BORIS Johnson is this morning tipped to be Britain’s next Prime Minister by the end of the summer.
David Cameron sensationally resigned as Conservative Party leader this morning after a humiliating defeat in the EU referendum. He will remain Prime Minister until his successor is chosen.
His announcement came just 13 months after he swept to power in the 2015 General Election with a huge mandate to govern. Mr Cameron spoke with a tearful wife Sam at his side in Downing Street. He said: “I do not think it would be right to be this country’s captain as we steered to a new destination.”
Crucially, he declared he will stay in Downing Street for three months to ensure continuity at the heart of the UK government. But there will be a new leader who will be crowned Tory leader at the party’s annual conference in Birmingham in October.
Mr Cameron’s shock decision will heap pressure on George Osborne to resign now, as many Tories see him as the architect of the doomed referendum campaign.
The victory by the Leave campaign of 52% to 48% will have enormous ramifications for the United Kingdom.
The vast bulk of Scotland voted to remain in the EU and pressure will almost certainly grow for a second referendum on Scots independence.
Mr Cameron’s move launched a three month leadership campaign for the Conservative Party – with BoJo the runaway favourite to win.
Tory MPs including their rivals Mr Johnson and Michael Gove had urged the PM and Chancellor to stay put in the event of Brexit.
They wanted them to carry on in power to ensure as smooth a transition as possible during the first days, weeks and months of Britain’s historic exit from the EU.
Mr Cameron made his shock announcement from the steps of number 10 as the stock market went into chaos.
Shares in British firms tumbled on the stock market – the very reason Tories had urged the Premier to stay put.
The news will have enormous consequences for government policy. Mr Cameron said it would be for his successor to decide when to trigger Article 50 of the EU Treaty – which begins a two year negotiation period with the Commission in Brussels about terms of exit.
He will attend an EU heads of state meeting in Brussels next week to discuss the future. A string of decisions in the PM’s “in tray” are now on the back burner as the government runs out of steam.
And recently-announced government policies like the soft drinks tax are likely to fall as the government goes into paralysis and a future one is picked by a new Prime Minister.
Within seconds MPs were beginning to rally around future leadership prospects.
The leading runners and riders are Mr Johnson, Home Secretary Theresa May and Mr Gove as the Conservatives are unlikely to choose a “Remain” campaigner to lead them. The process will see Tory MPs whittle contenders down to just two, who will then go to a vote of the Conservative Party membership.
Observers expect it to be an easy victory for Mr Johnson if he makes it through to the last two contenders, as Tory associations up and down the country are huge fans of the former London Mayor. Little is known about Mr Johnson’s priorities as a political leader but he is the closest thing Britain has ever had to a political rock star.
Many Labour Party MPs were appalled by the performance of their leader Jeremy Corbyn who was this morning picking up the blame for failing to support the Remain camp. The prospect of fighting a General Election against BoJo is already filling Labour strategists with horror.
The irony for many who know him is that Mr Cameron has been a lifelong Eurosceptic who came to lead the campaign to stay in.
In the end, it was a calculation that ended his leadership of the party after 11 years, six of which he was Prime Minister.
He was overjoyed to have won the 2015 General Election which finally gave him the power to lead the country and deliver his own policies as distinct from Coalition government.
The future was set fair for him to capture the middle ground of British politics for ever with Labour electing Mr Corbyn as leader.