‘Brexit in 99 Days, No Ifs, No Buts’: Boris Johnson Makes First Speech as UK Prime Minister

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London ON jULY 24, 2019, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government. - Theresa May is set to formally resign on July 24 after …
VICTORIA JONES/AFP/Getty Images

Boris Johnson stood at the podium before Downing Street and told a crowd of waiting journalists that he would take the United Kingdom out of the European Union “no ifs, no buts” in 99 days time.

Speaking to a chorus of jeers from protestors on Whitehall, just yards away from where he stood in front of the Prime Minister’s official residence in London, Britain’s new leader Boris Johnson vowed to deliver Brexit.

Noting the negative atmosphere in British politics at present, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

…there are pessimists at home and abroad who think after three years of indecision that this country has become a prisoner to the old arguments of 2016, and that in this home of democracy we are incapable of honouring a democratic mandate. So I am standing in front of you today to tell you, the British people that they are wrong. The doubters, the doomster, the gloomsters, they are going to get it wrong again.

The people who bet against Britain again are going to lose their shirts, because we are going to restore trust in our democracy and 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.”

And we will do a new deal, a better deal, that will maximise the opportunities of Brexit… based on free trade and mutual support. I have every confidence that in 99 days we will have cracked it.

Carrie Symonds (C), girlfriend of Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, waits for the prime minister’s arrival with members of staff in Downing Street in London on July 24, 2019 on the day he was formally appointed British prime minister. TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

Mr Johnson has previously vowed to take Britain out of the European Union “do or die” by October 31st — in 99 days time — but clearly prefers agreeing to a new deal if possible. While the European Union has repeatedly rejected this as a possibility, the new Prime Minister signalled his optimism, when he said:

I say to our friends in Ireland, and Brussels, and around the EU. I am convinced 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. 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.

Not because we want that outcome, of course not. But because it is only common sense to prepare. And let me stress that there is a vital sense in which those preparations cannot be wasted, and that is because under any circumstances we will need to get ready. At some point in the near future, to come out of the EU customs union and out of regulatory control.

[We will be] fully determined to take advantage, at last, of Brexit. Because that is the course this country is now set, with high hearts and growing confidence we will now accelerate the work of getting ready.

In a clear message to Europe that he did not intend to hand over the so-called Brexit divorce payment to Brussels in a case of a no-deal departure, and would instead use the money to boost the economy upon Brexit, Boris said: “…and don’t forget, in a no-deal situation we will have that extra lubrication of the £39 billion pounds.”

While Mr Johnson’s campaign to become Prime Minister focussed clearly on the issue of Brexit, he then moved onto his domestic agenda, promising improved delivery on health, education, and law and order.

Mr Johnson was speaking shortly after meeting with the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, where she formally invited him to form a government. Photographs released by the Palace showed Mr Johnson bowing his head to the Queen and shaking her hand as they met.

The arrival of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister ends three years of Theresa May, a remain-supporting politician who promised to deliver Brexit. Yet despite making that promise repeatedly both in the chamber of the House of Commons and elsewhere, she ultimately failed, leading to her eventual departure from office Wednesday morning.

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