Boris Johnson, self-described ‘passionate Zionist,’ to become British leader

Boris Johnson defeated Jeremy Hunt in a Conservative party vote for premier to replace Theresa May.

By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff

Brexit hardliner Boris Johnson won the contest to lead Britain’s governing Conservative Party on Tuesday and will become the country’s next prime minister, tasked with fulfilling his promise to lead the U.K. out of the European Union “come what may.”

He defeated his rival Jeremy Hunt overwhelmingly in a vote of Conservative Party members and will be installed as prime minister in a formal handover from Theresa May on Wednesday.

The victory is a triumph for 55-year-old Johnson, an ambitious but erratic politician whose political career has veered between periods in high office and spells on the sidelines.

Johnson has vowed that Britain will quit the European Union on the scheduled date of Oct. 31 even if it means leaving without a divorce deal. But he faces a rocky ride from a Parliament determined to prevent him from taking the U.K. out of the 28-nation bloc without a withdrawal agreement.

May stepped down after Britain’s Parliament repeatedly rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with the 28-nation bloc. Johnson insists he can get the EU to renegotiate — something the bloc insists it will not do.

If not, he says Britain must leave the EU on Halloween, “do or die.”

In a recent interview with the U.K.’s Jewish News, Johnson said that he is a “passionate Zionist” and that “wild horses wouldn’t keep me away” from visiting the Jewish State as British premier.