London: Boris Johnson officially became Britain's new Prime Minister on Wednesday and promised to leave the European Union on 31 October "no ifs, no buts" under a "new deal" with the 28-member economic bloc.
The 55-year-old former foreign secretary and London Mayor laid out his vision as Prime Minister in his first speech on the steps of Downing Street after a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, during which the 93-year-old monarch formally invited him to form a government after accepting Theresa May's resignation a little earlier.
Johnson is expected to spend his first few hours at No. 10 Downing Street finalising the top jobs in his Cabinet, with Indian-origin MP Priti Patel widely tipped to be back in the frontline after she had been forced to resign from May's Cabinet as international development secretary in 2017.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) July 24, 2019
Fellow Brexiteer Rishi Sunak, the son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, and housing minister Alok Sharma are also in line for frontline jobs in what Indian-origin peer Lord Jitesh Gadhia has hailed as the most diverse Cabinet in British history.
"Johnson will appoint the most ethnically diverse Cabinet in British history. This is a big moment - and a bold statement - by the incoming Prime Minister," said Gadhia.
Johnson, the UK's third Prime Minister since the June 2016 referendum in favour of Brexit, will face some of the same challenges as in the path of May, including a very slim parliamentary majority and a reliance on the support of the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland in order to govern.
The DUP has been one of the central critics of the controversial Irish backstop - a post-Brexit insurance policy against a hard border between EU member-country Ireland and UK territory Northern Ireland.
It has been rejected by Brexiteers as a way of keeping the UK tied to EU rules even after Brexit, ultimately resulting in the collapse of May's premiership.
The former Mayor of London, who has in the past described himself as a “son-in-law of India” by virtue of his now estranged wife Marina Wheeler's Indian mother, Dip Kaur has stressed that the UK's relationship with India must run deeper than just trade.
In a letter earlier this month, Johnson had played up his “personal relationship with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi” as he promised to deliver a "truly special UK-India relationship".
“If I am elected Conservative Party Leader and Prime Minister, I will work closely with our friends in the Indian Government, business and society to deliver a truly special UK-India relationship,” he had said.
Updated Date: Jul 25, 2019 12:52:52 IST