Number 10 statement

Johnson makes ‘no ifs, or buts’ pledge to take Britain out of EU

Boris at Downing Street

First remarks: Boris Johnson on the steps of Downing Street

Boris Johnson today pledged to put trust in British democracy and take the country out of the EU on 31 October “no ifs, or buts.”

He attacked the “doubters, doomsters and gloomsters” and announced a series of commitments on social care, education and broadband for “the whole of the United Kingdom”. He referred to the nations of the UK as the “awesome foursome”.

It was a confident speech which echoed the promises made by Theresa May in the same place three years ago.

On the key issue of Brexit he said: “The British people have had enough of waiting. The time has come to act. Never mind the backstop, the buck stops here.”

He said with “absolute certainty” that EU nationals could remain in Britain, but he again said No Deal remained an option. He said that in such an event the country would have £39 billion in hand that would have been paid to the EU.

“I say to our friends in Ireland, and in Brussels and around the EU, I am convinced that we can do a deal without checks at the Irish border, because we refuse under any circumstances to have such checks and yet without that anti-democratic backstop.” he said.

“And it is of course vital at the same time that we prepare for the remote possibility that Brussels refuses any further to negotiate and we are forced to come out with no deal.”

He criticised the pessimists and those who believed that in the home of democracy “we are incapable of honouring a democratic mandate”. He added: “I am standing before you today, to tell you, the British people, that those critics are wrong – the doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters are going to get it wrong again. The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts because we are going to restore trust in our democracy.”

He said: “Do not underestimate this country. As we prepare for a Brexit future it is time to look at the opportunities.”

He said Britain was an enterprising and outward-looking country.

“I will tell you something else about my job. It is to be prime minister of the whole United Kingdom, and that means uniting our country, answering at last the plea of the forgotten people and the left-behind towns, by physically and literally renewing the ties that bind us together,” he said.

His first moves to reshape his Cabinet saw a long list of ministers leave the government, including his rival for Downing Street Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, who was expected to get a senior post.

Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt and Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley were also ushered out of office.

Boris meeting Queen

Mr Johnson greeted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace

Theresa May was overcome by emotion as she was given a standing ovation by MPs following her last PMQs.

Her voice faltered as she addressed MPs for the final time and left the Despatch box to applause from around the Chamber.

But Jeremy Corbyn and most Labour MPs refused to get to their feet for the tribute. Mr Corbyn ignored etiquette to attack Mrs May during her last Commons session.  

She responded by saying: “At every stage his only interest has been in playing party politics. Frankly, he should be ashamed of himself.

 “As a party leader who has accepted their time has come, perhaps now is the time for him to do the same.”

See also:

Mundell fired as Johnson brings axe down on May’s Cabinet

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