Boris Johnson says he wants to make UK greatest country on Earth in first statement to MP
Boris Johnson is delivering his first statement to MPs.
He starts with a tribute to Theresa May.
Then he says his mission is to deliver Brexit and make the UK the greatest country on Earth.
He says that might sound like hyperbole. But he claims it is realistic.
Johnson says there is too much negativity around.
We must take immediate steps, he says.
First, we must restore trust in democracy by taking the UK out of the EU by 31 October. He says to fail to do this would cause a “catastrophic loss of confidence” in our political system.
He says he would prefer to leave with a deal.
But the withdrawal agreement has been rejected by MPs three times. He says the backstop is unacceptable because it undermines Britain’s democracy. It must go, he says. A time limit would not be enough.
He says the Irish border issue should be settled in the negotiations on the future relationship, which is where this issue should always have been decided.
He says he does not accept that the backstop is needed. Other, alternative arrangements are perfectly possible.
He says his team is ready to talk to the EU whenever and wherever they want to do so.
He says he hopes the EU will also be ready to meet, and to rethink their current positions.
He says the UK is more ready for a no-deal Brexit than many people believe. But in the days left before 31 October, the government will step up its preparations.
He says, if the UK does leave without a deal, the UK will have the £39bn available.
He says the Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, has been put in charge of no-deal planning. And the new chancellor, Sajid Javid, has said any money necessary will be available.
Johnson says the government is preparing tax cuts to stimulate innovation.
It will intensify work on getting new trade deals.
It will prepare an economic stimulus.
And he says he can give EU nationals an assurance they will have an absolute right to remain after Brexit.
Johnson says he is absolutely committed to delivering Brexit.
There are many officials in the EU would be be better placed working on trade deals in the UK.
He says the UK will not nominate a new European commissioner for after October.
He says he will not wait until 31 October before rebuilding Britain. He will start on this straight away.