British Prime Minister Boris Johnson after emerging victorious invited voters of all stripes to “let the healing begin” from a divisive election campaign and assured Britons that he knew the NHS was their biggest priority.
Speaking outside No. 10 Downing Street on Friday afternoon, Johnson hailed the election results as a “moment of national resolution.” He thanked voters “whose pencils may have wavered over the ballot” and said he would work “round the clock” to deliver on his promises.
The speech was surprisingly low on Brexit talk, a noticeable shift for Johnson who has spent weeks hammering home his election mantra of “get Brexit done.”
Johnson said he had witnessed over five weeks of electioneering that the “overwhelming priority of the British people now, is that we should focus above all on the NHS.”
Indeed, many would likely have expected that sentence to end with the word ‘Brexit’ — but the PM’s focus on the NHS was a nod to recent scandals, including one sparked by a photograph of a four-year-old boy forced to sleep on a Leeds hospital floor in a pile of coats while waiting for a bed.
Outrage was also sparked after the Labour Party unearthed secret government documents which allegedly show that Johnson was willing to put the National Health Service “up for sale” in a trade deal with the US.
The exuberant PM promised 50,000 more nurses and 40 new hospitals, as well as “better schools,”“safer streets,” and “better infrastructure and technology.”
In his short speech, Johnson also addressed those who did not vote for the Conservative Party and who still want Britain to remain part of the EU. He said his government “will never ignore your good and positive feelings of warmth and sympathy towards the other nations of Europe.”
Those feelings, he added, will find “renewed expression” in the coming years as the UK builds a new partnership with Europe.