Thursday 22 August 2019

Boris Johnson 'convinced' he can do deal to resolve Irish border issue - but warns UK will prepare for a no-deal Brexit

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Boris Johnson's girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, is seen outside Downing Street. Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville
Britain's new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, delivers a speech outside Downing Stree. Picture: REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives in Downing Street, London. Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves on the steps of 10 Downing Street, London. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II speaks to Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace. Picture: Victoria Jones/Pool via REUTERS

Alistair Smout, William James and Kylie MacLellan

Boris Johnson used his first speech as Prime Minister to insist that Brexit will be delivered, and that he will give the country "the leadership it deserves".

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, the Tory leader said he would meet the October 31 deadline "no ifs or buts".

On the issue of the Irish border - the main stumbling block in reaching a Brexit deal - Mr Johnson said he was "convinced" a solution could be found without checks at the Irish border and without the "anti-democratic backstop".

He added: "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."

Watched by girlfriend Carrie Symonds, Mr Johnson promised he would "change this country for the better".

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Boris Johnson's girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, is seen outside Downing Street. Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville

Arriving in Downing Street after being invited by the Queen to form a government during an audience at Buckingham Palace, Mr Johnson vowed to prove the Brexit doubters wrong.

He said: "I am standing before you today, to tell you the British people, that those critics are wrong - the doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters are going to get it wrong again."

He predicted that "the people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts because we are going to restore trust in our democracy".

He added: "And we are going to fulfil the repeated promises of Parliament to the people and come out of the EU on October 31, no ifs or buts.

"And we will do a new deal, a better deal that will maximise the opportunities of Brexit while allowing us to develop a new and exciting partnership with the rest of Europe based on free trade and mutual support.

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New Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives in Downing Street, London. Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

"I have every confidence that in 99 days' time we will have cracked it.

"But you know what we aren't going to wait 99 days, because the British people have had enough of waiting.

"The time has come to act, to take decisions, to give strong leadership and to change this country for the better."

He promised action to fix the social care crisis, make the streets safe and improve the NHS.

He said: "I will take personal responsibility for the change I want to see.

"Never mind the backstop, the buck stops here."

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Queen Elizabeth II speaks to Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace. Picture: Victoria Jones/Pool via REUTERS

Mrs May had used her farewell address in Downing Street to urge Mr Johnson to secure a Brexit deal.

She said the "immediate priority" was "to complete our exit from the European Union in a way that works for the whole United Kingdom".

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New Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves on the steps of 10 Downing Street, London. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

READ MORE: 'Never mind the backstop - the buck stops here': Boris Johnson's first speech as the new UK prime minister

Reuters

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