+++ Boris Johnson becomes prime minister — live updates +++ | News | DW | 24.07.2019
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+++ Boris Johnson becomes prime minister — live updates +++

Boris Johnson has assumed control of Britain, taking over from Theresa May. Parliament has paid tribute to May's public service and she has said she is happy to hand over the leadership to a fellow conservative.

What you need to know:

- In Downing Street, Johnson promised to deliver Brexit on October 31, "no ifs or buts"

- Queen Elizabeth II appointed him during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace

- The Queen invited Johnson to form a government after May's formal resignation

All updates in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC/GMT)

Click herefor a round-up of Johnson's cabinet appointments

19:14 Hundreds of anti-Johnson protesters are marching toward the Downing Street. The demonstration is backed by various groups, including Momentum, the left-wing campaign aligned with the opposition Labour Party

"I'm here to protest against Boris Johnson's policies," Andy Unger, a university professor in London, told AFP news agency. "I just don't think he's the right person to be prime minister – he's not my prime minister," he added.

Demonstrators are holding placards with slogans like "kick Johnson out" and "wake me up from this nightmare."

18:47 Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has reiterated his call for fresh election.

18:04 PM Johnson has appointed Dominic Raab as foreign secretary and first secretary of state. Former Brexit Secretary Raab resigned from Theresa May's Cabinet in November 2018 over the former premier's proposed deal to leave the European Union. "I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU," Raab said at the time.

Raab said Wednesday the most important thing is to get Britain out of the EU.

Stephen Barclay will continue as Brexit minister.

Ben Wallace will take over as secretary of state for defense.

Read more: Opinion: Boris Johnson's clowning glory

17:55 Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has criticized Johnson's first speech as prime minister, saying it was "a lot of bluff." Corbyn believes the new premier will not be unable to honor his commitment to deliver Brexit by the end of October.

"I don't see how he can," he said. "All he did today was a lot of bluff about delivering it and a whole load of stuff about the social issues in Britain – of which there are serious problems, most of which he was party to the creation of," he added.

"We certainly do need something much more serious in our approach to Europe as well as to the problems of inequality in this country."

17:40 Sajid Javid, former home secretary, has been appointed as finance minister, and Priti Patel as home secretary.

17:14 Cabinet members are resigning left, right and center. Over half of cabinet has been sacked or resigned. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who was also the final contender against Johnson to become prime minister, is the latest to quit. Hunt was reportedly offered a defense job, which he turned down.

16:57 Home Secretary Sajid Javid is the favorite to become Britain's new finance minister, according to media reports. He is currently meeting with PM Johnson at 10 Downing Street.

16:18 Britain's Defense Secretary Penny Mordaunt has announced she is quitting her post and will not serve in Johnson's team.

"I'm heading to the backbenches from where the PM will have my full support," Mordaunt, a Brexit supporter who backed Johnson's opponent Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative leadership race, said on Twitter.

Liam Fox, secretary of state for international trade, and Greg Clark, business secretary have also announced their resignations.

Johnson's first cabinet announcements are expected soon.

15:50 Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, congratulated Boris Johnson on becoming prime minister. He said he was looking forward to discussing details of "our cooperation," in a reference to Johnson's Brexit plans.

In her congratulatory letter, posted on Twitter by her spokeswoman, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed on Britain and Germany's "common European heritage."

"The ties between our countries are distinguished by deep friendship and close partnership," Merkel wrote.

"We are linked by personal ties between people, economic relations between companies, our common engagement for a rules-based international order and our common European heritage."

Read more: German politicians in two minds about Boris Johnson

15: 28 Fellow Conservative MP Lucy Allan praised Johnson's Downing Street speech, calling it a "fantastic start" to his premiership.

15:00 Johnson made his first speech as British prime minister at Downing Street. He paid tribute to his predecessor Theresa May and lauded her efforts, saying that despite all her contributions "pessimists at home and abroad" see the UK as a " prisoner to old arguments of 2016". 

Johnson slammed the "doubters and doomsters," saying he would restore people's trust in democracy. The new premier said that Britain will come out of the EU on October 31, "no ifs or buts."

"We will have a better (new) deal and start a new exciting partnership with Europe."

Read more: Boris Johnson's 5 most urgent tasks as UK prime minister

Queen Elizabeth II invites Boris Johnson to form a new government

Queen Elizabeth II invited Johnson to form a new government on Wednesday

14:40 Johnson has become UK's new prime minister after the Queen invited him to form a government in her name. The new premier will now head to Downing Street and make a speech.

14: 25 Johnson's motorcade to Buckingham Palace was blocked by a small group of protesters. The protesters were manhandled out of the way by police. Greenpeace UK says its volunteers interrupted Johnson's convoy to the Palace.

14:20 According to The Royal Family, May's audience with the Queen lasted around half an hour.

14:10 May has officially stepped down as prime minister. The Queen has graciously accepted her resignation. As May departs, incoming PM Johnson arrives at Buckingham Palace. The Queen will invite Johnson to form a government.

14:04 Former British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose decision to hold the Brexit referendum triggered a political crisis in the UK, congratulated incoming premier Boris Johnson in a Twitter message.

13:51 May has now arrived at Buckingham Palace, where she's meeting with Queen Elizabeth II. May will formally tender her resignation to the Queen.

13:31 May delivered a short resignation speech alongside her husband, in which she thanked her colleagues, public servants, staff, the British people and her husband. She gave special mention, as during her final appearance in parliament, to the importance of women in power. "This is a country of aspiration and opportunity and I hope that every young girl who has seen a woman prime minister now knows for sure there are no limits to what they can achieve." She repeated her intention to stay on as a backbencher and said she would continue to serve in the national interest.

On Brexit, she said Johnson's first task would be ensuring a departure from the EU that works for the whole country.

13:26 May has emerged from Downing Street, having presumably thanked her staff, to deliver her street-side speech.

13:23 David Lidington, cabinet office minister and deputy prime minister, announced his resignation too, joining David Gauke and Rory Stewart, among others.

13:08 The Evening Standard is reporting on the text of Johnson's planned speech later today. He will reportedly vow "to serve the people," break the Brexit impasse and deliver firm action, the paper reports.

"The time has come to act," he was due to say, according to the report. "To take decisions, to give strong leadership and to change this country for the better."

12:34 British Finance Minister Philip Hammond says he has resigned from the government. He had long signalled he would resign should Johnson take power.

12:22 May's convoy leaves parliament, on her way to Downing Street.

12:17 It was confirmed by other Conservative MPs that Johnson was not in attendance to May's final appearance as PM.

12:03 And it's over. May's last appearance in parliament as prime minister. House of Commons rises in standing ovation (barring almost all Labour MPs) after a largely positive question time, praising May for her commitment to public service and dedication to the people of the country.

11:57 Speaking on being a woman in politics May said she was proud to see so many female leaders, past and present, in the house, but slammed Labour for its failure to appoint women to leadership roles. She also said she was proud of the improving situation of women in the country.

11:49 On Brexit potentially threatening cooperative medical research between Britain and the EU, May said: "I do want to see a relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union in the future that enables our scientists, our academics, to continue to work with those in the EU as well as those around the rest of the world, to do the pioneering work, which is …. changing people's lives and improving those lives for the better."

11:40 On racism and nationalism creeping into British politics, May says: "It behooves all of us as politicians, indeed all in public life, to be careful about the language we use and to ensure that we give a very clear message that there is no place in our society for racism or for hate crime and we should all act to ensure that we deliver on those sentiments."

11:32 May has defended Johnson in response to a pointed question about his sabotage of her premiership. "My successor will continue to deliver the Conservative policies that have improved the lives of people up and down this country since we were elected into a coalition government in 2010. There is a long list of improvements that have taken place in people's lives, and I look forward, on the back benches, to giving my full support to the next prime minister as he takes us forward, delivering on Brexit and continuing to deliver on those Conservative policies." She ducked any response on sabotage. 

Theresa May (picture-alliance/empics/House of Commons)

May had a testy exchange with Jeremy Corbyn in which she rejected a call for a new election and told Corbyn to step down

11:16 After a testy exchange Corbyn, May called on him to resign. "As a party leader who accepted when her time was up, perhaps the time is now for him to do the same."

11:13 Corbyn is laying into May over Brexit, saying her inflexibility killed any prospect of making a good deal with the EU. However, she hits back, telling Corbyn that he failed to support any deal and focused on domestic party politics instead of helping avoid a hard Brexit.

"I worked tirelessly to get a good deal for the UK, and I also worked hard to get that deal through this Parliament. I voted for the deal. What did the right honorable gentleman do? He voted against a deal, he voted to make no deal more likely, and when there was a prospect of reaching consensus across this house, the right honorable gentleman walked away from the talks. At every stage, his only interest has been playing party politics. And frankly he should be ashamed of himself."

She rejected a call to hold a new election.

11:07 Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn jokingly called upon May to help him "oppose the reckless plans of her successor" in her role as a backbencher. She didn't seem enthusiastic. He then criticized her track record, with increasing problems in pensioner poverty, crime, the NHS, schools, public sector funding and homelessness.

11:01 Question time is starting. You can watch it here.

10:59 The European Parliament is getting in early, warning Johnson that they will not renegotiate the Brexit agreement. The legislature's Brexit steering group said in a statement that Johnson's campaign comments "have greatly increased the risk of a disorderly exit of the UK." But they reiterated they could support the rewriting of an accompanying non-binding political declaration to seek "a more ambitious future EU-UK partnership."

10:48 The new prime minister will immediately have his plate full, obviously with Brexit issues, but also a burgeoning crisis with Iran. Read more here: Boris Johnson's 5 most urgent tasks as UK prime minister

10:46 Johnson is facing vocal criticism for his reported decision to appoint Vote Leave campaign director Dominic Cummings as a senior adviser, despite him being found in contempt of parliament earlier this year for refusing to give evidence to a committee of lawmakers investigating "fake news." Among other responses, Conservative MP turned independent, Sarah Wollaston, tweeted: "If true, would be an appalling error of judgement to appoint someone who has been in contempt of Parliament."

10:29 Johnson's imminent appointment has London's stock market somewhat worried, starting the day slightly down. The British pound had fallen to near two-year lows on fears of a hard Brexit, but has firmed up today. Investors will likely be watching Johnson's speech for any indication of Brexit plans.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Germany's influential lobby group the Federation of German Industry has warned Johnson the Brexit withdrawal agreement must not be renegotiated, in comments to DW.

"The United Kingdom used to be the number five trade partner of Germany and last year this fell down to number six and this year also to number seven. So there is no Brexit at all and we can already see the negative impacts."

10:19 Interested in Johnson's ascent to power? DW has you covered: Who is Boris Johnson, Britain's next prime minister?

Watch video 02:24

Boris Johnson faces formidable challenges as UK's new PM

10:16 Once Johnson moves into Downing Street he will begin appointing his new cabinet. Speculation is rife among British media over who will serve under Johnson. Reuters news agency spoke to someone close to Johnson, who said a record number of ethnic minority politicians will be appointed, and there will be more women.

Former international development secretary and Brexiteer, Priti Patel, as well as Employment Minister Alok Sharma are due for Cabinet seats, according to the source.

Leadership rival and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has reportedly rejected an offer for defense minister, Sky News reports.

Interior minister Sajid Javid is widely tipped retain a top job, perhaps finance minister. Career diplomat David Frost is tipped to become an adviser on Europe, while Dominic Cummings, the Vote Leave campaign director may be appointed a senior adviser.

10:00 Today is the day. Barring an unprecedented veto from Queen Elizabeth II, Boris Johnson will become the new British prime minister. The 55-year-old emerged victorious from the protracted Conservative Party leadership race on Tuesday and should have the keys to 10 Downing Street by nightfall.

He will replace Theresa May, who resigned after failing to win parliamentary support for her hard-fought Brexit deal with the European Union. Johnson has repeatedly said he is willing to crash out of the European Union without any deal if necessary — albeit also saying it's not his intention — as he aims to eke out alterations to the existing accord with Brussels by October 31.

A quick rundown of the day's events, assuming all goes to plan: At about 11 a.m., May will attend her final Prime Minister's Questions session in the House of Commons. Typically, such sessions are often less adversarial and more valedictory affairs, although the fraught nature of May's tenure and the Brexit process could undermine tradition in this case.

Then, after saying farewell to Downing Street staff, May will travel 1 mile (1.6 km) to Buckingham Palace to resign and ask Queen Elizabeth II to invite Johnson to form a new government. The Queen will then meet with Johnson and appoint him prime minister. He will subsequently hold an agenda-setting speech outside 10 Downing Street.

After entering Downing Street, Johnson will start appointing his ministers. 

Watch video 14:37

Boris Johnson to lead Britain into Brexit

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