‘This Par­lia­ment is one of the best’

Manchester Evening News - - NATIONAL -

BORIS John­son has in­sisted vot­ers have re­turned “one of the best Par­lia­ments this coun­try has ever pro­duced”, as he re­buffed calls for Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence and ap­pealed for unity.

The Prime Min­is­ter marked the re­turn of MPs to the Commons by hail­ing the new Par­lia­ment as a “vast im­prove­ment” on its pre­de­ces­sor.

He said this was due to its di­ver­sity and also be­cause it was “not go­ing to waste the time of the na­tion” over Brexit, with the With­drawal Agree­ment Bill ex­pected to be brought back on Fri­day.

Mr John­son was loudly cheered by Tory MPs be­fore fall­ing silent as he paid trib­ute to those who died in last month’s London Bridge ter­ror at­tack.

He told the Commons: “I’m sure the whole House will join me in send­ing our con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of Jack Mer­ritt and Saskia Jones, mur­dered in the ter­ror­ist at­tack near London Bridge dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign.

“And we pay trib­ute once again to the emer­gency ser­vices and the mem­bers of the pub­lic for the brav­ery they showed.”

Mr John­son then con­grat­u­lated Sir Lind­say Hoyle on his re-elec­tion as Speaker, be­fore say­ing: “Mr Speaker, I don’t know what you think, but I mean ab­so­lutely no dis­re­spect to those who are no longer with us, but I think that this Par­lia­ment is a vast im­prove­ment on its pre­de­ces­sor.

“Mr Speaker, I would say it is one of the best Par­lia­ments that this coun­try has ever pro­duced, with more fe­male mem­bers than ever be­fore, more black and mi­nor­ity eth­nic mem­bers than ever be­fore, and it is also Mr Speaker, and in­car­nated in your per­son Mr Speaker, it is a vastly more demo­cratic Par­lia­ment.

“Be­cause this Par­lia­ment is not go­ing to waste the time of the na­tion in dead­lock and di­vi­sion and de­lay, on Fri­day of this week this Par­lia­ment is go­ing to put the With­drawal Agree­ment in the popty ping as we say in Wales, and then this new demo­cratic Par­lia­ment, this peo­ple’s Par­lia­ment is go­ing to do some­thing, Mr Speaker.

“I won­der if you can guess what it is that this Par­lia­ment is go­ing to do when we put the With­drawal Agree­ment back. We’re go­ing to get Brexit done.”

Af­ter his call for the Speaker to re­peat his Brexit slo­gan, Mr John­son joked: “Even your par­rot, Mr Speaker, would have been able to cite that one by now.”

The PM re­peated cam­paign pledges on the NHS, ed­u­ca­tion and po­lice be­fore telling the House: “It’s my be­lief most honourable mem­bers in this House be­lieve we should re­sist the calls of those who would break up the United King­dom.

“And as the Par­lia­ment of the United King­dom, we should po­litely and re­spect­fully de­fend that part­ner­ship and that union. I can tell the House that af­ter three­and-a-half years of wran­gling and di­vi­sion, we will do what­ever we can to reach out across the House to find com­mon ground.”

Boris John­son holds his first Cab­i­net meet­ing fol­low­ing the Gen­eral Elec­tion

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