LONDON (Reuters) - Boris Johnson launched his premiership with a bid to do a bold new Brexit deal with the European Union by Oct. 31, rebuking “gloomsters” and the political class who he said had forgotten the people who they should serve.
Johnson took office on Wednesday, replacing Theresa May who stepped down having failed to deliver Brexit or implement many of the reforms she promised when taking office in 2016.
He comes to power at a time of national crisis, promising Britain will leave the European Union at the end of October but with little sign that Brussels will bend to his demand to sweeten the terms of the country’s departure.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
But, in a 12 minute speech outside glossy black door to the prime minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street, Johnson delivered a thrusting rebuke to those who have criticised his planned approach as light on detail and heavy on rhetoric.
“The doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters – they are going to get it wrong again,” Johnson said, rocking up on the balls of his feet as he spoke.
“The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts.”
Casting aside his trademark clownish demeanour and rambling delivery, he followed a written script, setting out an ambitious agenda beyond Brexit - promising tax reform, a new social care system, and an economic stimulus package.
“I will tell you something else about my job. It is to be Prime Minister of the whole United Kingdom and that means uniting our country answering at last the plea of the forgotten people and the left behind towns,” he said.
Reporting by William James; editing by Guy Faulconbridge