Prime Minister Boris Johnson started a whistle-stop tour of Britain in Scotland on Monday as part of a drive to promote the four regions of Britain he has referred to as the “awesome foursome”.
Johnson launched a new package of Growth Deal funding worth 300 million pounds ($367 million) as he kicked off his tour of Britain with a visit to the Royal Navy’s base at Faslane on the Cylde, home of Britain’s nuclear deterrent submarines, the Xinhua news agency reported.
He told journalists there that he plans for Britain to leave the European Union on October 31, saying the Irish border backstop issue is now dead, and calling for a new deal with Brussels.
Although Johnson insists Britain will leave the EU without a deal on that date if necessary, he said he hoped “common sense will prevail” and a new deal worked out between London and Brussels.
Ahead of his visit to Glasgow, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a strong message Monday to Johnson.
Sturgeon said: “The people of Scotland did not vote for this Conservative Government, they didn’t vote for this new prime minister, they didn’t vote for Brexit and they certainly didn’t vote for a catastrophic no-deal Brexit which Boris Johnson is now planning for.”
Johnson and Sturgeon were scheduled to have face-to-face talks later Monday.
Johnson is also planning a trip to Wales to meet members of the local farming community, while in Northern Ireland he will discuss the ongoing talks with political parties in a bid to restore the devolved government which hasn’t sat for over two years.
In his first speeches as Britain’s new prime minister Johnson has spoken of his determination to ensure no corner of the United Kingdom is left behind.
Johnson said Monday: “Our Union is the most successful political and economic union in history. We are a global brand and together we are safer, stronger and more prosperous. So as we prepare for our bright future after Brexit, it’s vital we renew the ties that bind the UK.
“I’m proud to be in Scotland to make clear that I am a passionate believer in our great Union, and I look forward to visiting Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that every decision I make as Prime Minister promotes and strengthens our Union.”
Johnson said he is also committed to working closely with the devolved administrations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast to roll the Growth Deals out to every region of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Johnson added: “As I said when I stood on the steps of Downing Street last week, it is time that we unleashed the productive power not just of London and the South East but of every corner of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Important projects like government’s Growth Deals will open up opportunities across our Union so people in every corner of the United Kingdom can realise their potential.”