Below is the text of the speech made by Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, on 31 December 2019.
That distinctive sound you may have heard at midnight as the bongs of Big Ben faded away was not the popping of champagne corks or the crackle of fireworks from your neighbour’s garden.
Rather it was the starting gun being fired on what promises to be a fantastic year and a remarkable decade for our United Kingdom.
As we say goodbye to 2019 we can also turn the page on the division, rancour and uncertainty which has dominated public life and held us back for far too long. We can start a new chapter in the history of our country, in which we come together and move forward united, unleashing the enormous potential of the British people.
Of course the first item on my agenda is to fulfil the will of the electorate and take us out of the European Union. This should have happened already, but we were thwarted by a Parliament determined to use every trick in the book to stop us leaving the EU.
Now we have a new Parliament, elected by the people to deliver the people’s priorities, which will finally respect the referendum and deliver Brexit.
So we’ll get Brexit done before the end of this month. That oven-ready deal I talked about so much during the election campaign has already had its plastic covering pierced and been placed in the microwave.
We got down to work immediately after the election. The necessary legislation has already begun its passage through Parliament and, once MPs return to Westminster, we’ll waste no time in finishing the job. At long last we will take back control of our laws, borders, money and trade.
Then we can finally spend 2020 getting on with delivering on the people’s priorities: boosting the NHS with the biggest cash injection in its history, renewing schools, backing scientists, building better infrastructure, controlling immigration, making our streets safer, cleaning up our environment, and making our Union stronger.
The loudest message I heard during the election campaign is that people expect us – expect me – to protect and improve the NHS. The NHS is a wonderful British invention, there for us and our families when we are ill, whatever our background and regardless of ability to pay.
So the NHS will always be my top priority. One our first actions will be to pass a bill enshrining in law a record funding settlement for the NHS, providing an extra £34 billion a year. We will undertake the largest hospital building programme in living memory, delivering 40 new hospitals and 20 upgrades. We’ll ensure there are 50,000 more nurses, 6,000 more GPs, and 50 million more GP surgery appointments.
I also want to make this country the best place on earth when it comes to quality education and cutting-edge science. It’s great that we have started to climb back up the international school league tables – now let’s make it to the very top. We will support hardworking teachers by boosting per pupil funding in primary and secondary schools and we will transform this country’s approach to science and research, making the UK an engine for the ideas of the future.
Our vision is clear: to unite and level up across the whole United Kingdom – spreading opportunity more fairly – with better infrastructure, superb education and high technology.
We will do all of this while keeping your taxes low, freezing rates of income tax, VAT and National Insurance.
It is thanks to you, the people, that we are on the path to a brighter future. It was your decisiveness at the ballot box, your determination to drive an electoral bulldozer through the deadlock and paralysis, that has unblocked parliament and delivered a people’s government dedicated to serving you.
I know that many of you do not consider yourself natural Tories and may only have lent me your vote. I am humbled by your support and will work every day to keep it. I am also acutely aware that there are millions of people who did not vote for me and were disappointed by the result.
If you are one of them, I want to reassure you that I will be a Prime Minister for everyone, not just those who voted for me. I know that you love this country no less, simply because you voted for another party or wanted to Remain. More than that, I want to work with you, as friends and equals, as we build the future this United Kingdom deserves.
So let’s together make the 2020s a decade of prosperity and opportunity. State of the art healthcare. Great schools in every community. Our cities and towns more connected than ever before – not just in London and the South East but in the Midlands, the North and across the country. New trading relationships with nations around the world, generating jobs and growth. British scientists and engineers transforming the way we live – curing incurable diseases and making transport cleaner, greener and quieter.
It’s a fantastically exciting agenda. Let’s get to work.