Johnson received 71 more votes than his closest competitor in a poll of Conservative Members of Parliament on Thursday.
UNITED NATIONS – Former London Mayor Boris Johnson took a major step toward becoming Britain’s next prime minister on Thursday, notching a landslide victory in a first poll of Conservative Party lawmakers.
Johnson received 114 votes from fellow members of Parliament, far more than runner-up Jeremy Hunt, the U.K. foreign minister, who received just 43. Further votes will be held next week to winnow down the seven Conservative Party candidates still in the race.
The current leadership battle stems from current Prime Minister Theresa May’s failure to deliver Brexit earlier this year, handing her replacement the chance to be a potential Brexit savior for those who want the U.K. out of the European Union.
Johnson outlined his Brexit strategy in a campaign speech on Wednesday, saying he’d take a hard line in negotiations with the E.U. in the hopes of receiving new concessions. But, he added, he wouldn’t shy away from leaving the E.U. without a deal come Oct. 31 if no compromise can be reached.
“I am not aiming for a no-deal outcome. I don’t think that we will end up with any such thing. But it is only responsible to prepare vigorously and seriously for ‘no-deal.’ Indeed, it is astonishing that anyone could suggest dispensing with that vital tool.”
May staunchly opposed a no-deal Brexit, though she failed on three occasions to convince lawmakers to accept her negotiated Brexit deals.