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Boris Johnson eyes key vote on Brexit ahead of Christmas

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson./ File photo

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson./ File photo   | Photo Credit: POOL

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U.K. PM’s other top domestic goal is shoring up health service

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will “get Brexit done” by January 31 and then agree a new trade deal with the European Union by the end of 2020, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said on Sunday, vowing to deliver on the government’s top priority.

Mr. Johnson and his team were triumphant last week when he won a commanding majority of 80 at an early election. Winning over many traditionally Labour voters in northern and central England, Mr. Johnson has proclaimed he will lead a “people’s government”.

First, the Conservative leader must make good on his often-repeated promise to “get Brexit done” and then turn to realising another priority: to increase funding into Britain’s much loved but struggling public health service. “I can absolutely confirm that we will have an opportunity to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in relatively short order and then we will make sure that it passes before January 31st,” Mr. Gove said.

On a new trade accord with the EU, Mr. Gove said: “It will be concluded next year. We will be in a position to leave the EU before the 31st of January next year and then we will have concluded our conversations with the EU about the new framework of free trade and friendly cooperation that we will have with them by the end of next year.”

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has cast doubt over whether the trade talks will be so swiftly concluded, warning Britain the bloc “will not tolerate unfair competitive advantage”.

Rishi Sunak, a Deputy Finance Minister, said the government aimed to re-submit the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to Parliament for ratification before Christmas to allow Ministers to start work on other priorities such as “levelling up” the country.

Corbyn to step down

Mr. Corbyn, who apologised to Labour supporters in two newspapers on Sunday, has said he will step down as soon as a new leader has been elected by the party membership.

“I will make no bones about it. The result was a body blow for everyone who so desperately needs real change in our country... I’m sorry that we came up short and I take my responsibility for it,” he wrote.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 2:19:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/boris-johnson-eyes-key-vote-on-brexit-ahead-of-christmas/article30313904.ece

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