July 23, 2019 @ 14:01 by Richard Dawson
Boris Johnson has defeated Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative Party leadership country and will replace Theresa May as the UK’s Prime Minister.
In a ballot of party members, Johnson won 92,153 votes to his rival’s 46,656 and will be tasked with solving the Brexit crisis and uniting the country in the process.
Whilst Johnson will be hoping to bring a sense of optimism and energy to a role that has been lacking in it, many in the business community have concerns over the scale of the challenge he now faces.
Responding to today’s announcement, the national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, Mike Cherry, said: “We need to see a real sense of urgency from this new Prime Minister when it comes to creating a pro-enterprise environment.
“As things stand, small business confidence is at rock-bottom: political uncertainty has left us unable to invest, grow and plan for the future. The UK has long been one of the best places in the world to do business. It’s crucial that we keep it that way.
“We had promising discussions with Boris Johnson during his campaign and look forward to working with him on the issues that matter most to small businesses.”
Jonathan Walker, assistant director of police at the North East England Chamber of Commerce, echoed the FSB’s comments about the need for Johnson to hit the ground running.
He said: “As soon as he takes office tomorrow, the new Prime Minister needs to provide some reassurance to businesses in our region. With Brexit the top priority, we are clear that a highly damaging No Deal outcome is not acceptable and must be avoided at all costs.
“Boris Johnson was elected as an MP on a Conservative manifesto that promised to close the economic performance gap between London and regions such as the North East. We will judge him and his Government by the extent of their commitment to that promise.”
Anna Round, senior research fellow at IPPR North, added: “At this critical moment in our country’s history, Boris Johnson has the opportunity to begin to rebuild trust between the people of the North of England and the Government. He cannot waste it.
“He must act immediately to demonstrate his personal commitment to ‘Power up the North’.”