“The work begins now”: Boris Johnson makes first speech as prime minister
New Conservative leader and prime minister Boris Johnson declared that the “work begins now” on "changing the country for the better" as he made his first speech on the steps of Downing Street.
During his address, Johnson declared his intentions to “restore trust” in the nation’s democracy, firstly by negotiating a new deal with the EU which removes the “undemocratic” Irish backstop proposal and delivers Brexit.
He promised that Brexit will be done by October 31 to put an end to three years of stalemate with Europe, while hinting that leaving without a deal was now “a remote possibility”.
Johnson opened by saying that he had accepted the invitation from Her Majesty the Queen to form a government and paid tribute to his predecessor Theresa May.
The transfer of power had already taken place before the Queen at Buckingham Palace earlier in the day.
The new prime minister also fired a warning to the “pessimists”, “doubters” and “gloomsters” who believe that Brexit cannot be done, saying that nobody has succeeded in betting against Britain and those who do will “lose their shirts”.
Johnson also said he has “every confidence” that his government will break the Brexit deadlock “in 99 days”, saying "the time has come to act, to take decisions and change this country for the better.”
His message to the people of Northern Ireland was that he is confident that a new deal will be done with the EU to remove the backstop but that his government must and will be prepared for the “remote possibility” of no-deal.
He also re-affirmed his deep sense of personal responsibility over Brexit, saying: “No ifs, no buts. Never mind the backstop, the buck stops with me”.
The new prime minister also took the opportunity to thank EU nationals working in the UK, promising that they will have the absolute right to remain under his government.
Johnson also announced his ambitions plans to overhaul social care, pledging to “fix it once and for all”.
He also urged the UK to be more “outward looking” and “get going” on establishing things such as free ports, tax breaks for innovation in business and more to be done for animal welfare.
Outgoing prime minister Theresa May had thanked the Queen for “the greatest honour” as she relinquished power and wished Johnson well in his office, saying the successes of his government will be “our country’s successes”.