Boris Johnson Promises Brexit, a Budget, and New Laws in 100 Days

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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to deliver Brexit and a tax-cutting budget within 100 days of his Conservative Party winning the Dec. 12 election -- a widely predicted outcome that’s driving a rally in the pound.

Other early goals include a defense review, more funding for schools, and the introduction to Parliament of legislation on immigration. The Tories sought to contrast their agenda for government with the “gridlock and uncertainty” that would result from a hung Parliament -- which the party described in a statement as “a very real possibility.”

“In just seven days time the British people will have to choose between a working majority government or yet another gridlocked hung Parliament,” Johnson said in a statement. “If there is a Conservative majority next week, we will get Brexit done by the end of January. 2020 will then be the year we finally put behind us the arguments and uncertainty over Brexit. We will get Parliament working.”

Read more: What Parties Are Promising in the U.K. General Election

With a week to go until the vote, the Tories’ lead in the polls has been narrowing, though the ruling party still looks on course to win a majority. The pound rose for a fifth day on Thursday, headed for it longest winning streak since June, as traders continued to bet on a Conservative win in the election. It gained 0.3% to $1.3146.

A Johnson victory would make Brexit at the end of January a near certainty, triggering the next -- and more complicated phase of negotiations to hammer out a new trading relationship with the European Union -- something the premier has said he can do by the end of 2020.

‘Years to Come’

Labour issued a statement pointing back to nearly 3,500 “days of failure” under the Tories, saying more of the same won’t work. The Liberal Democrats called Johnson’s promises “pure fantasy,” saying a Tory government would remain consumed by Brexit “for years to come.”

Under Johnson’s plans, a Queen’s Speech outlining legislative priorities would be held on Dec. 19, and Brexit would be delivered on Jan. 31. A budget would follow in February.

“This is pure fantasy: a Tory government would remain completely consumed by Brexit not just for the next 100 days, but for years to come,” the Liberal Democrats’ finance spokesman, Ed Davey, said in a statement. “We must prevent Johnson getting a blank check to crash Britain out of the EU by the end of 2020.”

‘Work Across Parties’

Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson earlier gave a BBC interview in which she conceded she wasn’t likely to emerge from next week’s vote as prime minister, having started the campaign saying it was possible. “That’s not the most likely scenario,“ she said. While she repeated her position that she wouldn’t help Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn come to power, she suggested she could countenance her party supporting either the Tories or Labour under a different leader, with the goal of stopping Brexit in a second referendum.

“If Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn don’t win a majority at this election, then there’s no guarantee that they’re still going to be the ones that are leading their parties a week afterwards,” she said when asked if she’d be prepared to support Corbyn -- or abstain -- in key votes in order to secure a plebiscite. “Liberal Democrats will work to stop Brexit, we will support legislation that puts in place a people’s vote, and we will work across parties.”

Scottish National Party Leader Nicola Sturgeon, meanwhile, categorically ruled out entering into any coalition government, telling ITV’s “Peston” show that her party would work to “lock Boris Johnson out of Downing Street.“

“We would look to have some sort of progressive alliance with other parties to do that if the Parliamentary arithmetic allows it,” Sturgeon said. “The SNP will not go into a formal coalition.”

(Updates with pound rally in first paragraph.)

--With assistance from Charlotte Ryan.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Robert Jameson, Stuart Biggs, Thomas Penny

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