After his appointment as Prime Minister on July 24, Boris Johnson delivered a speech outside Number 10 Downing Street, outlining his aims and vision for the country under his premiership.
Johnson talked about many issues and sections of society in a bid to reunite the country after the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. Here are the key quotes from the new Prime Minister’s speech outside Downing Street.
‘We are going to fulfil the repeated promises of Parliament to the people and come out of the EU on the 31st of October. No ifs, no buts‘.
‘It is of course vital at the same time that we prepare for the remote possibility that Brussels refuses any further to negotiate’.
‘In the event of a no deal outcome, we will have that extra lubrication of the £39 billion’.
This is the issue that will dominate the early parts of Johnson’s tenure as Prime Minister. As one of the Vote Leave campaigners, the pressure will be on him to follow through with that promise and take the United Kingdom out of the EU on October 31.
If he does not do that, he will risk losing support to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, who performed very well in the European elections and decimated the Tories. This threat of coming out with no deal will also send a clear message to the EU that the new Prime Minister means business.
He even talked about the possibility of no deal and said that the UK will have an extra £39 billion to spend if that does happen and the divorce bill agreement is torn up — something that will send shock waves through Brussels.
‘Without that anti-democratic backstop’.
Johnson made it clear that he wants to get rid of the backstop that Theresa May agreed with the EU, which will come as a relief to the DUP who rejected May’s previous deals based on this aspect of the Brexit agreement.
On the Public Sector
‘Another 20,000 police on the street and we start recruiting forthwith’.
This news will be a relief for citizens across the UK, who will know about the rising number of knife crime incidents in the capital over the past year. Although Mayor Sadiq Khan has taken a lot of criticism for this, the Conservative Party could have provided Khan with more resources to combat this issue.
‘My job is to make sure you don’t have to wait three weeks to see your GP and we start work this week with 20 new hospital upgrades’.
‘We will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve’.
The NHS has suffered under the Conservative Party, with former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt receiving a lot of criticism for his failure in that role. It’s vital for Boris Johnson that his Government provides the adequate funds needed to prevent the National Health Service from collapsing, with several hospitals across the country struggling at the moment.
His statement about older people will also keep more senior Conservative Party supporters on side, with a lot of younger people voting for the Labour Party in the last general election. But older voters may be key in saving the Conservative Party in the near future if there is a general election.
‘We have already announced that we are going to level up per pupil funding in primary and secondary schools’.
The emphasis on the public sector continues here with a promise for more funding in Primary and Secondary schools. This funding will increase the chances of teachers getting the resources that they so desperately need.
However, the PM barely mentioned UK universities which was a surprise, especially after the Augar Review.
On the UK
‘The awesome foursome (four nations of the UK) that are incarnated in that red, white and blue flag, who together are so much more than the sum of their parts’.
The case for Scottish independence from the SNP has been strengthened because of the 2016 EU referendum result. Scotland as a country voted to stay in the European Union, despite the UK as a whole opting to leave. Johnson will face a huge task in resisting pressure to hold a second Scottish independence referendum.
Could he be the last prime minister of the UK? He could be if he allows the second independence referendum to take place. Plaid Cymru may also push for a Welsh independence vote if they feel there’s enough support from Wales to leave the UK.
On the Environment
‘Here in Britain, we are leading the world in battery technology that will help cup CO2 and tackle climate change and produce green jobs for the next generation’.
Climate change group Extinction Rebellion has caused chaos across the country with their campaign to pressurise the Government into taking more severe action against global warming.
Johnson’s escort to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen as the new Prime Minister was disrupted by Greenpeace protesters, who tried to block the road. Even though this was dealt with quickly, the incident was a warning sign that no one intends to back down when it comes to addressing neglected environmental issues.
From his speech, it’s clear that Boris Johnson has a very ambitious plan for the UK. Not just concerning the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, but also with regards to domestic policies. His emphasis on the public sector will certainly help in his aims to bring the country together, although his Brexit policy may yet divide the country even further — we’ll need to watch the space.
If Johnson can achieve all the targets that he set out in his speech, the Conservative Party will have a good chance of regaining power in the next general election. However, the potential for failure is still dangerously high if Parliament decides to block a no-deal Brexit — again, we’ll just have to watch the space between now and autumn.