Boris Johnson has vowed to improve the lives of millions of “left-wing” Britons today as he maps his vision to flattening.
The bullish PM insisted his government had the “daring” to drive through radical changes unlike his “dithering” predecessors David Cameron and Theresa May.
Concluding the Tory party convention in Manchester, he said: “There is no reason why residents of one part of the country should be geographically destined to be poorer than others.
“Or why people should feel that they have to move away from their loved ones, or communities, to reach their potential.
“Leveling works for the whole country – and it’s the right and responsible policy.”
In key events:
- Boris deploys his secret weapon, Carrie, which he kisses in the hall
- He vowed to keep his promise to fix the social care crisis
- He branded Michael Gove “Jon Bon Gove” for his disco dancing.
- He blasted Insulate Britain and was pleased that Priti Patel was “insulating them from the comfort of prison where they are”.
- PM said people will have to go back to office after the pandemic
- He burned his conservationist credentials and joked that he was “building back beavers”.
With Brexit done and the pandemic easing, Mr Johnson is under pressure to lay out his loosely defined key agenda to flatten the north.
Instead of putting meat on the bones with major policy announcements, the PM used his address to rally Tory soldiers for their mission.
He said: “The idea in a nutshell is that you will find talent, brilliance, care, imagination and enthusiasm everywhere in this country, all of which are equally distributed but opportunity is not.”
Secret Weapon Carrie – a favorite among grassroots activists – smiled at her husband’s speech.
But some cabinet ministers sitting in the front row were beating their heads by partying and playing karaoke at night.
Mr Johnson vowed to use his remaining time to catch the nettle at No 10 and took a jibe at his predecessors for wasting time.
Mr Johnson said: “After decades of drift, this reforming government, this government that did Brexit, is getting the vaccine roll-out and going to take social care.
“We are dealing with the biggest underlying issues of our economy and society. Problems no government had the guts to tackle before.”
Today’s speech comes after the Prime Minister spent the second half of the conference hitting back at his critics.
He rejected arguments to maintain the £20 universal credit rise – saying taxpayers need not eyeball the £6 billion per year bill to keep it going.
Difficulty? What’s the crisis?
As millions watch their benefits cut from today, the PM insisted: “What we will not do is take more money in tax to subsidize lower wages through the welfare system.”
Mr Johnson defended the £20-a-week cut as part of his plan to “do hard, long-term things”.
“This country is at a critical juncture and we cannot move forward,” he vowed.
And he urged bosses to pay workers more, making the case for a “high-wage, high-skill” economy that could be “much, much better.”
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab reiterated the claim that Britain had become “intoxicated by cheap labor” under EU freedom of movement rules.
And Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the Tories “will always be the party to free things, not shut things down” as he promised a radical shake-up of the NHS to take hold after the pandemic.
He told the conference yesterday: “2022 will be a year of renewal and reform. In times like these, business as usual may not be good. “
This came as petrol and diesel prices hit an eight-year high yesterday.
Grilling on whether the nation was in crisis, Mr Johnson said: “No, I think, on the contrary, what you are seeing with the UK economy and indeed the global economy at large There’s — in supply chains — the tension and stress you’d expect from a giant wake, and that’s what’s happening.”