Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Boris Johnson promises start of ‘golden age’

LONDON: Boris Johnson has promised the “beginning of a new golden age”, as he made his first Commons statement as PM.

Speaking to MPs, Mr Johnson said his government would throw itself into Brexit negotiations with energy, while Michael Gove would lead on no-deal planning as a “top priority”.

He also said EU citizens living in the UK would have their rights protected.

But Downing Street was unable to confirm if there would be any new laws to underpin the commitment.

Tory MP Alberto Costa – who has campaigned for EU citizens’ rights after Brexit – welcomed Mr Johnson’s pledge, but said “the devil, as ever, is in the detail” and he would be “scrutinising how that guarantee comes forward”.

Replying to his statement in the Commons, Jeremy Corbyn said people “do not trust” the new PM to deliver on his promises. And Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has written to Mr Johnson to say it is “essential” her country has an alternative option to his Brexit plan. The statement came after the first meeting of Mr Johnson’s new cabinet, who he said had all committed to leaving the EU on or before 31 October, “no ifs, no buts”.

New secretaries of state include former leadership contender Sajid Javid as chancellor, and leading Brexiteers, with Dominic Raab as foreign secretary and Priti Patel as home secretary.

Mr Johnson has also held his first calls with other foreign leaders – including Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Australian PM Scott Morrison – and is due to speak to the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker later.

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