Boris Johnson says he won’t let coronavirus ‘hold Britain back’ as he marks first year in Number 10
The Prime Minister promised to use the crisis to ‘build back better’. (PA)
Boris Johnson has vowed not to let Coronavirus “hold this country back” as he marked his one-year anniversary as Prime Minister.
Lauding his achievements in office, the PM said he had “got Brexit done” and was making headway on his promise to “level up” the country before the UK was hit by Covid-19.
Mr Johnson’s tumultuous first year in office began amid bitter Parliamentary fighting over the UK’s Brexit divorce deal.
After proroguing Parliament — a move later ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court — Mr Johnson went on to thrash out a deal with the European Union before winning a resounding Conservative majority in December’s general election by eating into Labour’s traditional heartlands.
Britain formally left the EU on January 31, although talks on a post-Brexit future relationship remain deadlocked after the latest round of discussions.
And the UK is now grappling with the global coronavirus pandemic.
The most recent figures show that more than 45,000 people in Britain have lost their lives because of the virus.
But Mr Johnson said: “It is one year since I stood on the steps of Downing Street and made a promise to the British people.
“That this government would get Brexit done and then unite and level up the country.
“We got Brexit done and made great progress on delivering on those priorities.
“Then our country was hit by a devastating blow in the form of Coronavirus.
“Today I want to make this pledge: I will not let the virus hold this country back.”
He added: “We must harness the unity of purpose and resolve we have shown as a country in fighting Coronavirus – and use it to build back better.”
Mr Johnson’s comments come after a trip to Scotland in which he sought to highlight the “sheer might” the United Kingdom during the Covid-19 fight in the face of fresh calls for Scottish independence.
The PM said: “The union is a fantastically strong institution, it’s helped our country through thick and thin, it’s very, very valuable in terms of the support we’ve been able to give to everybody throughout all corners of the UK.”
But Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accused the Tory leader of using the virus battle “as some kind of political weapon” and warned that no leader should be “crowing about this pandemic”.