LONDON-Boris Johnson will host the president of the European commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen, in Downing Street this week as he prepares to take Britain out of the EU at the end of this month, kicking off a race against time to secure a free trade deal. The prime minister will use the comfortable majority he won at last month’s general election to press his Brexit bill through the House of Commons in three days when MPs return to Westminster on Tuesday.

He is expected to use his meeting with Von Der Leyen to underscore the government’s determination not to extend the transition period, which will mean the UK remains subject to many EU rules and structures until the end of December. Von Der Leyen will be joined by Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator for the meeting.

Johnson’s promise to “get Brexit done” was the centrepiece of his general election campaign, and his senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, has made clear that the government intends to use it as an opportunity for a radical shakeup of the state.

Cummings wrote in a blog last week that he hopes to recruit a crack team of “weirdos and misfits” to No 10. He said Brexit would require “large changes in policy and in the structure of decision-making” and the fact that the government had a comfortable majority meant there was “little need to worry about short-term unpopularity while trying to make rapid progress with long-term problems”.

A commission spokesman said: “This meeting is taking place at a very specific moment in the phase in which the withdrawal agreement is being ratified in the UK, it’s not taking place at a point of time when the trade negotiations have started.