In 5 months Boris Johnson defies sneering critics to emerge as one of the Conservatives’ most successful ever leaders

BORIS Johnson last night defied his critics to emerge as one of the Conservative Party’s most successful leaders ever.

He had spent the election campaign being branded a “liar” by his enemies, and ridiculed as a joke politician.


Boris Johnson – pictured after casting his vote yesterday – will go down in history as one of the Conservative Party’s best leaders[/caption]

Even former Prime Minister Sir John Major tore up his party ­loyalty to go public in blasting Boris and calling for voters to back the sacked Tory rebels.

But Mr Johnson silenced all who had doubted him last night as he swept the Tories to a predicted majority of 86 seats.

In just five months at the helm of the party, Boris has got a Brexit deal, his party has united around him and he has led them to a romping victory in the polls.

Not since Margaret Thatcher’s heyday in the 1987 election has the Tory Party enjoyed such a storming victory as the one predicted in last night’s exit poll.

He snatched once rock-solid Labour seats like Blyth Valley, humiliating Jeremy Corbyn.

And he has appointed the most ethnically diverse Cabinet in British history.

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Boris shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel – he now will deliver on his promise to get Brexit done[/caption]

PA:Press Association

Boris shakes hands with the Queen – in just five months he has united the Tories and won the election in a landslide[/caption]

PA:Press Association

He came to an agreement with Ireland’s Leo Varadkar on a Brexit deal against all odds[/caption]

Former Chancellor George Osborne last night said that Mr Johnson had fundamentally changed the Conservative Party.

He said: “We are entering the Boris Johnson era of politics. He’s won the biggest majority since Margaret Thatcher if this poll is correct.

“It’s been very much his election — him at the centre of it, you haven’t seen much of the rest of the Cabinet. And his gamble really has paid off.”

The exit poll suggested a swing from Labour to the Tories of 5.4 per cent. This is bigger even than the 5.3 per cent swing Margaret Thatcher enjoyed in 1979.

Mr Osborne added: “The nature of the Conservative Parliamentary Party is going to be very different when it returns to Parliament.

“There is not going to be a Tory MP for Putney, possibly not for the City of Westminster, but there are going to be Tory MPs for Hartlepool, Sedgefield and so on.

“So the nature of the party is going to change and the demands on the leader basically to serve those constituencies are going to be strong.

“I think what is going to go into the deep freeze is, small state, low regulation, small tax conservatism because that is not what those constituencies are going to need.

“If you are a new MP for that part of the North East, you will be thinking, ‘I have to win this seat in four or five years time’.”

Boris had staked his entire political career on one issue — Brexit.

Having led the Vote Leave campaign in 2016 to a victory almost no one in Westminster had seen coming, he promised voters he would deliver on that pledge.

This was the singular slogan of his campaign “Get Brexit Done”.

He promised Brits he would “send in the bulldozers and smash through the gridlock” of Parliament to deliver on the pledge.

The PM even leapt into a JCB digger and smashed through a foam wall with the word “Gridlock” emblazoned across it to hammer home the point while out on the campaign trail this week.

Tory and Labour politicians who had mocked BoJo from the side-lines last night admitted he had smashed through their jeers and connected with voters in a way they had failed to do.

Labour’s hard-left Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell admitted: “I think Brexit did dominate this election and that’s exactly what people have made up their minds on.

“I hate to use the expression — I think they most probably did want to get it done and that’ll be it.” Mr Johnson gave the country a taste of what he can do as a leader when he was Mayor of London.

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Boris has fundamentally changed the Conservative Party, according to former Chancellor George Osborne[/caption]

The Old Etonian won over Labour’s heartland — the pumping heart of the metropolitan elite.

He helped make the 2012 Olympic Games a huge success — with his effusive enthusiasm helping to rally the whole country around them.

The image of him dangling from a zipwire, with a Union Jack in each hand, as a publicity stunt went wrong became one of the most memorable images of that summer.

And he was a mayor who found popularity outside of his traditional party backers. He rolled out Boris bikes, cut the crime epidemic which had taken hold, and oversaw a booming London economy.

But once he returned to the House of Commons as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in 2015, he was written off by many as just a bumbler. Someone who was fun, but not to be taken seriously as a political leader.

They noted his colourful love-life and wondered aloud if he would ever really fulfil the dream he had nurtured since boyhood — of becoming PM.

But he defied his critics by leading the Vote Leave campaign to a shock victory.

He managed to rally 17.4 million Brits around his cry to take back control — and it was here that he forged his successful partnership with Brexit mastermind Dominic ­Cummings.

After David Cameron quit, Theresa May made him Foreign Secretary, and he was finally on the frontbenches.

But throughout his time in the Foreign Office people accused him of being too flippant to be in charge of one of the great offices of state. And his role as the leader of Brexit was in doubt when fellow Leaver David Davis gazumped him to become the first Cabinet minister to quit in protest at Mrs May’s Chequers deal.

Boris quit the following day on July 9 last year, and spent months languishing on the backbenches keeping a low profile.

But as the knives came out for Mrs May and she was eventually ousted as leader, there was really only one man talked of as the party’s next leader.

With remarkable speed Mr Johnson managed to get most of his warring parliamentary party behind him. Remainers like Grant Shapps and Brexiteers like Jacob Rees-Mogg all united around him and his pitch to get Brexit done and be a One Nation Conservative Prime Minister.

After he was crowned Tory leader, Mr Johnson immediately set about trying to replicate the success of Vote Leave in government.

He ended the Tory civil war which had ripped the party apart under Mrs May.

He kicked out 21 Tory rebels including Philip Hammond and David Gauke, who had teamed up with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party to thwart his bid to deliver Brexit on October 31.

And he brought Mr Cummings — the architect of Vote Leave — back as his de facto chief of staff.

Mr Cummings is understood to have watched the results alongside the PM and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds in No10 last night.

The Machiavellian political mastermind brought the same zeal he used for Vote Leave to Boris’ election campaign.

He was the man behind the plan to hammer home one main message on the doorstep — Get Brexit Done. Meanwhile the Tory party’s chief strategist Isaac Levido, an Aussie election specialist, ran a ­disciplined campaign from Conservative headquarters.

He was at his desk in the centre of CCHQ from 5am every morning and briefed Mr Johnson on daily tactics to attack Labour.

Mr Johnson had vowed to win over lifelong Labour voters who were fed up at seeing their communities left behind and their Brexit votes ignored.

He promised to tear up austerity and turn the spending taps on — with Britain’s beloved NHS the biggest winner of the new cash injection. BoJo also promised billions more for schools, the police and big infrastructure projects.

Former Tory MP Sir Nicholas Soames said the Tories winning in former Labour heartlands could “build a new Conservative majority across Britain for a generation”.

Sir Nicholas, the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, lost the Tory whip earlier this year for supporting efforts to stop a no-deal Brexit,

He later had the whip restored but was not standing in the General Election.

He told BBC news: “I don’t think the Prime Minister is solely a Brexit prime minister, I think he is a proper One Nation Tory.

“But it’s quite clear he persuaded people — in a lot of seats in the North and the Midlands, I think, and elsewhere — that the Labour Party, the Corbyn Labour Party, was not the Labour Party
they knew.”

He added: “This is a big change, it is a political watershed and it will be a different party but it is no bad thing for being that.
“This could build a new Conservative majority across Britain for another generation.”

A man in a Santa costume goes to vote yesterday ahead of the election
Dogs were pictured outside polling stations up and down the country
PA:Press Association

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Chelsea Pensioners arrive to cast their vote[/caption]

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Nuns cast their vote yesterday in West London[/caption]


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