London: Outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday bade farewell in an address outside 10, Downing Street, just before his successor Liz Truss takes office.
He began his televised addressed to the nation by saying “this is it folks”, reports the BBC.
Johnson said that in a couple of hours he will be in Balmoral to see the Queen and the torch will be passed to a new leader, in what he says was a relay race where they “changed the rules half way through”.
The outgoing leader added that the Conservative Party leadership contest was an unexpected relay race and the rules were changed halfway through, “but never mind that for now”.
Touting his successes, he said that it was his government that got Brexit done, delivered the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, and delivered a rapid vaccine roll-out.
Johnson added the supply of weapons to Ukraine could very well have changed the course of the war.
He went on to say that despite the “naysayers”, the new government led by Truss, who was his Foreign Secretary, will get through people through the energy crisis.
Taking an aim at Russian President Vladimir Putin, the outgoing leader said that “he can’t blackmail or bully the British people over the energy crisis”, reports the BBC.
Putin is “utterly deluded” to think he can, Johnson says, adding that the “compassionate” Conservative government led by Truss will get people through the crisis.
He also mentioned his other successes, including making streets safer, more police on the streets, the building of hospitals and recruiting thousands more nurses.
He added there was a record funding for education and three new high speed railways.
On the subject of “bouncing around in future careers”, Johnson likened himself to “one of those booster rockets” that “has fulfilled its function”.
“I’d be gently re-entering the atmosphere and splashing down invisibly in some remote and obscure corner of the Pacific,” the BBC quoted him as saying.
In conclusion, he said: “We are one whole and entire United Kingdom… (The) union is so strong that those that want to break it up will keep trying, but they will never, ever succeed.”
He also thanked “everyone who looked after him and his family over the last three years” and also gave a special mention to his dog Dilyn and Larry, the Downing Street cat.
On Monday, Truss was named as the new Conservative leader and she will take over as the Prime Minister on Tuesday.
As Truss takes office, she faces one of the toughest in-trays in decades, with inflation fears mounting as gas prices soar again and the pound slides further.