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July 24, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 8:06am

How UK newspapers reacted to Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister

By James Walker

While The Sun has warmly congratulated Boris Johnson after he was named  the UK’s next Prime Minister, rival tabloid The Mirror was less enthused as it declared: “It’s really not funny anymore.”

Across the UK’s national newspapers today there was a mixed reaction to Johnson’s win, with the Daily Mail warning he “could be the shortest serving Prime Minister in modern history” if he can’t sort Brexit.

The Guardian said Johnson “risks ending up as dessert” should he “sup with populists like Nigel Farage and Donald Trump over Brexit”.

Scroll down for newspaper front pages

Johnson beat rival Jeremy Hunt by more than 45,000 votes in the race to replace Theresa May, winning  two-thirds of the Tory membership vote in ballot results announced yesterday.

The former Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary will enter Number 10 after May’s final Prime Minister’s Questions today.

Johnson’s winning speech in which he set out his aims for Government using the acronym “dude” – “Deliver Brexit. Unite the UK. Defeat Corbyn. Energise Britain.” – saw the term repeated on front pages this morning.

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The Telegraph ran the headline: “I’m the dude” on its front page, while the Sun riffed on Beatles hit Hey Jude with the headline: “Hey Dude! Don’t Make It Bad”. Both papers had backed Johnson as next PM.

The broadsheet, which had Johnson on a salary of £275,000 for a weekly column, dubbed his election “a new chapter after three wasted years” and said May’s tenure would make dealing with Brexit “much harder”.

It added: “It was encouraging to hear the upbeat tone in Mr Johnson’s words to the party yesterday but now is the time for hard work. There are just 99 days to Brexit. We wish him well.”

The Sun said in a leader column today that Johnson had “the potential to be a fantastic Prime Minister” but had a “monumental” task ahead of him.

“We warmly congratulate him and wish him all the luck he will now need,” it said.

The Metro, Times, Sun, Telegraph and Daily Mail all featured a picture of Johnson saluting photographers outside Conservative Party headquarters.

The Mail urged the incoming Prime Minister to “bring us sunshine” with its front page headline and dedicated most of its first 19 pages to his election.

Its leader column said his speech yesterday was “feelgood stuff and exactly what the party needed to hear after three years of dreary stasis”, adding: “But in the end he will be judged not by words but by deeds.”

The paper also said: “If Mr Johnson can unloose the Gordian knot of Brexit, his own transformation from court jester to statesman will be complete. If he can’t, he could be the shortest serving Prime Minister in modern history.”

The Daily Express ran with the headline: “Hang on to your hats… here comes Boris!”.

Meanwhile its Reach stablemate the Daily Mirror used its front page to show pictures of Johnson’s gaffes, including showing him waist deep in a river and stuck on a zip wire, saying: “It’s really not funny any more.”

The Independent used its digital paper splash to warn: “Just 99 days to avert no-deal disaster. A border conundrum that cannot be solved. And the new Prime Minister? Welcome to Brexit’s Darkest Hour.”

The Times went with the front page headline: “Johnson goes to work” and said his “noble intentions” would not matter if he could not “solve the European puzzle”.

The Metro splashed with “Don’t panic!” and also carried the “dude” acronym, while The i went with “Power at last” and said Johnson was now “tasked with delivering on his Brexit rhetoric”.

The Financial Times led with an International Monetary Fund warning over no-deal Brexit following Johnson’s election win, accompanied by an image of Britain’s new PM taken during his speech yesterday.

Featured Picture: Press Gazette

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