The Latest: Australia hopes to sign trade deal with Johnson



Associated Press | Washington Post

LONDON — The latest on Boris Johnson officially becoming Britain’s new prime minister (all times local):

3:15 a.m. Australia’s prime minister has congratulated Boris Johnson and hopes to ink one of Britain’s first bilateral trade deals after Brexit.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday he and Johnson are both looking forward to meeting at the Group of 7 summit in France next month and to “moving very quickly, when the opportunity presents” to reach a trade deal.

Morrison told reporters that “this is a time of change for the United Kingdom” and Johnson “will bring a new opportunity … to resolve what had been some very difficult issues.”

Morrison says it is in the interests of the “broader global economy” that Britain and Europe resolve outstanding Brexit issues.


7:25 p.m. Dominic Raab has been named Britain’s foreign secretary, the country’s top diplomat and one of the most senior roles in government.

Raab was appointed as new Prime Minister Boris Johnson assembles a Cabinet he hopes can help him deliver Brexit. Raab is a former Brexit secretary and a staunch supporter of Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay is keeping his job in the government shakeup. 

Michael Gove, who ran the 2016 campaign to leave the EU alongside Johnson before the pair fell out, was named Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a powerful Cabinet post with no specific portfolio.

Ben Wallace, a former security minister, was appointed defense secretary.


6:45 p.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Sajid Javid the country’s new Treasury chief, one of the most senior jobs in Cabinet.

Javid will be responsible for spending and economic policy in Johnson’s government.

Javid, a former banker and ex-home secretary, is the first ethnic minority politician to hold the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Priti Patel was named home secretary, replacing Javid.

Johnson is forming his Cabinet after taking office on Wednesday. He has cleared out many of the ministers who served under predecessor Theresa May. More than half have either quit or been fired.


6:25 p.m. Jeremy Hunt says he’s leaving the job of foreign secretary as new Prime Minister Boris Johnson sweeps into office with a fresh team at the top.

Hunt’s position had been closely watched. He had challenged Johnson for the job of Conservative leader, and says he wanted to stay on as foreign secretary. But Hunt says Johnson offered another role.

Hunt tweeted that “after 9 yrs in Cabinet & over 300 cab mtgs now is the time to return 2 backbenches from where PM will have my full support.”

Former Prime Minister Theresa May’s secretaries in defense, business, education, transport, local government and international trade have all announced they are leaving the government. Treasury chief Philip Hammond, Justice Secretary David Gauke, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and May’s de-facto deputy, David Lidington, resigned.


5:30 p.m. New Prime Minister Boris Johnson seems to be clearing out top ministers, firing several members of former leader Theresa May’s Cabinet.

So far, May’s secretaries in defense, business, education, transport, local government and international trade have all announced they are leaving government. That comes hours after Treasury chief Philip Hammond, Justice Secretary David Gauke, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and May’s de-facto deputy, David Lidington, resigned.

Some of those leaving had said they would rather go than serve under Johnson, who wants to leave the European Union even if no Brexit agreement is in place to ease the transition. Johnson insists the country will leave the EU by Oct. 31 — “do or die.”

However many British lawmakers, including some in Johnson’s Conservative party, worry that the shock of severing decades of frictionless trade would devastate the country’s economy.


5 p.m. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she wishes new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson much luck and success and is looking forward to “good cooperation and further deepening of our bilateral relations.”

Merkel said in a statement Wednesday that the relationship of Germany and Britain is “shaped by deep friendship and close partnership.”

She wrote “we’re connected by personal relations of people, economic ties between companies, our united engagement for a rule-based international order as well as our common European heritage.”


4 p.m. Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed the U.K. will leave the European Union on Oct. 31 — “no ifs, ands or buts.”                 

Speaking just moments after Queen Elizabeth II asked him to form a government Wednesday, Johnson sought to persuade the public to back him — saying that the time has come to act on the nation’s departure from the European Union.

In his first speech as leader outside 10 Downing Street, Johnson says “he will get ‘a new deal, a better deal’ from the EU on Brexit.

He added that while there will be difficulties, much of the nation’s confidence has been sapped by the refusal to take action.


3:45 p.m. Boris Johnson is officially Britain’s prime minister.

Johnson left Buckingham Palace after being appointed by Queen Elizabeth II. The palace confirmed that Johnson had been appointed “as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury,” another of the British leader’s titles.

He visited the palace to meet with the monarch Wednesday after predecessor Theresa May resigned, failing to secure parliamentary approval for her deal to leave the European Union.

Johnson is going to 10 Downing St. to start work on forming his new administration.


3:40 p.m. Greenpeace climate protesters have interrupted the motorcade of Boris Johnson as he was traveling to Buckingham Palace to meet with Queen Elizabeth II to get the nod to form a government.

Demonstrators in red shirts and sashes formed a human chain on The Mall, a road leading to the palace, prompting a police officer on a motorcycle to stop just in front of them. Other demonstrators unfurled a banner reading “Climate Emergency.”

The chain was broken when another officer came up from behind and pushed the demonstrators to the side of the road.

Greenpeace said in a statement that U.K. Executive Director John Sauven attempted to hand Johnson Greenpeace’s 134 point Climate Emergency manifesto, which detailed “the wide-ranging policies the new administration must implement to prevent catastrophic climate breakdown.”


3:15 p.m. Buckingham Palace says that Theresa May has tendered her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II, clearing the way for Boris Johnson to become the new prime minister of the United Kingdom.

The monarch accepted, setting in train the handover of power.

Johnson arrived at the palace a short time later on Wednesday, having been briefly interrupted by climate protesters who formed a human chain attempting to stop his motorcade.


2:35 p.m. Theresa May has left 10 Downing St. for the final time as prime minister and is heading for Buckingham Palace to resign.

In a formal handover of power, May will ask Queen Elizabeth II to invite her successor Boris Johnson to form a government. Johnson will then visit the palace, and leave as Britain’s new prime minister.

May is stepping down after failing to secure lawmakers’ support for a Brexit deal and lead Britain out of the European Union.

In a final speech outside 10 Downing St. with husband Philip by her side, May said it had been “the greatest honor” to serve as Britain’s prime minister.

And she said “I hope that every young girl who has seen a woman prime minister now knows for sure there are no limits to what they can achieve.”


2:30 p.m. Senior members of Prime Minister Theresa May’s government, including her Treasury chief Philip Hammond, are resigning just hours before Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson succeeds her.

The departures clear the way for Johnson to appoint a raft of fresh faces to his government.

Justice Secretary David Gauke and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart have also resigned.

The three had previously announced they would rather leave rather than serve Johnson, who wants to leave the European Union even if no agreement is in place to ease the transition to a new relationship between Britain and the bloc. He insists that the country will leave the EU by Oct. 31 — “do or die.”

Many lawmakers worry the shock of severing decades of frictionless trade would devastate the country’s economy.

David Lidington, effectively May’s deputy prime minister, also resigned, saying it was “the right moment.” to go. He had not previously pre-announced his departure.


2 p.m. A Russian Foreign Ministry official says no immediate changes in relations with Britain are expected upon Boris Johnson becoming Britain’s new prime minister.

Andrei Kelin, head of the ministry’s European cooperation department, said Wednesday that “I don’t think that something will change in the near future, because Boris Johnson belongs to the team that has spoiled these relations for quite a long time.”

Moscow-London relations have plummeted since the nerve agent poisoning of a Russian former double agent and his daughter in the town of Salisbury last year. Britain blames the poisoning on Russian military intelligence.


1 p.m. Prime Minister Theresa May says she’s glad her successor, Boris Johnson, is committed to “delivering on the vote of the people in 2016” to leave the European Union.

May offered muted praise of the incoming leader in her last Prime Minister’s Questions session in the House of Commons. She said she was pleased to be handing power to another Conservative leader.

After Wednesday’s question period, May will travel to Buckingham Palace and submit her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II. Johnson, who won a contest to replace her as Conservative leader, will become prime minister later in the day.

May said she would “continue my duties in this House from the back benches” as an ordinary lawmaker.

May shook her head at a suggestion from Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn that she join opposition attempts to stop the “reckless” Johnson, who has vowed to take Britain out of the EU with or without a divorce deal.


11:50 a.m. The European Parliament is warning new Boris Johnson, who in a few hours is set to become British prime minister, not to count on any renegotiation of the Brexit deal that his predecessor Theresa May negotiated with the EU.

The legislature’s Brexit steering group said in a statement that the statements made by Johnson during his campaign to lead the Conservative Party “have greatly increased the risk of a disorderly exit of the UK.”

It adds that a no-deal exit would be “economically very damaging, even if such damage would not be inflicted equally on both parties.”

The group, including the top Brexit legislators, held talks in a conference call the day after Johnson won the race to succeed May, who is due to quit as prime minister in the next couple of hours.

Johnson has said he would take the UK out of the EU on the Brexit departure date of Oct. 31 “come what may.”


11:30 a.m. Incoming British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is assembling his top team, with a key job set to go to a controversial figure from the country’s Brexit referendum campaign.

Johnson’s allies say Dominic Cummings, director of the “Vote Leave” campaign in the 2016 referendum, will become a senior adviser to the prime minister.

Cummings has been both praised and criticized for his work as the campaign’s lead strategist. Lawmakers and electoral officials have investigated Vote Leave’s links to the firm Cambridge Analytica, which harvested Facebook users’ data to help political campaigns.

Cummings — who was played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the TV drama “Brexit: The Uncivil War” — was found to be in contempt of Parliament earlier this year for refusing to give evidence to a committee of lawmakers investigating “fake news.”


8:50 a.m. Boris Johnson is set to form a “cabinet for modern Britain” as he prepares to become prime minister following his victory in an election to lead the governing Conservatives.

The incoming leader has just over three months to make good on his promise to lead the U.K. out of the European Union by Oct. 31.

Johnson easily defeated Conservative rival Jeremy Hunt, winning two-thirds of the votes of about 160,000 party members across the U.K. He becomes prime minister once Queen Elizabeth II formally asks him to form a government.

He will replace Theresa May, who announced her resignation last month after Parliament repeatedly rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with the 28-nation bloc.


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