Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 6 December 2019

Britain Decides: Boris Johnson pledges to ‘get Brexit done’ by December 25

Conservative leader announced party's election policies on Sunday

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces the Conservative party manifesto, in Telford, West Midlands. EPA
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces the Conservative party manifesto, in Telford, West Midlands. EPA

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to push his Brexit divorce deal through Parliament by December 25 as he unveiled his Conservative Party’s election policies on Sunday.

"We're now, as you know, less than three weeks away from the most critical election in modern memory," Mr Johnson said at a launch event in the West Midlands region of England.

"The choice has never been starker. Get Brexit done and we can restore confidence and certainty to businesses and families.

"Get Brexit done and we can focus our hearts and our minds on the priorities of the British people. It is time to unleash the potential of the whole country and to forge a new Britain."

Recent opinion polling puts the Conservatives ahead of main opposition party Labour by about 19 points, although large numbers of undecided voters mean the outcome is not certain.

Mr Johnson's policy package, Get Brexit Done, Unleash Britain's Potential, pledges to freeze income tax, value-added sales tax and social security payments.

He announced a £3 billion (Dh14.1bn) National Skills Fund to retrain workers and an extra £2bn to fill pot-holes in roads. He has also pledged to maintain the regulatory cap on energy bills.

In a surprise announcement, Mr Johnson committed to increasing the number of nurses by 50,000.

The policies are in stark contrast to those of Labour, which has promised to increase day-to-day spending by £83bn over the next four financial years, in comparison with the Conservatives’ £10bn.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the Conservative election pledges as the “billionaires’ manifesto”.

Mr Johnson spent a large part of his speech criticising his Labour rival’s approach to Brexit.

If elected, Mr Corbyn has promised to negotiate a new Brexit deal within three months, then put it to a second public vote with the option to remain in the EU.

Mr Johnson blasted him for his decision to stay neutral in his proposed second EU referendum.

But he was challenged by a journalist during a televised election debate about the name of the Conservative Party’s Twitter account being temporarily changed to “factcheckUK”.

Mr Johnson said the “Twittersphere is not really my province. I will apprise myself of the detail of this."

Outside of spending pledges, he said the Conservatives would end freedom of movement for EU citizens and introduce an Australian-style points-based system.

Immigration was seen as one of the main reasons the UK voted to leave the EU in the 2016 Brexit vote.

Updated: November 25, 2019 03:40 AM

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