Ahead of a whistle-stop tour to kick off his campaign for the snap poll on December 12, he highlighted his plans for improving public services after finally breaking the deadlock in Parliament. Mr Johnson will visit a hospital, a school and a police unit during a trip to East Anglia and the South-east on what should have been the UK’s final day in the EU. Stepping up his election offensive, he blamed Labour leader Jeremy Cobyn for wrecking the scheduled departure.
He said: “Today should have been the day that Brexit was delivered and we finally left the EU.
“But, despite the great new deal I agreed with the EU, Jeremy Corbyn refused to allow that to happen – insisting upon more dither, more delay and more uncertainty for families and business.”
Mr Johnson added: “We cannot continue along this path. I didn’t want an election – like the country I wanted to get Brexit done, but it is the only way forward.”
Mr Johnson, who will mark his 100th day in charge in Downing Street today, went on: “I want next year to be a great year for our country – with more investment in frontline NHS services, the recruitment of thousands more police officers to reduce violent crime and investment in every one of our primary and secondary schools.
“The alternative is for the people of this country to spend the next year, which should be a glorious year, going through the toxic, tedious torpor of two more referendums – on EU membership and Scottish independence – thanks to Jeremy Corbyn’s incessant indecision. Now is the time to break the deadlock so we can move on.
“The Conservatives will campaign for a Parliament that gets Brexit done and delivers on the people’s priorities, including the NHS, education and crime.”
At Labour’s election campaign launch in London today, Mr Corbyn will claim the country is living under a “corrupt system” favouring the wealthy elite. In a class-war tirade, the Labour leader will accuse the Prime Minister of siding with billionaires including “dodgy landlords, bad bosses and big polluters”.
Mr Corbyn is expected to say: “Boris Johnson’s born-to-rule Conservatives protect the privileged few. They’ve slashed taxes for the richest and vital services and support for everyone else. But real change is coming. We will end the Conservatives’ great rip-off by putting rail, mail and water into public ownership so they work for everyone, not just Tory donors and shareholders in tax havens.”
He added: “This election is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country, take on the vested interests holding people back and ensure that no community is left behind.”
Mr Johnson and the Labour leader opened election hostilities yesterday at the final Prime Minister’s Questions clash before Parliament breaks up next week for the campaign to begin.
In a foretaste of the key battlegrounds, Mr Corbyn claimed the Tories would “sell out” the NHS to American healthcare companies under a trade deal with US President Donald Trump.
The Prime Minister said a Labour government would cause an “economic catastrophe” that would rob public services of cash.
In their row over NHS funding, the two leaders clashed over the Government’s success in securing a funding deal to supply the life-extending drug Orkambi to cystic fibrosis sufferers. NHS chiefs negotiated a deal with US pharmaceutical giant Vertex to cut the price of the drug after a campaign led by the Daily Express. Mr Corbyn thanked those who campaigned for it. He added: “The shame is that we are not told what the deal is.”
Mr Johnson said of Mr Corbyn: “He may not be aware of it, but Vertex comes from America.
“Is he seriously suggesting the NHS should not engage in negotiations to ensure British patients get the drugs they deserve?”
Rival party chiefs also began squabbling over the issue of live TV debates between the party leaders.
A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said the Labour leader was “committed to a head-to-head debate”.