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Who Is Boris Johnson? Conservative, US-Fan Faces Big Battles as He Takes Charge of Britain

07-23-2019
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The Conservative Party's Boris Johnson will be Britain's next prime minister. (Photo: Jacob King/PA via AP)

Britain has a new Prime Minister. Britain's Conservative Party has chosen Boris Johnson. 

He's a fan of America and has defended President Trump at times. He's also vowed to make Brexit happen in three months, but his first challenge will be the escalating naval crisis with Iran. 

Boris Johnson arrives at number 10 Downing Street at a challenging time for any prime minister, with fears that war could break out with Iran.  

Iran's Revolutionary Guards seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz last Friday in revenge for the British seizure of an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar earlier this month. 

But Johnson has already signaled he's no hawk on Iran. During last week's TV debates, Johnson said he would not support US military action against Iran.  

And in 2018, when he was foreign minister, Johnson traveled to Washington to try to persuade President Trump to stay in the Iran nuclear deal, saying the British government remained committed to the deal. 

As for his pledge to leave the European Union by October 31 no matter what, Johnson inherits the same divided Conservative Party and Parliament that helped stymie and finally bring down Prime Minister Theresa May. 

Johnson may also be handed a 'no-confidence vote' and early election within weeks.

But he does have a friend across the Atlantic.  

President Trump said, "I like him. I like Boris Johnson. I spoke to him yesterday. I think he's going to do a great job. I think we're going to have a great relationship."

And that irks some in the British establishment.

A BBC interviewer tried to get Johnson to say something bad about Trump. When he wouldn't, it prompted this exchange:

Andrew Neil with the BBC said, "I mean people worry, will you be as craven if you were Prime Minister?"

Johnson asked, "I've been, towards the United States of America, craven?" 

"Towards anybody who's powerful in the world?" Neil said.

"Don't be ridiculous. If I may say so. When it comes to sticking up for UK interests whether it's over climate change, over disputes with Iran, over the Iran nuclear deal we have been very, very forthright with the United States of America, and I will continue to be forthright," Johnson added.

In 2015, Johnson accused Trump of having "stupefying ignorance" and said Trump was "unfit to hold the office of president of the United States."

Johnson, a former mayor of London who is known for his occasionally wacky ways, has adopted a populist style that has served him well. 

But now as prime minister, he must navigate through an international crisis, as possible war clouds loom.  

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