Boris Johnson has been appointed as the new leader of the Conservative party. Johnson won 66% of the party vote (approx.. 160,000 members), with Jeremy Hunt coming second in the contest.
As leader of the Conservative party and replacing Theresa May, Johnson will become the country’s next prime minister.
Johnson is considered to be a hard line Brexiteer. During the leadership contest, the former foreign secretary repeatedly stated that should the UK government be unable to negotiate a suitable Brexit deal with the European Union, he would be in favour of leaving the union in a no-deal Brexit.
Speaking at his first press conference after winning the Tory party leadership, Johnson said he would “get Brexit done by 31 October”, with a “new spirit of can do.”
A series of high-ranking officials have advised against leaving the EU without a deal in place. Speaking in early July, Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, noted that despite extensive preparations by banks and other UK businesses, crashing out of the EU would result in a “major economic shock”.
Those involved in the polymer and chemical industry are similarly concerned. A statement released by the Chemical Industries Association congratulated Johnson on his win, but continued: “Securing a Brexit deal with the European Union in the coming months will, we believe, fundamentally strengthen the chances of that growth and prosperity happening, so we urge the new Prime Minister and his government - along with EU27 governments - to work constructively and urgently to avoid a no deal outcome by the end of October.”
A major sticking point to the Brexit negotiations is the so-called Northern Irish backstop. This is intended to ensure that no hard border can be put in place between Northern Ireland and Eire, even in the event that the UK and the EU cannot agree a comprehensive trade deal.
Remaining in the existing Customer Union would ensure this, but removing the UK from this agreement is a core covenant of the Brexit deal. EU negotiators are unlikely to agree to the UK remaining in the Customer Union if the country withdraws from the Maastricht Treaty which ensures free movement across the Eurozone.
The success of the Johnson premiership will largely hinge on whether the new prime minister and his team can successfully negotiate a suitable compromise to replace the Irish back stop agreement and execute a smooth Brexit withdrawal.