COMMENT: Boris faces baptism of fire as he bids to avoid more Brexit woe

So Boris Johnson it is – as it was always going to be as soon as it became clear that he would coast through the Tory MPs' ballots.

Boris Johnson has given Tories a reason to be optimistic, but his challenges are many
Boris Johnson has given Tories a reason to be optimistic, but his challenges are many

His popularity among the party membership meant that despite a campaign that started with a domestic spat and saw him evade public scrutiny at every opportunity, Mr Johnson's ascension to Number 10 was secure long before voting ended.

Poor old Jeremy Hunt knew that despite his best efforts, he was a mere bystander in someone else's procession.

Mr Johnson is certainly not everyone's cup of tea.

More coverage:

For those who lean to the left he is derided as Britain's version of Donald Trump, a mini-despot ready to wreak havoc on the lives of the poor.

He's viewed as a toxic figure among some sections of his own party, with Remainers fearing him as an extreme Eurosceptic who can barely wait to deliver the hardest of hard Brexit's.

None of these claims are strictly accurate, but Mr Johnson's reputation for being rather liberal with the facts when it suits him will be fully tested now he is Prime Minister.

In Number 10 there is no hiding from scrutiny, and in any case, Mr Johnson has arguably the biggest challenge on his hands of any of leader of this country in recent history.

James Callaghan never got to grips with organised Labour, Harold Wilson oversaw the collapse of the pound, and Gordon Brown failed to foresee the biggest recession in decades.

All of them brought down in short time, chiefly by key issues they simply could not handle.

Mr Johnson has three catastrophes waiting to happen – all of them requiring urgent attention.

In a leadership campaign that was as dull as dishwater, where most of the country zoned out after the first televised debate, our new Prime Minister made three key pledges.

We have been told in no uncertain terms that Mr Johnson can unite the party – a tricky proposition given that he has already faced a mini-revolt before taking power.

He can apparently defeat Jeremy Corbyn – although me may have to get his own house in order first.

And of course, Britain will finally be leaving the EU on October 31, "come what may".

It is this final promise that will make or break him.

Up to now it has all been about getting there. Little thought, particularly from Mr Johnson himself, is likely to have gone into what happens next.

While Mr Johnson is often viewed as a politician who relies on bluff, bluster and blind luck to get on, there is more to his game than that.

For all his threats of a 'hard' Brexit, he has made it crystal clear that he would prefer some kind of deal with the EU.

But is he the supremely skilled negotiator able to succeed where Theresa May failed?

The selection of his Cabinet will be crucial, but even with the right team on board Mr Johnson will need some assistance from Brussels and the Commons in order to get Brexit through.

Mrs May found no such help forthcoming after she foolishly rushed through the dodgiest deal in history.

It is down to Mr Johnson to undo the mistakes of the past and make good on his Brexit promise.

He has 99 days and counting to build on the wave of optimism surging through CCHQ.

For years Mr Johnson has quietly coveted the role of Prime Minister. Now he is about to find out just how difficult it is.

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News