Boris Johnson to take over as prime minister of a divided Great Britain, vowing "to get Brexit done"

By Tucker Reals

/ CBS News

Boris Johnson the next British prime minister

London — The next chapter of British politics opened with a bold pledge by an incoming prime minister: "Dude, we are going to energize the country, we are going to get Brexit done." Boris Johnson has always had a knack for striking a chord, but as he prepared to meet Queen Elizabeth on Tuesday and officially take the reins of power, it was unclear how far his "new spirit of can-do" would carry the U.K. through its most tumultuous period in decades.

Johnson has a reputation for changing his tune to suit the political winds, but his consistent (at least recently) pledge to pull Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 as scheduled — with or without an agreement on the terms of that divorce — won him the support of his Conservative Party's core and a stay in the prime minister's official residence at 10 Downing Street. Few people expect him to be there for long.

The problem Johnson faces is the same one that forced his predecessor, Theresa May, to officially step down on Wednesday; Britain's lawmakers cannot agree on how (or if) the U.K. should leave the EU.

Brexit: Britain breaks with EU More

More in Brexit: Britain breaks with EU

The Conservative Party gave the pubic a say with the referendum in 2016 and the public voted to leave, but it was a non-binding vote. The leading Conservatives vowed to deliver and make Brexit a reality, and May's government spent two years negotiating a deal to do so with the Europeans. But Parliament rejected that deal repeatedly, leaving her defeated, and departing.

Johnson has vowed to either negotiate a new divorce deal with Europe that is more favorable to the U.K., or carry on with a "no-deal" Brexit by the current Oct. 31 deadline for withdrawal. The EU has made it clear that negotiations will not be reopened, however, so it's unclear how the new PM can offer the prospect of a new deal.

Boris Johnson chosen to be next UK prime minister

The no-deal option is so unpopular in Parliament that lawmakers are expected to block Johnson from letting it happen. It is widely expected that the opposition Labour Party will call a no-confidence vote on Johnson in Parliament, which could result in new national elections. That would force the Conservatives to defend their leadership role, and could feel a lot like a new vote on the concept of Brexit itself.

Here's what happens today

Outgoing Prime Minister May began her last day on the job on the floor of Parliament, with her final rhetorical joust with opponents at the Wednesday ritual of Prime Minister's Questions. She was lambasted anew by her foes, and lauded for noble efforts by many in her own party.

She was then to head for the last time to 10 Downing Street as its official occupant. After saying farewells to staff and colleagues, she was to step out to the same podium from which she tearfully announced her decision to resign just two months ago.

May wasn't expected to speak for long. She will then make the short trip to Buckingham Palace to formally inform Queen Elizabeth II of her resignation and recommend that the queen accept Johnson as her replacement.

Almost as soon as she leaves, Johnson will show up at the palace to meet the monarch. It's largely a formality, but the queen will officially ask Johnson, as the head of the leading party in Parliament, to form a new government.

With that, he's in charge and he will head to his new residence at 10 Downing Street. The new PM is expected to step up to the podium and address his country and the world.

His remarks, and the cabinet appointments he's expected to announce starting on Tuesday — whether they include former foes, or less-ardent Brexit backers — could provide the first indications of how, exactly, Johnson intends to unite and "energize the country" to achieve what his predecessor could not.

First published on July 24, 2019 / 7:54 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tucker Reals

Tucker Reals is the CBSNews.com foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.

Video shows bison tossing girl high in the air at Yellowstone

Park officials say the bison rushed the group after some of the tourists approached to within a few feet of the animal over at least 20 minutes

4M ago

Jay-Z and Meek Mill join forces to launch new record label

The new label, a joint venture with Jay-Z's Roc Nation, marks the beginning of a new chapter for Mill on the business side of the music industry

11M ago

Transcript: Dennis Ross on "Intelligence Matters"

On "Intelligence Matters" this week, former top Mideast peace negotiator Dennis Ross weighs in on the Trump administration's approach to the long Israeli-Palestinian conflict

2H ago

No deal currently possible for Mideast peace, says Dennis Ross

On "Intelligence Matters" this week, former top Mideast peace negotiator Dennis Ross weighs in on the Trump administration's approach to the long Israeli-Palestinian conflict

2H ago

Mueller testifies before Congress about special counsel report — live updates

Mueller is appearing before before two House panels to testify about his nearly two-year long probe

updated 12M ago

Transcript: Dennis Ross on "Intelligence Matters"

On "Intelligence Matters" this week, former top Mideast peace negotiator Dennis Ross weighs in on the Trump administration's approach to the long Israeli-Palestinian conflict

2H ago

No deal currently possible for Mideast peace, says Dennis Ross

On "Intelligence Matters" this week, former top Mideast peace negotiator Dennis Ross weighs in on the Trump administration's approach to the long Israeli-Palestinian conflict

2H ago

Mueller testifies before Congress about special counsel report — live updates

Mueller is appearing before before two House panels to testify about his nearly two-year long probe

updated 12M ago

O'Rourke calls for $500 billion fund for education inequality

Leading up to his speech at the NAACP, O'Rourke releases plan to address racial and social economic disparities in the public school system

2H ago

ICE releases U.S. citizen, 18, held near border more than 3 weeks

Francisco Galicia's lawyer says he was "absolutely" a victim of racial profiling

2H ago

Boris Johnson to take over as leader of a divided Britain

New prime minister has made big promises to unite the U.K. and deliver Brexit, but "dude," neither will be easy

16M ago

Heat wave hits France with record-setting temperatures

As heat envelopes western Europe, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg faces "hate and threats" in French parliament

updated 28M ago

A$AP Rocky's family on rapper's arrest: "I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep"

Rocky's cousin and her family insist the rapper and his friends were defending themselves, and that video footage will prove them innocent

51M ago

Russia detains opposition leader after massive protest in Moscow

Often-jailed dissident Alexei Navalny threatens even bigger demonstration if opposition figures kept off ballot in local election

2H ago

Push to grant protected status to Venezuelans fails in House

“It’s definitely inconsistent and the voters will determine whether it’s hypocritical,” Democratic Rep. Darren Soto told CBS News, referring to Republican opposition to his bill

11H ago

Jay-Z and Meek Mill join forces to launch new record label

The new label, a joint venture with Jay-Z's Roc Nation, marks the beginning of a new chapter for Mill on the business side of the music industry

11M ago

A$AP Rocky's family on rapper's arrest: "I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep"

Rocky's cousin and her family insist the rapper and his friends were defending themselves, and that video footage will prove them innocent

51M ago

New on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon

Shows and movies you'll want to stream soon

Jun 24 33 photos

American Wonders: California's glowing "Field of Light"

More than 58,000 solar-powered spheres now shimmer in Paso Robles' fields

20H ago

R. Kelly's crisis manager resigns

Just hours after appearing only on CBS This Morning, singer R. Kelly’s crisis manager resigned. In a statement to CBS News, Darrell Johnson said he is stepping down for “personal reasons.” He did not elaborate. on Monday, Johnson made headlines when he said he would not leave his daughter alone with anyone accused of being a pedophile. Kelly is charged with sexually abusing women and girls.

20H ago 01:24

Equifax paying ex-CEO nearly $20 million in bonuses

Company's $700 million settlement over consumer-data hack didn't stop its former CEO from receiving massive payday

10H ago

Feds launch antitrust probe of U.S. tech giants

The DOJ is examining leading online platforms—likely Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple—to see if they're monopolies

13H ago

UPS plans to expand drone deliveries

Delivery giant wants FAA permission to fly the unmanned aerial vehicles beyond line of sight, including at night

14H ago

Consumer group wants FTC to probe Amazon over paid reviews

Consumer watchdog urges regulator to examine whether the online retailer failed to disclose paid product plugs

16H ago

Uber tests $25 all-in-one pass for rides, eats, scooters and more

Uber is testing a new kind of subscription that encourages ride-hailing passengers to use its other services, too

17H ago

Cement contributes to global warming, investors warn

Cement, a key ingredient in the world's most popular building material, emits more carbon than all but two countries

16H ago

"Corn sweat" makes heat wave even more dangerous

Late last week, Wisconsin was even more humid than Miami — and experts say corn sweat is to blame

Jul 22

New species of glow-in-the-dark shark identified

The small shark was first captured nearly a decade ago, but researchers recently determined it is a brand new species

Jul 22

Pence says moon, not Mars, remains near-term goal for NASA

In an interview on "The Takeout," Vice President Mike Pence reassured the space community with the administration's strong support for a "moon-first" policy

Jul 21

Extended transcript: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on putting boots on the moon and Mars

The founder and CEO of SpaceX discusses the aerospace company's ambitions for flying humans to the moon and Mars, the importance of reusable in rockets, and the inspiration of Douglas Adams

Jul 21

Hospital paid $6M to Neil Armstrong's family after his death

Armstrong's sons, Mark and Rick, contended care provided by Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital cost their father his life

8H ago

9/11 survivors remember first responders who saved their lives

Three survivors spoke with CBS News about how first responders changed their lives forever.

13H ago

FDA launches TV ads featuring magician to fight teen vaping

The Centers for Disease Control says more than 1 in 5 high school students and nearly 1 in 20 middle school students vape

18H ago

Millions take aspirin for heart health – but many shouldn't

People who take aspirin to prevent a heart attack​ may need to rethink the pill-popping, Harvard researchers report

21H ago

Tainted alcohol suspected of killing at least 19 in Costa Rica

The government has confiscated about 30,000 bottles of alcohol suspected to be poisoned with methanol

Jul 22

Equifax paying ex-CEO nearly $20 million in bonuses

Company's $700 million settlement over consumer-data hack didn't stop its former CEO from receiving massive payday

10H ago

Trump plan would kick 3 million people off food stamps

Proposed rule would curb states' ability to provide nutrition assistance to many low-income families

11H ago

Zion Williamson inks deal with Nike's Jordan brand

"I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the Jordan Brand family," Williamson said in a statement

12H ago

Feds launch antitrust probe of U.S. tech giants

The DOJ is examining leading online platforms—likely Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple—to see if they're monopolies

13H ago

UPS plans to expand drone deliveries

Delivery giant wants FAA permission to fly the unmanned aerial vehicles beyond line of sight, including at night

14H ago

Crime

Canada murders: Cops identify two suspects

There’s a major new development in the investigation into the deaths of three people in Canada, including an American woman and her Australian boyfriend. Police say 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky, who were originally reported missing, are now suspects, and may be armed. Janet Shamlian reports.

updated 3M ago 03:12

A$AP Rocky's family on rapper's arrest: "I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep"

Rocky's cousin and her family insist the rapper and his friends were defending themselves, and that video footage will prove them innocent

51M ago

A$AP Rocky's family: "I couldn't sleep"

American rapper A$AP Rocky is expected to learn tomorrow whether Swedish prosecutors will charge him with assault. The rapper has been detained in Sweden for three weeks, along with his cousin and a friend, following a street brawl last month. Their case has gained worldwide attention, including from President Trump. CBS News spoke with the families of the three men in New York, who say they just want justice. Vladimir Duthiers reports.

updated 14M ago 02:07

Biden at next debate will go on offense on criminal justice plan

Senior adviser Symone Sanders shot down the idea that this released plan is aimed at undoing certain ills implemented in the 1994 crime bill

8H ago

Videos show officers drenched with water

The New York Police Department said Tuesday that one person is being questioned in connection with a viral video of police officers being doused with water while responding to calls. The videos caused widespread outrage in the city and online.

10H ago 00:40

Chris Kraft, legendary NASA flight director, has died at age 95

Kraft virtually invented the mission control concept behind NASA's greatest space triumphs

Jul 22

New satellite factory to focus on space-based internet

"OneWeb is doing for the satellite industry what Henry Ford did for cars," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

Jul 22

Pence says moon, not Mars, remains near-term goal for NASA

In an interview on "The Takeout," Vice President Mike Pence reassured the space community with the administration's strong support for a "moon-first" policy

Jul 21

Extended transcript: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on putting boots on the moon and Mars

The founder and CEO of SpaceX discusses the aerospace company's ambitions for flying humans to the moon and Mars, the importance of reusable in rockets, and the inspiration of Douglas Adams

Jul 21

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on the next giant leap for mankind

The aerospace entrepreneur says we are only a few years away from employing reusable rockets to bring people to the moon and Mars, making humans a "multi-planet species"

Jul 21

The Oddities & Curiosities Expo

A traveling exhibition of gothic and occult art, sideshow performers, and bizarre specimens stopped outside Chicago, where CBS News photographer Jake Barlow took in the odd sights

Jul 22 24 photos

New York's Central Park

America's first major landscaped public park, the 840-acre park in Manhattan welcomes more than 37 million visitors every year

Jul 21 25 photos

Manson Family murders: The terrifying story in pictures

A look at the cult slayings that shocked – and scared – America

Jul 3 44 photos

New on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon

Shows and movies you'll want to stream soon

Jun 24 33 photos

Evidence photos from the police shooting of Danroy "DJ" Henry Jr.

Evidence from the scene of Pace University student DJ Henry’s fatal encounter with Officer Aaron Hess in Mount Pleasant, N.Y.

Jun 22 19 photos

Popular

Body cam video captures murder-for-hire suspect's arrest

On July 23, 2015, detectives with the Montgomery County Texas Constable's Office arrive at the Houston gym owned by Ramon Sosa and his wife, Lulu, to arrest Lulu on suspicion of plotting her husband's death.

Jul 20 03:29

Cell phone video shows aftermath of DJ Henry shooting

Video from Robert Coulombe who attended Pace University with DJ Henry shows the scene at a Westchester, N.Y., strip mall minutes after DJ was shot in his car by Officer Aaron Hess in October 2010.

Jun 22 00:37

Sneak peek: Hollywood Horror Story

A wealthy Hollywood producer is accused of murdering his girlfriend. Was he following the plot of his frightening novel? Correspondent Maureen Maher investigates Saturday, July 13 at 10/9c on CBS.

Jul 13 03:37

A mother's desperate 911 call

When Olga Kasian did not hear from her daughter Iana after several days, she began repeatedly calling 911. Concerned about Iana's well-being and her recent C-section, Kasian desperately asks police — through the help of an Russian interpreter — to enter the home her daughter shared with boyfriend Blake Leibel.

Jul 20 01:14

#BlazeItForward: Murder victim remembered for his generosity and spirit

Close friends of the slain college sophomore share stories about the chef, writer and aspiring doctor who left their lives too soon.

Jul 20 02:27