Support our Nation today - please donate here

Live: Wales reacts as Boris Johnson wins race to become next Tory leader

23 Jul 2019 9 minute read
Boris Johnson. Picture by EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (CC BY 2.0)


So what happens next?

Boris Johnson is expected to spend the rest of the day putting his prospective cabinet together. He will also address the 1922 committee of Conservative MPs at 4pm.

Then – tomorrow – Boris Johnson will go and see Elizabeth II, and Johnson will then make a speech at 10 Downing Street and then – the fun part – attempt to form a government.


Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson (who backed Jeremy Hunt in the contest) reacts:

“I congratulate Boris Johnson on his victory and offer commiserations to Jeremy Hunt,” she said. “This was a keenly fought leadership campaign and the Conservative party can be proud of the manner in which it has been conducted.

“Mr Johnson takes over the leadership at an incredibly challenging time for our country, and he has an enormous task ahead of him.

“My priority as Scottish Conservative leader is to ensure that he will deliver for Scotland within the UK, stop Nicola Sturgeon’s efforts to take us back to a second independence referendum, and prevent Jeremy Corbyn from getting into Number Ten.”


Some of Boris Johnson’s speech on being elected leader of the Conservative party:

“Today at this political moment in our history we again have to reconcile two sets of instincts, two noble sets of instincts, between the deep desire of friendship and free trade and mutual support in security and defence between Britain and our European partners and the simultaneous desire, equally deep and heartfelt, for democratic self-government in this country,” he said.

“Of course some people would say that they are irreconcilable and it just can’t be done.

“Well I look at you this morning and I ask myself, ‘Do you look daunted? Do you feel daunted?’ I don’t think you look remotely daunted to me.

“I think we know that we can do it and that the people of this country are trusting in us to do it and we know that we will do it.”


Brexit party leader Nigel Farage also reacts:

“I wish Boris Johnson well as Prime Minister with his do or die pledge to deliver Brexit on October 31st,” he said.

“Does he have the courage to deliver?”


New Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson reacts:

“Boris Johnson has finally got his hands on the keys to Number 10, but he has shown time and time again that he isn’t fit to be the Prime Minister of our country,” she said.

“Whether it is throwing people under the bus or writing a lie on the side of one: Britain deserves better than Boris Johnson.

“If we want to defeat nationalism and populism, we need to give people an alternative vision for our country. It’s the Liberal Democrats who can lead the renewal our country needs.”


US President Donal Trump weighs in:

“Congratulations to Boris Johnson on becoming the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He will be great!” he said.


SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has “profound concerns” about a Johnson premiership.

“I congratulate Boris Johnson on his election as Tory leader and I will do everything possible to ensure that he respects Scotland’s views and interests,” she said.

“However, I have profound concerns about the prospect of his premiership and it would be hypocritical not to be frank about these.

“These are concerns that I am certain will be shared by the vast majority of people in Scotland who, had they been given any say, would not have chosen to hand the keys of Number 10 to someone with his views and track record.”


YouGov have published a poll on who would make the best Prime Minister:

Boris Johnson: 34%

Jeremy Corbyn: 20%

Don’t know: 42%

The Don’t Know party are going to storm it!


Plaid Cymru’s Liz-Saville Roberts has tweeted (in Welsh) “a message to Mr B Johnson – thank you for your kind gift to the cause of independence in Wales”.


Welsh Conservative leader Paul Davies reacts:

“I voted for Boris and supported his leadership campaign as I believe that our current political situation calls for charismatic, uplifting and positive leadership, which as our leader Boris will deliver,” he said.

“With Boris Johnson we can keep Jeremy Corbyn out of 10 Downing Street, stopping him from dragging us back to the 1970s and together we can end Welsh Labour’s 20 uninterrupted years of power in Wales.

“I look forward to welcoming Boris back to Wales as the new PM in the near future & to continue building a strong and positive relationship to help shape the future of Wales and the United Kingdom, ensuring we take full advantage of all the opportunities Brexit will offer.”


Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard reacts:

“A no-deal Brexit led by Boris Johnson spells disaster for our country and it will be unforgivable of the Scottish Tories to back him,” he says.

“Only Scottish Labour is standing up for Scotland’s place in the UK, for the UK’s place in Europe and against a harmful no deal Brexit.”


Ynys Mon’s Plaid Cymru AM Rhun ap Iorwerth, whose constituancy includes the port of Holyhead which could face considerable difficulties under a No Deal Brexit, reacts:

“We cannot afford to be blasé about the devastating impact a No-Deal Brexit would have on Holyhead Port & the people of this great town,” he said.

“Even at this 11th hour, my appeal to the UK Gov. and PM elect Boris Johnson is to realise the seriousness of what they’re talking about.”


Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price reacts:
“During the most serious political crisis in decades, a clown is set to become Prime Minister. But this is no joke,” he said.
“People will soon realise, this isn’t as good as it gets. By electing Boris Johnson, the question of Welsh independence is not of ‘if’, but ‘when’.”


Labour’s shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon reacts:

“Trumpism comes to the UK. Johnson will scapegoat and whip up division to protect an economic system rigged for billionaires,” he said.

The priority now for all progressives is to make him the shortest-serving PM in history, beat his hard-right No Deal plans and get Jeremy Corbyn into No.10.”


Former England and Wales Green party leader and MP for Brighton, Caroline Lucas, reacts:

“Around 100,000 Tory party members have inflicted on us a prime minister with a record of bigotry, racism, lying and incompetence,” she said.

“This is not democracy. This is not in our name.”


Boris Johnson will be the fifth Prime Minister since the Second World War to have been educated at Eton College.

It means one third of the UK’s 15 prime ministers since 1945 are Old Etonians.

In the meantime, none in that time have been brought up in Wales.


Welsh Labour leader and Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford reacts:

“Boris Johnson becomes PM at a time of real crisis for our country,” he said.

“I wish him well & hope he will be able to demonstrate the maturity, strategic thinking & honesty needed to meet the challenges he – and we all – face. I look forward to meeting him soon.”


Boris Johnson won 66.4% of the vote and Jeremy Hunt 33.6%. That is slightly less that the landslide 75%+ of the vote some had predicted for Boris Johnson, and slightly less than David Cameron’s 68%.


Responding to the announcement that Boris Johnson has been elected leader of the Conservative Party and is set to become Prime Minister tomorrow, Plaid Cymru said that it would be a “gift” to the Welsh independence movement.

“The Conservative party has just thrown the UK out of the frying pan and into the fire,” Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Liz Saville Roberts, said.

“During the most serious political crisis in decades, a clown is set to become Prime Minister. But this is no joke.

“People will soon realise, this isn’t as good as it gets. By electing Boris Johnson, the Conservative party has given the Welsh independence movement a gift.

“With the election of Mr Johnson, the question of Welsh independence is not of ‘if’, but ‘when’.”


Boris Johnson has won the Tory leadership contest and will become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, replacing Theresa May, tomorrow.

Johnson defeated leadership rival Jeremy Hunt. The polls closed at 5pm yesterday and the result was announced at 11.45am today.

It is expected that his win could spark more Government resignations after Sir Alan Duncan quit as Foreign Office minister on Monday, predicting a “crisis of government” when Mr Johnson becomes PM.

Chancellor Philip Hammond and Justice Secretary David Gauke have already given notice that they will resign rather than serve in a Boris Johnson government.

Former defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon claimed earlier today that Boris Johnson’s fresh mandate would lead to a deal with Brussels.

“Nobody is aiming for no-deal, that is not the strategy. We want a better deal, Parliament wants a better deal, and Boris Johnson has made clear throughout that he wants a better deal,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“But the way to get a better deal is to be very firm that that date is there in law.

“There are three months now before the end of October and it is perfectly possible, with plenty of goodwill on both sides, to improve the agreement so that Parliament does, in the end, support it.”

Justice Secretary David Gauke, however, said he believed that MPs at Westminster would step in to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

“There is a clear majority in the House of Commons that doesn’t want to leave the EU without a deal, I think that will become very clear in the autumn,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

“Are there circumstances where there is a risk of a government losing a confidence motion? Yes, clearly there are circumstances where there is a risk that that might happen.

“I think that the new prime minister would be wise to avoid getting into those circumstances.”

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.