Boris Johnson tells Remainers he will be 'prime minister for everyone' as he hails 2020s as 'decade of opportunity'

Posted On: 
1st January 2020

Boris Johnson has pitched himself as a "prime minister for everyone" as he tried to usher in the 2020s with a bid to heal the "division, rancour and uncertainty" in British politics.

The PM made a pitch for post-Brexit unity in his New Year address.
Credit: 
Number 10

In an upbeat New Year's message, the Conservative leader - who is on holiday in the Caribbean - said the 2020s would be "a decade of prosperity and opportunity", and vowed to repay the trust of Brits who had "lent me your vote" in the general election.

But he again took a swipe at the previous Parliament, saying MPs had used "every trick in the book to stop us leaving the EU".

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The Conservative leader's New Year message comes after his party secured its biggest majority since the 1980s by sweeping up support in Labour's traditional heartlands.

Making a direct appeal to those voters who backed the party for the first time, as well as those who voted against him, Mr Johnson said: "I know that many of you do not consider yourself natural Tories and may only have lent me your vote.

"I am humbled by your support and will work every day to keep it. I am also acutely aware that there are millions of people who did not vote for me and were disappointed by the result.

"If you are one of them, I want to reassure you that I will be a Prime Minister for everyone, not just those who voted for me. I know that you love this country no less, simply because you voted for another party or wanted to Remain.

"More than that, I want to work with you, as friends and equals, as we build the future this United Kingdom deserves."

Mr Johnson said the midnight chimes of Big Ben marked "the starting gun being fired on what promises to be a fantastic year and a remarkable decade for our United Kingdom".

And he said: "As we say goodbye to 2019 we can also turn the page on the division, rancour and uncertainty which has dominated public life and held us back for far too long.

"We can start a new chapter in the history of our country, in which we come together and move forward united, unleashing the enormous potential of the British people."

Once again talking up his "oven ready" EU Withdrawal Agreement, the Prime Minister said the "first item" on his list for the New Year is "to fulfil the will of the electorate and take us out of the European Union".

But, taking a fresh swipe at MPs, Mr Johnson added: "This should have happened already, but we were thwarted by a Parliament determined to use every trick in the book to stop us leaving the EU.

"Now we have a new Parliament, elected by the people to deliver the people’s priorities, which will finally respect the referendum and deliver Brexit."

'RESISTANCE'

The Prime Minister meanwhile used his New Year's speech to reprise the other big themes of his election campaign, vowing to "get to work" on investing in the NHS, improving education standards and ensuring cities and towns outside of London and the South East are "more connected than ever before".

Mr Johnson's 2020 message comes after Jeremy Corbyn used his own address to describe Labour as "the resistance to Boris Johnson".

But the outgoing Labour leader made no direct mention of the general election result - Labour's worst since 1935 - simply saying it had been “quite the year” for his party.

Calling on people to join Labour, he echoed his manifesto message that “together we can bring about real change for our country".