period of help from the government “to ensure adequate arrangements are in place to build stockpiles of medicines”.
It also says that it would take “at least 4-5 months” to make traders ready for the new border checks that might be required, including incentives to register for fresh schemes.
It will be also important to see how long he can keep the party without not going to a general election as the opposition will likely pressure him to get a fresh mandate from the public. Considering all the factors above, a hard task is ahead of the Boris Johnson till the end of October.