Boris Johnson will become Conservative Party leader and hence the country’s next prime minister. At least, that’s what Thursday’s first voting round in the party’s leadership race suggests. The former mayor of London obtained the support of 114 Conservative colleagues in the House of Commons, more than a third of the party’s 313 members of Parliament.
Those MPs will whittle down the remaining seven candidates to just two in rounds of voting next week. Johnson’s current numbers alone would therefore guarantee him a place on that final ballot already, where his pro-Brexit credentials make him the overwhelming favorite with the Conservative membership electorate. Indeed, the biggest barrier to Johnson winning is now an unforeseen campaign implosion hemorrhaging MP support before this final stage.
For sure, there are a lot of known unknowns here. We don’t know if Johnson can exact changes to the current withdrawal agreement, or even if his changes would pass Parliament. We cannot know for sure whether he’d prorogue Parliament or if his government would fall before he got a chance. But these are uncertainties that would occur under any leader intent on delivering Brexit.
All Conservative MPs and members know for near-certain is that with the current impasse, and as October approaches, the possibility of an election is significant. For that, the optimistic and well-known Johnson is the most likely to be able to turn around the party’s polling fortunes and defeat both Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour and Farage’s Brexit Party.
That’s why he’s now the clear favorite, and that’s also why the biggest barrier to his victory is a self-inflicted cock-up.
Read more here.