Politics

Boris Johnson quickly builds his new team with Brexit deadline fast approaching

Key Points
  • Boris Johnson has accepted the Queen's request that he become the U.K's new leader.
  • Johnson now has 99 days to get a Brexit withdrawal deal in place by October 31.
Britain's new Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a speech outside 10 Downing Street in London on July 24, 2019 on the day he was formally appointed British prime minister. - Boris Johnson takes charge as Britain's prime minister on Wednesday, on a mission to deliver Brexit by October 31 with or without a deal.
BEN STANSALL | AFP | Getty Images

Boris Johnson has officially been installed as the new prime minister of the United Kingdom and must now set about tackling the country's most pressing issues.

There are none presently bigger than Brexit and many see Johnson's appointment as an opportunity for one of the architects of Britain's decision to leave to own the detail of what happens next.

Speaking outside number 10 Downing Street in his first public words as leader, Johnson said "doubters, doomsters and gloomsters" who did not believe Britain could achieve a worthwhile Brexit would soon be proven wrong.

"The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts," said Johnson, who added that his team would "do a new deal, a better deal," and "maximize the benefits of Brexit."

The new leader promised investment into social services, policing and hospitals. He also prioritized strengthening the union between the U.K.'s constituent parts, claiming that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were an "awesome foursome."

Johnson now has 99 days to renegotiate Brexit with the European Union in order to get a withdrawal deal in place by October 31.

On the steps of Downing Street, Johnson said he did not want the outcome of a "no-deal" Brexit but Britain would need to fully prepare for that possibility.

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The major issue will be what happens with the "Irish backstop" which ultimately prevented the outgoing leader Theresa May from passing her version of a deal. The backstop was essentially a provision that no hard border would be built on the island of Ireland, once U.K. constituent Northern Ireland, left Europe.

Earlier, the U.K. Queen officially appointed Johnson by asking him to form a government — the 14th different prime minister under her reign. The new leader also immediately set about creating a Cabinet of his closet ministers and his backroom staff.

One of the boldest, and first to emerge, was the appointment of Dominic Cummings as a senior advisor to Johnson. Cummings is the former chief of the "Vote Leave" campaign ahead of the 2016 Brexit referendum and was given a roaming role. He was found in contempt of Parliament just four months ago for refusing to give evidence to lawmakers investigating fake news.

Cummings will serve as one of two key aides to Johnson, alongside the new prime minister's former advisor when he was London mayor, Edward Lister.

Meanwhile, other key appointments were Sajid Javid as finance minister, Dominic Raab as foreign secretary and Priti Patel as interior secretary.

"The clear signal is that committed supporters of Brexit are in the key positions, and also those who support his pledge to leave the EU without a deal if necessary by October 31," analysts at Deutsche Bank said in a research note on Thursday morning.

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