If Boris Johnson is hoping for a honeymoon period should he becomes prime minister, he may have to think again.
Johnson would inherit Theresa May’s perilously thin working majority in parliament, which currently stands at just two lawmakers. That small margin for error goes some way to explaining why May was unable to get a Brexit deal over the line — and makes her gravity-defying three-year tenure in Downing Street seem rather impressive.
But Johnson could face even more bad news in the hours after he is announced as party leader. His hardline posturing on Brexit has excited those on the right wing of the Conservative party, but it’s dismayed many moderates who fear a no-deal crash out of the EU. And it’s led some senior figures to warn that they won’t be signing up to his agenda.
The current chancellor Philip Hammond said on Sunday that if Johnson wins, he’ll be resigning to Theresa May before she officially resigns on Wednesday, and has made clear he’ll be opposing any attempt by Johnson to pursue a no-deal Brexit.
International development secretary Rory Stewart, who made a high-profile but unsuccessful bid to challenge Johnson for the role, has also reiterated that he won’t be helping a hardline Johnson strategy. And longtime Johnson critic Alan Duncan has already quit his post in the Foreign Office this week.
Want even more bad news? A by-election in Brecon is set for August 1, in which the Tories are expected to lose another seat — so Johnson’s majority could be cut to one seat within his first fortnight in the post.
What does this all mean? Well, it’s virtually inevitable that Johnson’s tenure as prime minister will be rocky and eventful.