TELFORD, United Kingdom (AFP) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged Sunday to take Britain out of the EU by January 31, then set about reinvigorating public services as he launched his Conservative Party’s general election manifesto.
Having taken over a minority administration in July and been unable to speed his EU divorce deal through parliament, Johnson is seeking a majority at the December 12 snap election – called in a bid to break the Brexit logjam.
Johnson said his “sensible, moderate, tax-cutting” agenda would help reunite Britain after three years of acrimony following the 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union.
“We’re now, as you know, less than three weeks away from the most critical election in modern memory,” Johnson said as he unveiled the manifesto in Telford, west central 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.”
Johnson is promising to bring back his Brexit deal to parliament before December 25 if the centre-right Conservatives are returned to power in the third general election in four years.
“We can then get the whole thing completed in a matter of days if not weeks, and we’re out by January 31,” he said.
The main plank of the Conservative manifesto is the Brexit deal Johnson negotiated with Brussels in October.
He insists the deal will allow Britain to regain control over its laws, money and immigration policy.
Johnson’s chief rival, left-wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, wants to renegotiate a new, softer Brexit agreement within three months and then put that to a referendum alongside the option of remaining in the EU by the end of June. Corbyn himself would stay neutral during the process.
“He used to be indecisive – now he’s not so sure,” Johnson said, in a dig at the veteran socialist.
The Britain Elects poll aggregator puts the Conservatives on 42 percent, ahead of the Labour main opposition on 29 percent, the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats on 15 percent, the Brexit Party on six percent and the Greens on three percent.
Johnson will also benefit from the decision of Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage not to field candidates in the constituencies currently held by Conservative MPs.