Boris Johnson has rubbished Britain's "doubters, doomsters and gloomsters" in his first speech as Prime Minister and received a welcome from the European Council leader dubbed by some a masterclass in throwing shade.

The Queen met the new Conservative leader on Wednesday afternoon where she asked him to become the 14th prime minister of her reign.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson. Photo / AP
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson. Photo / AP

He went straight to his new home at Number 10 and said "after three years of unfounded self doubt, it is time to change the record."

"The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts," he said in a passionate first speech. He took aim at "pessimists" who "think this country has become a prisoner to the old arguments of 2016".


He vowed to take Britain out of the EU on October 31 — in 99 days time — "no ifs or buts" with a "better deal" than the one currently on the table.

"In 99 days time we would have cracked it … but we aren't going to wait 99 days," he said.

Watched by his incoming staff, including girlfriend Carrie Symonds who is expected to serve as chief of staff, the former mayor of London said "my job is to serve you" and promised more police on the streets, spending on healthcare and a higher living wage.

Johnson talked up the "awesome foursome" of UK nations and promised to "create a new partnership" on Europe.

"Never mind the backstop the buck stops here," he said about the issue that forced Brexit to an impasse and ultimately led to Theresa May's resignation.

"We in this government will work flat out to give this country the leadership it deserves, and that work will begin now."

The new leader said he would step up preparations for a no deal outcome and would use a £39 billion divorce bill due to the EU as a contingency fund.

His appointment was quickly followed by a tweet from European Council President Donald Tusk who said he looked forward to discussing Brexit plans "in detail".


Lack of detail has been a major criticism of Johnson's plans and the message was seized upon as a subtle dig and "seriously classy trolling".


One hour earlier in the same spot, Theresa May paid an emotional tribute to her husband and thanked the country for the opportunity to serve in her final speech as leader.

She offered "warm congratulations" to Johnson and said she wished him "every good fortune" in running the country.

"Their successes will be our country's successes and I hope that they will be many," she said.

"This is a country of aspiration and opportunity and I hope that every young girl who has seen a woman prime minister knows that there are no limits to what they can achieve," she said.

In an emotional moment she thanked her husband Philip, who was "my greatest supporter and my closest companion."

She was heckled by a protester outside the gates yelling "Stop Brexit" and she went off script to say: "I think not".

"Thank you for putting your faith in me and giving me the chance to serve," she said.

Theresa May will return to serve as a politician for her Maidenhead constituency and as a backbencher in the House of Commons. She is one of the shortest serving Prime Minister's in the last century, lasting a total of 1,106 days in office.

Britain's former Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street. Photo / AP
Britain's former Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street. Photo / AP

During her last Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday May said she was "pleased" to hand over to Johnson "who is committed to delivering … on the vote of the British people."

She also offered some cheeky advice for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who is facing collapsing support amid a row over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, saying she accepted when her "time was up".

"Perhaps is now the time for him to do the same," she quipped.


Boris Johnson will face an inbox stuffed full of difficult tasks when he takes office, from negotiating Brexit strategy to handling an escalating diplomatic crisis with Iran.

He will also appoint a new cabinet after a series of resignations including Chancellor Philip Hammond, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and Justice Secretary David Gauke.

Carrie Symonds the girlfriend of Britain's new Prime Minister Boris Johnson waits in 10 Downing Street, London. Photo / AP
Carrie Symonds the girlfriend of Britain's new Prime Minister Boris Johnson waits in 10 Downing Street, London. Photo / AP

European media reacted to the news Mr Johnson would be leader with incredulity on Wednesday morning. Germany's Stern magazine lead with the cover line "What?! and a picture of a surprised looking Mr Johnson on the front page.

Der Spiegel had a picture of Mr Johnson as Alfred E Neuman from Mad magazine with the headline "Mad in England". France's Le Soir showed a cartoon of him on a tightrope as a clown juggling balls of Iran, Brexit, Ireland and Scotland while a clapping Donald Trump watched on.

In editorials from the UK to France and Spain he was depicted as a jester who has suddenly found himself in a position to make the rules. Politico said his biggest challenge is to prove to European leaders "there is more to him than being a clown."

His reputation for being fast and loose with the facts was raised by several editors — Mr Johnson was sacked from The Times as a journalist for making up quotes. The Times political editor Francis Elliot dubbed him the "insider's outsider" who has more status anxiety and is more "prone to nurse a grudge than his image as a maverick might suggest."

Mr Johnson vowed to get to work developing a new Brexit negotiating strategy, uniting the country defeating Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in his first speech as Conservative leader.

He will also have to deal with a foreign policy crisis in Iran, where the Revolutionary Guard has seized a British oil tanker seemingly in retaliation for Britain detaining an Iranian tanker of Gibraltar. A free-trade deal with the US is a top priority and Mr Johnson has already been endorsed as "Britain Trump" by the US president.

Meanwhile European leaders are bracing a tough series of negotiations. Mr Johnson is no stranger to the EU having worked as Brussels correspondent for Britain's Daily Telegraph. In the role, he played up stereotypes about bumbling bureaucrats in the EU wasting time and money — something that also featured heavily in his leadership campaign.

EU Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis fired back at him after Mr Johnson recently brandished a kipper with a plastic ice pillow as an example of EU "regulatory overkill." He said the rule was a British regulation, and added some "friendly advice".

"A fish rots from the head down. As potential future PM you need to keep a cool head. So after all, Boris, that ice pillow may turn out to be not so 'pointless,'' he said.