Boris Johnson, the former London mayor and foreign secretary, is the new resident of 10 Downing Street.
He became the leader of the Conservative party by defeating his rival, foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, by a comfortable margin, winning over 90,000 votes to Hunt’s just some 40,000.
As a matter of fact, there isn’t indeed much difference between Johnson and Hunt in terms of their policy agenda: both have pledged to deliver on Brexit, with or without a deal.
And that begs the question: why did most Tories prefer Johnson to Hunt as their new leader?
Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that compared to Hunt, Johnson is an unorthodox political figure who is a lot more eager to push the envelope when trying to achieve his goals.
That also explains why those who voted for Johnson are willing to throw their weight behind him: they hope that Johnson can guide Britain out of its Brexit woes and turn the tables on the European Union negotiators with his nearly thuggish style and approach.
There is indeed no time for Johnson to celebrate his victory as the Brexit deadline is only about three months away.
Not only does Johnson have to come up with some outside-the-box solutions, but he also needs to act swiftly.
Although he is now the prime minister, he is still dealing with the same parliament that his predecessor Theresa May dealt with, which means he is going to face basically the same hurdles that May failed to overcome in the course of delivering Brexit.
Last but not least, Andrew Murrison, the minister of state at the Department for International Development, recently told the House of Commons that Britain will be “keeping a close eye” on the police investigation into the gangster attacks in Yuen Long on Sunday night.
That being said, one might eagerly anticipate Johnson’s take on the Hong Kong issue now that he is prime minister.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 24
Translation by Alan Lee with additional reporting
[Chinese version 中文版]
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