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  1. ITV Report

Boris Johnson tells the Commons his deal will return on Friday so he can 'get Brexit done'

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks

Boris Johnson has addressed the Commons for the first time since his resounding General Election win, telling the House his Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) will return on Friday.

He told MPs the new Parliament would not "waste the time of the nation in deadlock and division and delay" as he and MPs, in unison, repeated his favourite slogan: "We're going to get Brexit done."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as he spoke following Mr Johnson, congratulating the PM on winning the election and being returned to office.

Earlier on Tuesday Mr Johnson held Cabinet for the first time since winning the general election, telling members they must "work flat out" to repay voters for lending their votes to the Tories for Brexit.

It comes after a plan was revealed to legislate to block MPs from extending the Brexit transition period beyond the end of 2020.

Ministers are understood to have re-worked the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) – due to come before the Commons this week – to “legally prohibit” any further extension.

Michael Gove, the Cabinet minister in charge of no deal preparations, told ITV News the plan to block an extension was made to show the public they are committed to taking the UK swiftly out of the EU.

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European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Mr Johnson agreed to work together with "great energy" to agree a future partnership by the end of next year.

Following a telephone call on Tuesday morning, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The president congratulated the Prime Minister on his success in the election and they agreed to work together with great energy to agree a future partnership by December 2020."

The prime minister told his Cabinet they should have "absolutely no embarrassment" about committing to "deliver on the priorities of the British people".

He added: "That's what they want us to do and we must recognise that people lent us their votes at this election.

"It was quite a seismic election but we need to repay their trust and work 24 hours a day, work flat out, to deliver on this."

Boris Johnson has addressed his new Cabinet for the first time since he won the general election. Credit: PA

Under current plans, the Government intends to end Britain’s EU membership on January 31, with an implementation to run to the end of 2020 while it negotiates a free trade agreement with Brussels.

However, at present, this post-Brexit transition period can be extended by mutual agreement for up to two years if more time is needed to reach an agreement.

The Prime Minister repeatedly promised during the election campaign that he would not seek any extension to the transition period.

Mr Gove told ITV News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt the plan to block further extensions proves to voters they have "a government that will commit" to taking the UK out of the EU

"It's really important, I think, that after three and a half years, when people have felt frustrated that their wishes on Brexit had not been honoured, when that mandate has not been respected, that they have a government that will commit to making sure that the promises in its manifesto on Brexit timing are kept."

After Mr Johnson was returned to power with an unexpectedly large majority, there was speculation he could use his strengthened position to seek an extension if more time was needed to get a trade deal.

The latest move would appear to have put paid to that.

The WAB is due to be brought before the Commons on Friday – and could receive its first reading and be voted on at second reading in one day, if the Speaker agrees.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “We plan to start the process before Christmas and will do so in the proper constitutional way in discussion with the Speaker.”

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The PM also used the Cabinet meeting to welcome two new members, the Welsh Secretary Simon Hart and returning Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan, who was made a life peer in order to keep the role after resigning as an MP.

Mr Johnson has been accused of cronyism for making Ms Morgan a life peer, with some claiming the prime minister was showing “two fingers to democracy”.

Number 10 said the former MP for Loughborough would be made a life peer and would answer questions in the House of Lords.

There were signs that her appointment may only be temporary pending a full-scale Cabinet reshuffle expected in February.

But it still drew a furious response from opposition MPs, with former shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant saying it “stinks”.

Wrapping up the filmed section of the meeting, Mr Johnson began a call and response with his Cabinet, reciting the main Tory manifesto pledges.

"How many new hospitals are we going to build?"

"40," the ministers replied.

Mr Johnson said: "Correct. How many more nurses are we going to hire?"

"50,000," said the ministers.

"You know the answers," Mr Johnson replied. "How many more police?"

"20,000," the Cabinet said in unison.

Mr Johnson continued: "There is a huge huge agenda, a huge huge agenda, of delivering social justice, of addressing every problem from social care to homelessness to levelling up and uniting across our country with better infrastructure, better education and technology.

"That's what we want to do, we're Conservatives, we believe in extending opportunity across the whole of the United Kingdom and that's what we're going to devote ourselves to."

After Cabinet, Mr Johnson will face Jeremy Corbyn in the Commons, where the pair will do battle at the despatch box for the first time since the Tories won the election.