Boris Johnson takes over. | Reuters

Boris Johnson said on Wednesday afternoon that the time has come to act and promised that there were no ifs or buts about leaving the EU on 31 October. He attacked the "doubters, doomsters and the gloomsters" who have said that it cannot be done.

Johnson added that there was a "remote possibility" of leaving without a deal and that preparations for this would be accelerated. On other matters, he spoke about sorting out care for the elderly "once and for all", ensuring that 20 billion pounds of extra funding for the NHS gets "to the front line", and increased investment in infrastructure and education.

Spain's prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, tweeted his congratulations to Johnson, saying "we are looking forward to work closely with his government". Sánchez added: "We will continue to cooperate on the international scene and Brexit for the benefit of the British and Spanish people."