The United Kingdom officially has a new prime minister. On July 23, former London Mayor Boris Johnson was selected by Britain's Conservative party to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister of the UK, and let's just say people have a lot of thoughts. These tweets about Boris Johnson as prime minister are definitely not the most enthusiastic.
According to the BBC, Johnson beat fellow Conservative party politician Jeremy Hunt by over 45,000 votes in a ballot of party members to take the leadership role. Johnson is slated to take over as prime minister on Wednesday, July 24, just around two months after May announced her resignation on May 24. Although May's leadership was ultimately marred by her inability to get a Brexit plan passed by the UK Parliament, Johnson promised to deliver Brexit by the end of the year, no matter what.
In a victory speech at the Queen Elizabeth II center in London, England, on Tuesday, July 23, Johnson said, "We are going to get Brexit done on 31 October and take advantage of all the opportunities it will bring with a new spirit of can do." He added, "We are once again going to believe in ourselves, and like some slumbering giant we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity."
Although Johnson is ready to "ping off" the ropes of "self-doubt," people on Twitter still seem to have some doubts about him. The former mayor has been a notoriously controversial and occasionally buffoonish figure in British politics, and has occasionally been compared to President Donald Trump in the United States. So, let's just say, these tweets about Johnson's new role as prime minister are less than thrilled.
After the official announcement that Johnson would take over as prime minister, politicians worldwide took to Twitter to congratulate him. May tweeted at Johnson and wrote, "you will have my full support from the back benches." Nigel Farage, founder and leader of the right-wing Brexit Party, sent Johnson well wishes on his promise to deliver Brexit by October 31. Scotland's Secretary of State David Mundell congratulated Johnson and wrote that the party must now "unite behind the new leader" for Brexit to happen.
President Trump also tweeted after Johnson's appointment, writing, "Congratulations to Boris Johnson on becoming the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He will be great!"
Johnson has not infrequently been compared to Trump, with many noting similarities between the two. A July 23 NPR story called the British leader a "larger than life populist" and highlighted that both leaders have worked to limit immigration and return their country to an idealized "better" time. What's more, both came to power during a time when voters in their respective countries were frustrated by establishment politics.
Johnson has also come under fire for accusations of racism, Islamophobia, and sexism. In August 2018, Johnson described Muslim women who wear burqas as looking like "letterboxes" and "bank robbers" in his column for British paper the Daily Telegraph. Johnson refused to apologize at the time, and was later cleared of breaking the Conservative party’s code of conduct for the comments. He's also made derogatory remarks in a Daily Telegraph column about gay men, and called people from African countries a racial slur when Tony Blair visited the continent in 2010. He later said the slurs were "wholly satirical."
It's pretty clear from Twitter's reaction to Johnson's election that not everyone is pleased with the UK's new prime minister. It remains to be seen how his politics and promises play out in Parliament.