BLUEPRINT FOR BORIS’S BRITAIN
PM will put border control, NHS and investment in the North at heart of bid to govern for another decade
BORIS Johnson will put control of Britain’s borders at the centre of a Government shakeup designed to ensure years more of Conservative rule.
The Prime Minister will also promise to improve the NHS and reward voters who switched to the Tories in the North by pumping cash into neglected areas.
It comes as he welcomes 109 new Tory MPs to Westminster today with a message that addressing voters’ concerns now could see the Tories win a record fifth term in 2024 – and rule throughout the 2020s.
He will carry out a minor reshuffle today to fill gaps left by the departures of former culture secretary Nicky Morgan and former Welsh secretary Alun Cairns.
But he is already planning a more radical shake-up in February, which could see up to a third of existing ministers culled and a major overhaul of the Whitehall machine.
Tory sources said last night the PM is considering splitting up the Home Office to create a new Department for Borders and Immigration to deliver on his pledge to cut the number of low-skilled migrants coming here.
The new department will focus on putting in place an Australian- style points- based
immigration system and toughening up the UK’s borders – leaving the Home Office to focus on the fight against crime.
Mr Johnson will also use a £100billion infrastructure fund to reward voters in the Midlands and North who voted Conservative for the first time. His strategy of ‘Boosterism’ will involve pumping cash into neglected regions.
In a message to supporters yesterday, he said: ‘Let’s unite this country, let’s spread opportunity to every corner of the UK, with superb education, superb infrastructure and technology. Let’s get this done and move forward.’
On Thursday, he will unveil his Queen’s Speech which will legislate to deliver an extra £34billion funding for the NHS.
His programme will also include a framework for the immigration system, together with new laws to increase the amount that migrants pay to use the NHS.
Other measures will include longer sentences for terrorists and serious criminals, laws to limit the impact of strikes in the public sector and measures to end no-fault evictions for renters.
Commuters using Northern Rail and South West Trains have been
‘People putting their faith in us’
hit by damaging strikes this year. A new Minimum Service Agreement Bill would force unions to guarantee a certain level of services – probably 50 per cent – to reduce the impact on commuters.
A No 10 source said: ‘The seismic events on Thursday returned Conservative MPs in Bolsover, in Blyth and in Bishop Auckland to name but a few. This election and the new generation of MPs that have resulted from Labour towns turning blue will help change our politics for the better.
‘The PM has been very clear that we have a responsibility to deliver a better future for our country and that we must repay the public’s trust by getting Brexit done.’
The fast start to Mr Johnson’s new administration came as:
Treasury Chief Secretary Rishi Sunak confirmed Britain would now leave the EU ‘within weeks’, with Michael Gove ruling out any extension to the Brexit transition;
Ministers confirmed that the Government will press ahead with plans to decriminalise failing to pay the BBC licence fee;
Labour descended into bitter infighting, with ex-minister Caroline Flint claiming Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry told a northern MP: ‘I’m glad my constituents aren’t as stupid as yours’;
Nicola Sturgeon warned Scotland ‘cannot be imprisoned in the UK’, as Mr Gove confirmed the Government would not sanction a second independence referendum;
Mr Johnson was considering handing a peerage to environment minister Zac Goldsmith to enable him to keep his job, days after he lost his London seat;
The PM was drawing up plans to appoint a new Climate Change Secretary next year to deliver on his pledge to make Britain ‘the greenest country on Earth’;
Government sources said a report on Russian interference in British politics would be published next month, and;
Jeremy Corbyn’s allies threw their weight behind business spokesman Rebecca Long-Bailey to succeed him, as he claimed that Labour had ‘won the argument’ in the election.
Newly- elected Tory MPs were last night heading to Westminster for the first day of a Government which Conservative strategists hope could last ten years.
Mr Sunak told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that the Government’s focus was on delivering Brexit and then ‘levelling up across the United Kingdom, making sure that opportunity is spread’.
Mr Gove told Sky News: ‘We need to make sure that economic opportunity is more equally spread across the whole country and we need to invest in the infrastructure and also the improvement for skills and education necessary in order to make sure that opportunity is more equal.’ New Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison, Stockton South MP Matt Vickers, Darlington MP Peter Gibson, Sedgefield MP Paul Howell and Redcar MP Jacob Young dubbed themselves ‘the Blue Wall’ as they caught the train down to London together from the North East.
Just days after Mr Johnson’s historic landslide, Tory strategists already have their eye on the next election. A senior source said: ‘The first six to 12 months are key. People have got real expectations of change and we have got to show we are delivering it.
‘People need to feel this first term has worked for them, they need to be able to point to things locally that have changed, they need to feel that their lives have got better – otherwise they will not vote for us again. A lot of people are putting their faith in us for the first time
and we sure as hell have to make sure we don’t let them down.’
MPs will be sworn in over the next two days ahead of the Queen’s Speech which will be dominated by meeting Mr Johnson’s election pledges.
The new programme will also include amendments to the Human Rights Act to prevent ‘vexatious claims’ against British troops, and a new Sentencing Bill to introduce a mandatory minimum 14-year term for adults convicted of serious terrorist offences.
All eyes today are on who Mr Johnson appoints as culture secretary, with a remit to shake up the BBC. Former culture secretary John Whittingdale is under consideration, but Mr Johnson is also under pressure to bring new blood into his top team. Mr Sunak has also been tipped as a possible candidate, as has defence minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan.