LONDON – Boris Johnson has been appointed as prime minister of the United Kingdom.
He made his first public address outside 10 Downing Street, the PM’s official residence in London, on Wednesday.
Johnson paid tribute to his predecessor Theresa May and praised her “deep sense of public service.”
He vowed to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31 and said there is a “remote possibility” of the UK leaving the European Union without a withdrawal deal.
“We will do a new deal, a better deal – based on free trade and mutual support,” he added.
“I have every confidence that in 99 days we will have cracked it but we aren’t going to wait 99 days.”
He pledged to “fix the crisis in social care,” improve education, overhaul tax rules, animal welfare and to put more police on the streets.
“All this and more, we can do now, and only now at this extraordinary moment in our history,” he added.
“After three years of unfounded self-doubt, it is time to change the record.”
He continued: “We in this government will work flat out to give this country the leadership it deserves and that work starts now.”
There was audible heckling and at times booing from protestors gathered at the bottom of Downing Street and the European flag could be seen waving above the gates.
Johnson was summoned to Buckingham Palace by Queen Elizabeth II and invited to form a government.
His motorcade to the palace was disrupted by a group of Greenpeace climate change protesters who attempted to form a human chain across the road.
Johnson is expected to start announcing his cabinet ministers.
The former foreign secretary was widely expected to win the Conservative Party leadership race after May resigned over internal party divides on Brexit.
In her farewell speech May said that his immediate priority will be to “complete our exit from the European Union in a way that works for the whole United Kingdom.”
She continued that the completion of Brexit could start a “new beginning for our country, a national renewal that can move us beyond the current impasse.”
Her speech was interrupted by a campaigner who shouted “stop Brexit” to which May replied “I think the answer to that is I think not.”
Johnson beat his rival, current foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, by a margin of 92,153 votes to 46,656.
In his victory speech, he said he had three priorities taking office: to “deliver, unite and defeat.”
He added that the slogan made the acronym “dud” until you added the final element, “energize,” which, in fact, made it “dude.”
The former London Mayor has been a vocal critic of May’s withdrawal agreement with the EU, deeming it over-conciliatory, and has vowed that the UK will leave on Oct. 31 “do or die.”
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said they will be ready if Johnson pursues a no-deal strategy but it would never be the bloc’s choice.
He told the BBC on Wednesday: “We look forward to hearing what the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants, what are the choices of the UK.
“Is it an orderly Brexit? This is the choice, the preference of the EU and we have worked for an orderly Brexit all along the last three years.
“Is it a no-deal Brexit? A no-deal Brexit will never be, never, the choice of the EU. But we are prepared.”
Johnson’s victory as Tory leader has resulted in a number of resignations from within the party.
Philip Hammond resigned as chancellor of the exchequer on Wednesday.
David Lidington, Cabinet Office minister, also announced his resignation on Twitter.
On Tuesday, development secretary and former leadership contender Rory Stewart, justice secretary David Gauke and skills minister Anne Milton all resigned.
Alan Duncan, foreign minister, a less senior posting than a secretary of state in the UK, resigned on Monday.