New United Kingdom Prime Minister Stirs Controversey

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New United Kingdom Prime Minister Stirs Controversey

Boris Johnson, new prime minister.

Boris Johnson, new prime minister.

Courtesy of politico.eu

Boris Johnson, new prime minister.

Courtesy of politico.eu

Courtesy of politico.eu

Boris Johnson, new prime minister.

Lily Ives, Features Editor

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As of July 23, the United Kingdom has a new prime minister named Boris Johnson.

He was elected following the Brexit-fueled resignation of Theresa May, the announcement having come June 7. May remained a lame duck leader until Johnson was elected.

Boris Johnson is a member of the conservative party and prior to becoming prime minister, he worked as a journalist. As for politics, Johnson was elected as a member of Parliament in 2001 and after this, he was elected as the mayor of London in 2008, being reelected in 2012. 

Johnson returned to parliament in 2015 and was a major proponent of the U.K. leaving the European Union, a.k.a. Brexit. Under Prime Minister May, he served as the foreign secretary. 

As prime minister, the biggest issue facing Johnson is the current conflict that is Brexit. Currently, Parliament has passed a law so that the U.K. has to have a deal prior to exiting the E.U., as to avoid a sudden and somewhat aggressive shift in how Britain runs, and if this isn’t achieved then a delay is required to be put in place. A no-deal exiting would also eliminate the 21-month transition period following the exit. 

Johnson recently brought the idea of an early general election, it being used as an effort to force the U.K. out of the E.U. without another delay, to parliament. He was met with defeat, including members of his own party.                                                                                   

Following this defeat, Johnson has suspended Parliament for over a month.He has stated that this was for the upcoming queen’s speech, but many have pointed out that this is a longer period of time. It is also a controversial decision due to how close this is coming to the Oct. 31 date for leaving the E.U. 

         An issue that Johnson has spoken about under the umbrella of Brexit is the Irish border. The current plan that would be in place in the event of a deal Brexit would be a backstop which would ensure that no hard border would be in place in Ireland, this being an effort to avoid reigniting the bloodshed brought about in The Troubles back in the 1980’s. 

Johnson has stated that he is opposed to their being a northern only backstop, which basically means that the lack of border would only be in Northern Ireland. People previously thought that this backstop might have been used by Johnson in an effort to find some sort of middle ground deal with parliament.

In short, most of Johnson’s current efforts as prime minister have remained focused on Brexit, leaving little room for other issues. Public opinion on him in this position have been fairly negative since the beginning, and, with the current handling of Brexit, this opinion doesn’t seem to be getting any better.