Johnson, a former mayor of London and British foreign secretary, took 92,153 votes, while rival Jeremy Hunt scored 46,656 votes in a ballot of party members. Turnout was 87.4% with Johnson taking 66% of votes.
“Today the campaign is over and the work begins,” Johnson said in a speech immediately after the results were announced Tuesday.
Turning his attention to Brexit, Johnson said that he read in the Financial Times newspaper that no new leader has ever faced such a daunting set of circumstances.
“Do you feel daunted?” he asks the crowd. “You don’t look daunted to me.”
US President Donald Trump was quick to congratulate Johnson in a tweet, saying: “He will be great!”
Later in the the day, at a conference for conservative high school students, Trump compared Johnson to himself.
“They’re saying Britain Trump. They call him Britain Trump and people are saying that’s a good thing. They like me over there. That’s what they wanted. That’s what they need. He’ll get it done. Boris is good. He’s gonna do a good job,” Trump said.
The US President then announced that Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was in the audience, saying: “I know he’s going to work well with Boris. They’re going to do some tremendous things.”
Johnson’s father Stanley told CNN that he thinks his son will get along with Trump – but warned that the relationship cannot be subservient.
“They have the same hairstyle,” he said of the leaders.
“We’re going to have to be careful not to be too slavishly geared to America,” Stanley added, insisting that “building bridges” with Europe after Brexit will also be crucial.
Outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May – who Johnson has long been a critic of – tweeted her congratulations to the new party leader, promising him her “full support.”
Likewise, Johnson said in his acceptance speech that it had been a “privilege” to serve in May’s cabinet.
Johnson also vowed during his speech to defeat Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The opposition leader in turn tweeted that Johnson may have won the support of the Conservative Party, “but he hasn’t won the support of our country.”
Top of Johnson’s agenda as new prime minister will be resolving the Brexit deadlock, where his predecessor failed. The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, tweeted that he was looking forward to “working constructively” with the new leader.
Johnson inherits divided UK
The leadership vote was triggered after an embattled May was forced into resigning after losing the support of her cabinet, many of whom were fed up with her inability to secure the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU).
As prime minister, Johnson, 55, will inherit the same problems of a deeply divided Parliament – and nation – when he assumes the role.
Throughout his leadership campaign, Johnson was vocal about his willingness to exit the EU without a deal, pledging to leave “do or die” on October 31, the latest deadline for the UK to depart the bloc.
He said that he’d be willing to force Brexit through on that date by suspending Parliament, if he’s unable to negotiate a new exit deal with EU officials.
The EU has said there is no chance of reopening the Withdrawal Agreement, the deal that May made with the bloc in 2018 but which has failed to satisfy both the Europhile and Euroskeptic wings of both the Tory party and Parliament.
While Johnson’s stance on Brexit have defined his leadership bid, his incendiary remarks on religion and race have sparked criticism about his character.
Writing in his weekly column in the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph last August, he likened Muslim women wearing veils to “letter boxes” and “bank robbers.”