Johnson enters No 10 with ‘no ifs or buts’ Brexit promise

Boris Johnson used his first speech as Prime Minister to insist that Brexit will be delivered, and that he will give the country "the leadership it deserves".

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, the Tory leader said he would meet the October 31 deadline "no ifs or buts".

Watched by girlfriend Carrie Symonds, Mr Johnson promised he would "change this country for the better".

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Boris Johnson becomes PM
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Boris Johnson becomes PM
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson is welcomed into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson is welcomed into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clapped into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clapped into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clapped into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clapped into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson's partner Carrie Symonds waits for him to make a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Protesters outside 10 Downing Street, London, awaiting the arrival of new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Newly Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Buckingham Palace in London, following an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he was invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Newly Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Buckingham Palace in London, following an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he was invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson, center, arrives at Buckingham Palace in London for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he will be formally invited to become Prime Minister, Wednesday July 24, 2019. Boris Johnson will replace May as Prime Minister later Wednesday, following her resignation last month after Parliament repeatedly rejected the Brexit withdrawal agreement she struck with the European Union. (Yui Mok/pool via AP)
LONDON — Boris Johnson was due to enter 10 Downing St. as Britain's new prime minister on Wednesday, vowing to lead the U.K. out of the European Union and unite a country deeply divided over Brexit.It's a tall order. Johnson has just 99 days to make good on his promise to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31, "come what may."The former mayor of London and foreign secretary is getting Britain's top job in politics after winning a contest to lead the governing Conservative Party.Famed for his bravado, quips in Latin and blond mop of hair, Johnson easily defeated Conservative rival Jeremy Hunt, winning two-thirds of the votes of about 160,000 party members across the U.K.He replaces Theresa May, who announced her resignation last month after Parliament repeatedly rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with the 28-nation bloc, leaving Britain stranded in Brexit limbo as the U.K.'s departure from the EU was delayed past its long-scheduled March exit date.Johnson was taking office in a day of carefully choreographed political drama that began with May attending the weekly Prime Minister's Questions period in the House of Commons for the last time.The usually boisterous session was subdued, with Conservative colleagues praising May's sense of duty and opposition leaders offering best wishes, while aiming their fire at her replacement. May just shook her head when Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn asked if she would help him stop "the reckless plans of her successor," who has vowed to leave the EU if necessary without a Brexit divorce deal.May offered Johnson slightly muted praise, saying she was pleased to hand over to a Conservative committed to "delivering on the vote of the British people in 2016 and to delivering a bright future for this country."And she fired back at Corbyn: "As a party leader who has accepted when her time was up, perhaps the time is now for him to do the same?"As she left the Commons chamber, May was given a standing ovation by Conservative lawmakers, many of whom helped bring her down by rejecting her Brexit deal.After saying goodbye to Downing Street staff, May stood outside the prime minister's residence and spoke publicly for the last time as Britain's leader.With husband, Philip, by her side, May said it had been "the greatest honour" to serve as prime minister.Reminding her successor of the risks posed by a disruptive Brexit, May said the new government's priority must be "to complete our exit from the European Union in a way that works for the whole United Kingdom."May and her husband then travelled by ministerial Jaguar the mile (1.6 kilometres) to Buckingham Palace to advise Queen Elizabeth II to ask Johnson to form a new government. The palace confirmed in a statement that the 93-year-old monarch had accepted May's resignation.May left the palace after a half-hour. Moments later, Johnson's car swept through the gates of the royal residence. He will be the 14th prime minister of the queen's 67-year reign.There was a brief hiccup in the smooth handover when environmental protesters blocked Johnson's car by forming a human chain across the road outside the palace. They were quickly bundled aside by his police escort.Greenpeace said its activists had tried to hand Johnson a letter calling for strong action against climate change.Later, Johnson is to give a speech outside 10 Downing St., giving Britons a glimpse at his priorities and policy plans.Then the real battle starts.Johnson has vowed that Britain will leave the EU on the currently scheduled date of Oct. 31, with or without a deal on departure terms. Economists warn that a no-deal Brexit would disrupt trade and plunge the U.K. into recession, and the EU is adamant that the deal it made with May will not be renegotiated.Chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said "we are ready to listen and to work with" Johnson, but did not budge on the bloc's refusal to alter the deal."A no-deal Brexit will never be, never, the choice of the EU. But we are prepared," he said in Brussels.Johnson, whose personal brand is built on optimism — and, critics say, an ambiguous relationship with facts — promised Tuesday to deliver Brexit "in a new spirit of can do.""I say to all the doubters: 'Dude, we are going to energize the country, we are going to get Brexit done,'" he said.To succeed, Johnson must win over the many Britons opposed to Brexit and resistant to his blustering charms.In a sign he hopes to move beyond the largely white, male and affluent Conservative members who chose him as their leader, Johnson's office said his government would be a "Cabinet for modern Britain" with more women and a record number of ministers from ethnic minorities.His administration is also set to include some pro-EU politicians, but many members will be strong Brexit supporters like Johnson. One of his senior advisers is set to be Dominic Cummings, lead strategist for the "Vote Leave" campaign in the 2016 EU membership referendum.A contentious figure, Cummings was found to be in contempt of Parliament earlier this year for refusing to give evidence to a committee of lawmakers investigating "fake news."Several senior members of May's government who oppose a no-deal Brexit resigned Wednesday before they could be fired by Johnson. Treasury chief Philip Hammond, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and Justice Secretary David Gauke all quit, along with David Lidington, who was May's deputy prime minister."Given Boris's stated policy of leaving the EU by October 31 at all costs, I am not willing to serve in his government," Gauke said in his resignation letter.___Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit and the Conservative Party leadership race at: https://www.apnews.com/BrexitJill Lawless And Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson, center, arrives at Buckingham Palace in London for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he will be formally invited to become Prime Minister, Wednesday July 24, 2019. Boris Johnson will replace May as Prime Minister later Wednesday, following her resignation last month after Parliament repeatedly rejected the Brexit withdrawal agreement she struck with the European Union. (Yui Mok/pool via AP)
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson arrives at Buckingham Palace in London, for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he will be invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Boris Johnson leaves Whitehall before a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II where he will accept her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Boris Johnson leaves Whitehall before a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II where he will accept her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson arrives at Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson leaves Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson leaves Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, on the day it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson leaves his office in Westminster, London, after it was announced he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson arrives at Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson (left) with Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis as he arrives at Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson speaks at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London after being announced as the new Conservative party leader and next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson leaves his office in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
(left to right) Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London as it was announced Mr Johnson is the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
Jeremy Hunt (left) and Boris Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London where Mr Johson was announced as the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
(left to right) Lucia Hunt, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London as it was announced Mr Johnson is the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
Jeremy Hunt (left) congratulates Boris Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London where he was announced as the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
(left to right) Lucia Hunt, Jeremy Hunt, congratulating Boris Johnson and Sir Edward Lister, at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London where Mr Johnson was announced as the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
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Arriving in Downing Street after being invited by the Queen to form a government during an audience at Buckingham Palace, Mr Johnson vowed to prove the Brexit doubters wrong.

He said: "I am standing before you today, to tell you the British people, that those critics are wrong – the doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters are going to get it wrong again."

He predicted that "the people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts because we are going to restore trust in our democracy".

He added: "And 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.

"And 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 based on free trade and mutual support.

"I have every confidence that in 99 days' time we will have cracked it.

Boris Johnson becomes PM
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clapped into 10 Downing Street by staff (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

"But you know what we aren't going to wait 99 days, because the British people have had enough of waiting.

"The time has come to act, to take decisions, to give strong leadership and to change this country for the better."

He promised action to fix the social care crisis, make the streets safe and improve the NHS.

He said: "I will take personal responsibility for the change I want to see.

"Never mind the backstop, the buck stops here."

But on the issue of the Irish border – the main stumbling block in reaching a Brexit deal – Mr Johnson said he was "convinced" a solution could be found without checks at the Irish border and without the "anti-democratic backstop".

He added: "It is of course vital at the same time that we prepare for the remote possibility that Brussels refuses any further to negotiate and we are forced to come out with no-deal.

"Not because we want that outcome, of course not, but because it is only common sense to prepare."

Prime Minister's Questions
Outgoing prime minister Theresa May and her husband Philip (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Mrs May had used her farewell address in Downing Street to urge Mr Johnson to secure a Brexit deal.

She said the "immediate priority" was "to complete our exit from the European Union in a way that works for the whole United Kingdom".

The handover of power came on a dramatic day at Westminster which saw:

– Greenpeace protesters attempt to block Mr Johnson's car on its way to Buckingham Palace

– Cabinet ministers Philip Hammond, David Gauke and Rory Stewart hand in their resignations to Mrs May before she left office

– European Council president Donald Tusk call for Mr Johnson to set out a detailed plan for Brexit

– Details emerge of Mr Johnson's new Government, with a Cabinet return for Priti Patel and an advisory role for Vote Leave mastermind Dominic Cummings.

– As Mr Johnson wielded the axe, Penny Mordaunt said she was "heading to the backbenches", leaving her post as Defence Secretary, Liam Fox "sadly" left his job as International Trade Secretary and Greg Clark departed his role as Business Secretary.

In his Downing Street address, Mr Johnson was keen to set out a domestic agenda in order to ensure that his term in office is not defined by Brexit.

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Theresa May's final day as PM
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Theresa May's final day as PM
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street, prior to a meeting at Buckingham Palace where she will hand in her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
Theresa May arrives at Buckingham Palace in London for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II to formally resign as Prime Minister.
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, watched by husband Philip, speaks outside 10 Downing Street, London, before a meeting at Buckingham Palace where she will hand in her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip, outside 10 Downing Street, London, before a meeting at Buckingham Palace where she will hand in her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip, outside 10 Downing Street, London, before a meeting at Buckingham Palace where she will hand in her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May speaking outside 10 Downing Street, London, before a meeting at Buckingham Palace where she will hand in her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip, as she makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London, before a meeting at Buckingham Palace where she will hand in her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
Theresa May and her husband Philip are greeted by Rt Hon Edward Young, private secretary to the Queen, and Major Nana Twumasi-Ankrah, Household Cavalry Regiment, as she arrives at Buckingham Palace in London for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II to formally resign as Prime Minister.
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip, outside 10 Downing Street, London, before a meeting at Buckingham Palace where she will hand in her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, with her husband Philip May, leaves 10 Downing Street, London, on her way to Buckingham Palace where she will hand in her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, with her husband Philip May, leaves 10 Downing Street, London, on her way to Buckingham Palace where she will hand in her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May with husband Philip leaving 10 Downing Street, London, before a meeting at Buckingham Palace where she will hand in her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
MPs applaud as Prime Minister Theresa May leaves following her final Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
MPs applaud as Prime Minister Theresa May leaves following her final Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Prime Minister Theresa May during her final Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Prime Minister Theresa May laughs as Harriet Harman speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Prime Minister Theresa May during her last Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Prime Minister Theresa May during her last Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn listens to Prime Minister Theresa May during her last Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Prime Minister Theresa May leans on the Minister for the Cabinet Office David Lidington during her last Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street, London, as she heads to the House of Commons for her last Prime Minister's Questions.
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He confirmed his campaign pledge to put another 20,000 police on the streets, work would start this week on 20 new hospital upgrades and he promised to "fix the crisis in social care once and for all" with a plan to give every older person "the dignity and security they deserve".

Acknowledging the divisions in the country, Mr Johnson said he would answer the pleas of the "forgotten people and the left behind towns", with investment in new transport links and infrastructure.

Protesters block the convoy bringing Boris Johnson to Buckingham Palace (PA)
Sky News images show protesters blocking the convoy bringing Boris Johnson to Buckingham Palace (Sky News/PA)

He also hailed the "awesome foursome" of the four nations of the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – "who together are so much more than the sum of their parts".

Mr Johnson faces a difficult task as he attempts to govern with a majority of just two.

The opposition to a no-deal Brexit in the Commons will be bolstered by Mr Hammond, Mr Gauke and Mr Stewart now they are free of Cabinet collective responsibility.

David Lidington, who had been Mrs May's effective deputy prime minister, also stood down as Mrs May resigned and said he had informed Mr Johnson of his decision, saying it was "the right moment to move on" after 20 years on the frontbench in government and opposition.

The influence of the successful Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum is becoming clear as Mr Johnson appoints his government.

Boris Johnson becomes PM
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson's partner Carrie Symonds waits for him to make a speech (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Ms Patel was a leading player in the campaign and returns to government after she was forced by Mrs May to resign as international development secretary over unauthorised contacts with Israeli officials.

Mr Cummings clashed with officials and politicians while he was an adviser to Michael Gove in the coalition government, but Mr Johnson clearly believes his forthright style will help steer Brexit through.

The appointment of the abrasive Vote Leave campaign director is controversial given that earlier this year he was found to be in contempt of Parliament for refusing to give evidence to a committee of MPs investigating "fake news".

But uncertainty surrounds the future of Mr Johnson's defeated leadership rival Jeremy Hunt after he reportedly turned down a demotion from Foreign Secretary to defence secretary.

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