After a Tory Party leadership election in which the British public had no say, right-wing Brexiteer Boris Johnson on Tuesday emerged victorious in the contest to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Johnson defeated British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, winning the support of 92,153 of the 160,000 Conservative Party members.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the U.K. Labour Party, wrote following the vote that “Boris Johnson has won the support of fewer than 100,000 unrepresentative Conservative Party members by promising tax cuts for the richest, presenting himself as the bankers’ friend, and pushing for a damaging No Deal Brexit.”
“But he hasn’t won the support of our country,” Corbyn tweeted. “The people of our country should decide who becomes the Prime Minister in a General Election.”
Boris Johnson has won the support of fewer than 100,000 unrepresentative Conservative Party members by promising tax cuts for the richest, presenting himself as the bankers' friend, and pushing for a damaging No Deal Brexit.
But he hasn't won the support of our country.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) July 23, 2019
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas echoed Corbyn, writing on Twitter that “around 100,000 Tory Party members have inflicted on us a prime minister with a record of bigotry, racism, lying, and incompetence, Boris Johnson.”
“This is not democracy,” Lucas added. “This is #NotInOurName.”
During a rally outside 10 Downing Street ahead of Tuesday’s vote, Lucas called Johnson “a liar, a racist, and Donald Trump’s poodle.”
As the New York Times reported Saturday, anger and frustration among the U.K. public ran high ahead of the leadership election, with Britons denouncing the process as profoundly undemocratic.
“The future of our country is going to be decided by a handful of out-of-touch toffs,” Chris Richardson, a 21-year-old civil engineering student, told the Times. “The Tories have made a complete mess of Brexit over three years and have ultimately failed. It’s not too late to avert the crisis, and the public is desperate to have its say, but instead we are being shut out further and are forced to watch this slow-motion car crash. It’s brutal.”
Johnson’s victory in the leadership election comes months after May announced she would step down as Prime Minister after repeatedly bungling the effort to negotiate a Brexit deal.
Though Johnson has said he will attempt to negotiate a deal for the U.K. to leave the European Union, he has vowed to leave the E.U. by the October deadline whether or not an agreement is reached—a move critics warn could have disastrous consequences for the British economy and ordinary people.
“Johnson’s No Deal Brexit would mean job cuts, higher prices in the shops, and risk our [National Health Service] being sold off to U.S. corporations in a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump,” Corbyn warned in a tweet on Tuesday.
Progressives in Britain are planning to take to the streets on Wednesday to protest Johnson’s ascent to the prime ministership.
“The Tories have elected Boris Johnson as leader,” Guardian columnist Owen Jones tweeted Tuesday. “He is a serial liar, a charlatan, and a bigot. Make sure everyone knows the truth.”
The Tories have elected Boris Johnson as leader. He is a serial liar, a charlatan, and a bigot. Make sure everyone knows the truth pic.twitter.com/yNYQoo9L0Q
— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) July 23, 2019
“Despondent about Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister? Don’t be,” said Jones. “Take to the streets tomorrow instead.”