UK's Boris Johnson says Britain must 'bid farewell to division' in New Year's message

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson Copyright APPrime Minister's Press Office
By Orlando Crowcroft
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Johnson promised 'no more elections, no more referendums' in 2020.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson used his New Year’s Eve address to call for Britain to “bid farewell to division” just weeks after winning a landslide victory in the UK election last month.

Johnson, whose Conservative party turned a minus-20 parliamentary deficit in the House of Commons into a 80 seat majority on December 13, reiterated his plan to take the UK out of the European Union on January 31, fulfilling his election pledge to “Get Brexit Done”.

“As we say goodbye to 2019, let’s also bid farewell to the division, the rancour, the uncertainty which has held this country back for too long. 2020 is upon us, and now we have a wonderful opportunity to unite as a country and move forward together,” Johnson said.

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“On the 31st we’ll be out of te EU, free to chart our own course as a sovereign nation, taking back control of our money, our laws, our borders and our trade. And with that certainty, we will [...] help unleash a pent up tidal wave of investment.”

Britain’s parliament reconvenes on January 8 after a tumultuous year, which saw the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May after she was unable to deliver a Brexit deal. Johnson’s own deal led to mass resignations within his own party, which ultimately led to last month’s election.

But bolstered by its biggest majority since the era of Margaret Thatcher, Johnson is unlikely to face any struggle to force through Brexit and get Britain out of the EU almost four years since Britons voted to leave by a small majority on June 23, 2016.

He will be further aided by a fragmented opposition, after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn led his party to its worst electoral defeat in 80 years. Corbyn resigned, although he will remain leader until a replacement is found.

Another opposition leader, the Liberal Democrat’s Jo Swinson, lost her seat in the December election, a victim of a surge in support for the Scottish National Party (SNP) north of the border, where they won 50 seats, their best election result since 2015.

Johnson also used his message to promise a weary British public that there would be “no more elections, no more referendums” in 2020, after the country saw three elections in five years.

It will be seen as a warning to the SNP, which made a second referendum on Scottish independence a key electoral issue in December.

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