Boris Johnson claimed the UK was on the cusp of a “new golden age” as MPs prepare to vote on his Brexit deal today.
The prime minister, who outlined his programme for government in a Queen’s Speech yesterday, said he would deliver on his election promise and “get the Brexit vote wrapped up for Christmas”.
Mr Johnson’s deal will arrive back in the Commons this morning with a number of amendments, the most significant of which will see the UK Government legally prohibited from extending the transition period beyond December 31 next year.
Ahead of the Bill’s introduction, Mr Johnson said: “After years of delay and rancour in parliament, we will deliver certainty and hard-working businesses and people across this country will have a firm foundation on which to plan for the future.
“Next year will be a great year for our country – the year we get Brexit done, boost NHS funding, invest in infrastructure and level up access to opportunity and prosperity across our great nation.”
The Bill comes after the prime minister used the Queen’s Speech to indicate his ambitions for a decade of Tory rule at Westminster.
Mr Johnson said: “This is not a programme for one year or one parliament – it is a blueprint for the future of Britain.
“Just imagine where this country could be in 10 years’ time – trade deals across the world, creating jobs across the UK, 40 new hospitals, great schools in every community, and the biggest transformation of our infrastructure since the Victorian Age.”
He continued: “And I do not think it vainglorious or implausible to say that a new golden age for this United Kingdom is now within reach and in spite of the scoffing, in spite of the negativity, in spite of the scepticism that you will hear from the other side, we will work flat out to deliver it.”
The prime minister’s legislative agenda, put forward by the Queen, touched on everything from fisheries, agriculture and trade to extradition and pensions at Parliament’s State Opening.
The speech also highlighted the importance of the Union, with the Queen telling peers and MPs gathered in the House of Lords that “the integrity and prosperity of the the United Kingdom is of the utmost importance to my Government”.
Of the 25 Bills detailed in Mr Johnson’s second Queen’s Speech in less than three months, seven are devoted to Britain’s departure from the EU.
Other key elements of the speech, most of which remains unchanged from October, were plans for a points-based, skills-based immigration system to be introduced from 2021 and proposals to reduce the ability of train workers to take strike action.
The Government will also set up a “Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission” to look at the broader aspects of the constitution in order to “restore trust in institutions and in how British democracy operates”.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the proposals would help “forge a bright future for Scotland and the rest of the UK”, while the SNP said the proposals would “take a wrecking ball” to Scotland.
Ian Blackford said: “The Tory Government’s legislative programme would spell disaster for Scotland – taking a wrecking ball to our economic and social foundations.
“Rather than addressing key challenges facing the country by ending a decade of austerity, safeguarding our valuable NHS from the dangers of a post-Brexit trade deal and recognising the democratic right of Scotland’s right to choose a better future, the Tories have instead set out an agenda that serves the party’s narrow interests, not the interests of the country.”