LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled what he called a radical government agenda on Thursday, setting his sights on a quick Brexit, future trade deals and on transforming Britain to repay the trust of voters who handed him a landslide election victory.
Just a week after he won the largest Conservative majority since Margaret Thatcher in 1987, the Queen’s Speech offers details of Johnson’s plans for Britain after more than three years of Brexit upheaval.
Johnson showed he intended to try to satisfy the demands of voters in northern and central England who broke their tradition of backing the opposition Labour Party to support him.
Among pledges to boost funding for the state health service, increase sentences for violent crime and enhance workers’ rights, Johnson made his campaign slogan to “get Brexit done” his number one priority, confirming he would lead Britain out of the European Union on Jan. 31.
He said he would not allow any more “dither and delay”, ruling out any extension beyond 2020 to the transition period to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU, and suggesting he would hold trade talks with other countries at the same time.
“Our first task is to get Brexit done and we will leave the EU at the end of January,” Johnson said in the foreword to the Queen’s Speech, when Queen Elizabeth sets out her government’s programme at the beginning of a new parliament.
“We will release the country from the stranglehold of indecision, restoring confidence to people and businesses. We will avoid the trap of further dither and delay – by ruling out any extension to the implementation period beyond 2020.”
On Friday, he plans to begin the process of passing legislation needed to ratify Britain’s EU exit on Jan.