rime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK faces a “hard struggle” in the coming months but the country will bounce back from coronavirus in 2021.
In his new year message, the PM reflected on the past 12 months during which “we lost too many loved ones before their time” because of the pandemic.
But he said a “spirit of togetherness” was rediscovered in 2020, in which people “pulled the stops out to keep the country moving in the biggest crisis we have faced for generations”.
Mr Johnson praised scientists who produced the world’s first effective treatment for coronavirus, as well as those who worked on the Oxford vaccine.
He said: “We know that we have a hard struggle still ahead of us for weeks and months, because we face a new variant of the disease that requires a new vigilance.
“But as the sun rises tomorrow on 2021 we have the certainty of those vaccines.”
Referencing the end of the Brexit transition period, the Prime Minister said the UK would be “free to do things differently, and if necessary better, than our friends in the EU” in 2021.
He said the UK will “work with partners around the world, not just to tackle climate change but to create the millions of high-skilled jobs this country will need not just this year – 2021 – as we bounce back from Covid, but in the years to come.
“This is an amazing moment for this country. We have our freedom in our hands and it is up to us to make the most of it.
“And I think it will be the overwhelming instinct of the people of this country to come together as one United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland working together to express our values around the world.”
The Prime Minister’s father, who voted Remain in Britain’s 2016 referendum, told RTL radio on Thursday he wanted to become a French citizen because of strong family links to France.
“If I understand it correctly, I am French. My mother was born in France, her mother was totally French as was her grandfather. So for me it is about reclaiming what I already have. And that makes me very happy,” said 80-year-old Mr Johnson, who was speaking in French.
“I will always be a European, that’s for sure. One cannot tell the British people: you are not Europeans. Having a tie with the European Union is important,” said the former member of the European Parliament.