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Who Is Boris Johnson?

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (C) holds his first Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in London on July 25.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (C) holds his first Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in London on July 25.

There's a new tenant at 10 Downing Street, and he has some of the U.K.'s neighbors nervous.

Boris Johnson officially became prime minister after meeting with the Queen at Buckingham Palace last Wednesday. The bombastic Tory politician was widely expected to win the vote of the Conservative Party members a day earlier, but what happens next is less clear.

After serving two terms as London's mayor from 2008 to 2016, Johnson tacked hard to the Right as a leader of the "Leave" campaign ahead of the Brexit vote. Although the authenticity of his commitment to that position has been questioned, frustrated Brexiteers propelled his political ascent as former Prime Minister Theresa May failed to negotiate a divorce deal both Parliament and the EU could get behind.

After a privileged upbringing that included studying at the elite Eton College and at Oxford, Johnson came to prominence as an EU-bashing journalist, writing columns that helped shape anti-Brussels sentiment in the U.K. Despite a posh accent giving away his background, he has cultivated an image of a bumbling everyman.

In his first day as prime minister, Johnson sacked more than half the cabinet and installed pro-Brexit loyalists. He has promised to see the U.K. out of the European Union by the Oct. 31 deadline, whether or not a deal is reached.

A no-deal Brexit could mean delays at ports, shortages of medicine and other supplies and serious economic harm to the country. There's also fear it could reignite conflict over the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, since the Republic will remain an EU member country.

We discuss what "BoJo" means for the U.K.'s future, and for the country's relationship with the U.S. and the EU.

GUESTS

Anne McElvoy, Senior editor, The Economist; editor, Economist Radio; based in London;@annemcelvoy

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

© 2019 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2019 WAMU 88.5