LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday night that the first item on his agenda “is to fulfil the will of the electorate” and take the country out of the European Union by the end of January.
In his first New Year’s message at 10 Downing Street, Johnson said that the bongs of Big Ben at midnight was the starting gun being fired on what promises to be a fantastic year and a remarkable decade for Britain, urging people of Britain to join together to make the 2020s a decade of prosperity and opportunity.
Speaking of bringing Britain out of the EU, he said, “This should have happened already, but we were thwarted by a Parliament determined to use every trick in the book to stop us leaving the EU.”
As 2019 is waving goodbye, Johnson said Britain can also turn the page on the division, rancour and uncertainty which has dominated public life and held the country back for far too long.
“We can start a new chapter in the history of our country, in which we come together and move forward united, unleashing the enormous potential of the British people,” he added.
“We can finally spend 2020 getting on with delivering on the people’s priorities: boosting the National Health Service (NHS) with the biggest cash injection in its history, renewing schools, backing scientists, building better infrastructure, controlling immigration, making our streets safer, cleaning up our environment, and making our Union stronger,” he said.
Reaffirming his promise that the NHS will always be his top priority, Johnson said one of the government’s first actions will be to pass a bill enshrining in law a record funding settlement for the NHS, providing an extra 34 billion pounds ($45 billion) a year.
“We will undertake the largest hospital building program in living memory,” he added, promising a boost in education and cutting-edge science.
Concluding his message, he cited new trading relationships with nations around the world, generating jobs and growth as well as British scientists and engineers transforming the way people live, curing incurable diseases and making transport cleaner, greener and quieter.
British politicians will return next week to the House of Commons to continue the passage through parliament of Johnson’s Brexit bill to end Britain’s nearly-half-a-century membership of the EU.