We are leaving the European Union on 31st October – come what may
The United Kingdom can reclaim its natural and historic role as an enterprising, outward-looking and truly global country. But first we must restore trust in our precious democracy by leaving the EU on the 31st October, writes Boris Johnson
We are gathering in Manchester at a crucial time. It is once again incumbent on the Conservative Party – drawing on the well of our deep experience and proud history – to carry the beacon of leadership at every level across our country. Our party is the oldest and most successful political force in the world: I have every confidence we will deliver Brexit by October 31st, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn.
We are leaving the European Union by October 31st come what may. This is absolutely crucial in order to renew and restore trust in our precious democracy. The British people have had enough of waiting; the constant message I hear from the public is that they are tired of delay. By getting on with the job we will unite and re-energise our great United Kingdom. I would much prefer the UK to leave the EU with a deal, and the Government I lead is working flat out to do its part to make that happen. We have also stepped up preparations and will be fully prepared to leave without an agreement.
Meanwhile, our opponents are mired in endless division and pointless delay. At his conference last week, Jeremy Corbyn once again dodged making any decision on Brexit. All Labour offer is more talk. They have opposed a general election multiple times, granting Mr Corbyn a bizarre and ignoble place in history: the only leader of the opposition ever to run away from an election rather than jump at the chance of one!
In total contrast to their desire to press the pause button, our priorities for action are clear: deliver Brexit, invest in our NHS, schools and police. We plan to unite our country by levelling up opportunity everywhere with a relentless focus on infrastructure, education and technology. On my first day in office, I promised we would not wait until after Brexit to deliver on the priorities of the British people. So in September we undertook the most ambitious spending round for more than a decade and my government has been acting on delivering our domestic priorities.
The recruitment of 20,000 new police officers is already underway. We have enhanced stop and search powers so that police have the tools they need to tackle knife crime and other offences head on. We have set out plans to invest up to £2.5 billion in our prisons for an additional 10,000 places, with £100 million to improve security. Only the Conservatives will prioritise making our streets safer.
We Conservatives love our fantastic NHS. The extra £1.8 billion we provided to the NHS last month will provide upgrades for 20 hospital, meaning more kit, wards and beds. And we are giving a £250 million boost to artificial intelligence to improve early cancer detection and for new dementia treatments so more of our loved ones can get the care they need. This is in addition to the extra £33.9 billion cash boost to the NHS – the biggest in history – which we are ensuring reaches the front line.
We have also announced we will spend £14 billion more in our primary and secondary schools between now and 2022/23. This means minimum primary school funding goes up to £4,000 per pupil and in secondary school goes up to at least £5,000 – levelling up education spending to ensure that every young person, whatever their background, has the opportunity to access a world class education.
I want to make sure we level up across our whole country, so we announced the expansion of Growth Deals across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with £300 million of new funding. And I want no area left behind; our £3.6 billion Towns Fund will regenerate our high streets with improved transport and broadband.
Friends – this is just a snapshot of what we have already achieved in a few key areas. In the coming days we will discuss and outline our exciting future domestic plans.
With Brexit done, our country will be renewed and strengthened, ready to reclaim its natural and historic role as the enterprising, outward-looking and truly global United Kingdom, leading the world in science, public services, the arts, tech, academia and business.
And it is we Conservatives who will make it happen.
Boris Johnson is Prime Minister and Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip