Boris Johnson becomes UK Prime Minister

4:27 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

"The Dude" or "Bozz Lightfear?" What the papers are saying

Any guesses on what's dominating British newspapers on Wednesday?

Plenty of papers went with a picture of Boris Johnson making some kind of indescribable pose after being announced as the new Conservative leader -- the Daily Mail likened it to one made by British comedian Eric Morecambe, in a splash that no one outside of Britain or under a certain age will understand.

"I'm the dude," said the Telegraph, referencing their longtime columnist's so-called "Dude" policy announced in his victory speech on Tuesday. "Dude, we're going to energize the country," Johnson told the event hall.

The Guardian asks the question many people will be wondering -- what happens now?

And the Daily Mirror takes a more pessimistic view on matters. "It's really not funny any more..." their headline reads, alongside some pictures of Johnson's many slapstick moments.

The Sun put their front page to music, riffing on The Beatles and urging Johnson, "Don't make it bad."

But the Scottish edition of the paper didn't hide their feelings. "Uh-oh, it's Bozz Lightfear... To Insanity and Beyond," they proclaimed. Johnson and his Conservative Party are far less popular in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, and nothing sums that up more than the vastly different stances from the English and Scottish versions of The Sun.

4:12 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

The Queen officially decides who becomes prime minister. Here's what else happens in the next few days

Leon Neal/Getty Images
Leon Neal/Getty Images

After his short meeting with the Queen, the new prime minister and his new principal private secretary will travel back to Downing Street, where, traditionally, new PMs give a speech to the nation outside the black door of Number 10.

But after walking into Downing Street for the first time, a new prime minister has a couple of pressing issues to address. First, the civil service will brief the new leader on everything -- yes, everything -- they need to know for the job.

There are other tasks that need doing in the first week. From issuing instructions on what the UK's ballistic submarines should do if London is taken out in a nuclear strike, to arranging advisers and political appointments, it's a hectic period.

More immediately, Johnson will need to get on with forming his government. Right now, no one knows whom the new PM will ask to serve. During the leadership contest, he attracted admirers from across the entire Conservative party.

Rumors are wild, but the consensus in Westminster is that more people believe they are in the running for jobs than there are vacancies. This would mean that Johnson may have to let a lot of people down in his very first week.

Whoever is appointed, it will be seen as the first sign of what kind of prime minister he intends to be, especially when it comes to Brexit.

Read more from Luke McGee's analysis here.

3:56 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

What's happening on Wednesday?

Boris Johnson will meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Boris Johnson will meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Theresa May will be on the receiving end of the infamously brutal transfer of power at the top of British politics on Wednesday.

The still-just-about prime minister will head to the House of Commons on Wednesday for her final Prime Minister's Questions at 12 p.m. (7 a.m. ET), usually a charitable affair in which lawmakers on all sides pay tribute to the departing leader.

She'll return to Downing Street and make her final statement as prime minister around lunchtime, before being driven away from the PM's official home for the last time. She'll go straight to Buckingham Palace and formally resign to the Queen.

Sometime after 3 p.m. (10 a.m. ET), Boris Johnson will himself make the journey to visit the Queen. She'll ask if he is able to form a government, and invite him to be Britain's next leader. He will then be whisked the short distance to Downing Street and make his first statement as PM.

3:40 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Well, here we are.

Boris Johnson's long and seemingly inevitable path to power reaches its final destination on Wednesday, as Britain's celebrity politician walks into Downing Street as prime minister.

Johnson won Tuesday's Conservative leadership election in resounding fashion, picking up almost twice as many votes as his rival Jeremy Hunt. But there's no time for a honeymoon period -- Johnson begins his premiership with Britain in the midst of its worst political crisis since World War II, and with a flimsy working majority of just two seats in Parliament.

If he is to find a way out of the country's Brexit chaos, he will do more than his predecessor Theresa May -- who on Wednesday will hand over power after a tortured three-year tenure.

May will visit the Queen to officially resign, and Johnson will do the same to request to form a government. And, with that, another series in the soap opera that is British politics will begin.