Boris Johnson tells the nation there are “no circumstances” in which he will ask Brussels to delay Brexit

Boris Johnson tells the nation there are “no circumstances” in which he will ask Brussels to delay Brexit

Below is the text of the speech just delivered by Boris Johnson in Downing Street, minutes after Hilary Benn published the European Union (Withdrawal) (No 6) Bill which would require the Government to write to the EU seeking an extension to the Article 50 period until January 31st 2020 unless a deal is reached with the EU or Parliament approves a no-deal Brexit by October 19th.

There is a video of the speech here or at the bottom of the text.

Five weeks ago I spoke to you from these steps and said that this Government was not going to hang around and that we would not wait until Brexit day – October 31st – to deliver on the priorities of the British people. And so I am proud to say that on Wednesday Chancellor Sajid Javid is going to set out the most ambitious spending round for more than a decade.

I said I wanted to make your streets safer – and that is why we are recruiting another 20,000 police officers. I said I wanted to improve your hospital and reduce the waiting times at your GP. And so we are doing 20 new hospital upgrades in addition to the extra £34 billion going into the NHS. And I said I wanted every child in this country to have a superb education and that’s why I announced last week that we are levelling up funding across the country and spending much more next year in both primary and secondary schools.

And it is to push forward this agenda on these and many other fronts that we need a Queen’s speech in October, while leaving due time to debate Brexit and other matters.

And as we come to that Brexit deadline I am encouraged by the progress we are making. In the last few weeks the chances of a deal have been rising, I believe, for three reasons:

  • They can see that we want a deal
  • They can see that we have a clear vision for our future relationship with the EU – something that has perhaps not always been the case
  • And they can see that we are utterly determined to strengthen our position by getting ready to come out regardless, come what may

But if there is one thing that can hold us back in these talks it is the sense in Brussels that MPs may find some way to cancel the referendum – or that tomorrow MPs will vote, with Jeremy Corbyn, for yet another pointless delay. I don’t think they will. I hope that they won’t.

But if they do they will plainly chop the legs out from under the UK position and make any further negotiation absolutely impossible.

And so I say, to show our friends in Brussels that we are united in our purpose, MPs should vote with the Government against Corbyn’s pointless delay.

I want everybody to know – there are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay. We are leaving on 31st October, no ifs or buts.

We will not accept any attempt to go back on our promises or scrub that referendum.

Armed and fortified with that conviction I believe we will get a deal at that crucial summit in October: a deal that Parliament will certainly be able to scrutinise – and in the meantime let our negotiators get on with their work without that sword of Damocles over their necks. And without an election, which I don’t want and you don’t want.

Let us get on with the people’s agenda – fighting crime, improving the NHS, boosting schools, cutting the cost of living, and unlocking talent and opportunity across the entire United Kingdom, with infrastructure education and technology.

It is a massive agenda. Let’s come together and get it done – and let’s get Brexit done by October 31st.