Brussels – Officials from the European Union have extended their congratulations to Boris Johnson on his election as leader of Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, but wasted no time in signalling the bloc won’t budge on the divorce bill it negotiated with Britain.
“We look forward to working constructively [with prime minister Boris Johnson] when he takes office, to facilitate the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement and achieve an orderly #Brexit,” the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, wrote on Twitter.
“We are ready also to rework the agreed Declaration on a new partnership in line with [European Council] guidelines,” he added.
A spokeswoman for the European Commission, Natasha Bertraud, said: “President [Jean-Claude] Juncker … wants me to extend his congratulations to Boris Johnson.”
“The president wants to work with the new prime minister in the best way possible,” she added.
Conservatives choose Johnson to succeed Theresa May
Boris Johnson, a former journalist on the Times and the Telegraph, was born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson in New York on June 19, 1964.
His supreme self-confidence, intellectual vanity and desire to please were forged in an outstanding education in which he rose to head boy of Eton, one of Britain’s top private schools, and president of Oxford University’s famous Oxford Union debating society.
Johnson won the safe seat of Henley in the parliament for the conservative party in 2001 and remaind a member of the parliament until he won the hearts of London’s voters in a 2008 mayroal election.
Forming the Vote Leave Campaign
He returned to parliament in 2015, co-leading Conservative rebels to form the Vote Leave campaign, which helped secure a slim majority for Brexit in a 2016 referendum.
Vote Leave was criticized for whipping up anti-immigration sentiment during the often bitter campaigning and for making wild claims on how much money Britain could save by ending its financial contributions to Brussels.
Johnson has previously been accused of encouraging Islamophobia, including by backing a controversial Conservative campaign against Labour’s Sadiq Khan, who was elected London’s first Muslim mayor to succeed Johnson in 2016.
He was defiant when the BBC challenged him last month on his propensity to stir controversy.
“If sometimes I say things that cause a fluttering in the dovecotes or plaster to come off the ceiling, if it gets people’s attention, if it interests them in politics, then I think that is no bad thing,” Johnson said.