‘This Parliament is one of the best’
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