Leadership race: What has Boris Johnson promised?

Boris Johnson is the next Prime Minister

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

After weeks of campaigning, the next Conservative leader is Boris Johnson.

He pledged to make Britain “the greatest place on Earth” during his campaign to become the next Prime Minister, but what else has he pledged?

 

On Brexit

Mr Johnson has maintained that Britain will leave the European Union on October 31, “do or die, come what may”.

He has not ruled out suspending Parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit, a move considered highly controversial by many MPs.

“I am not necessarily convinced that Parliament can sort out the problem that Parliament has helped to create,” he explained.

Among his strategies for delivering Brexit is attempting to negotiate another withdrawal agreement with Brussels and holding onto the so-called "divorce bill" money requested by the EU while a trade agreement is resolved.

He says a no-deal Brexit is an "essential tool" in negotiations with the EU.

Mr Johnson has spoken strongly against a backstop on the Northern Irish border, and would not allow for any “time limits or unilateral escape hatches” in his Brexit deal.

 

On his Cabinet

Mr Johnson said it would be “impertinent” to comment on his cabinet before he is sworn in.

However, he has promised that a woman will be chosen for a top four job.

"Top four job? I think I'm going to say... yes," he said.

 

On foreign policy

Mr Johnson’s relationship with Donald Trump would likely be a defining element of his first few months in power.

He criticised the US leader for a series of “totally unacceptable” tweets directed towards four US congresswomen, but stopped short of calling Mr Trump "racist".

The former Foreign Secretary has ruled out backing the United States in any war against Iran, as tensions between the countries become increasingly heightened.

“If you say that going to war with Iran now represents a sensible option for us in the west, I just don't believe it is,” Mr Johnson said.

 

On domestic policy

Mr Johnson told talkRADIO the first thing he will do as Prime Minister is increase “spending on education around the country and lifting up the per capita spend”.

“Number two, we want to have a big programme of transport infrastructure."

He has also pledged to boost police numbers by 20,000 in three years; however only a day after making that promise he admitted it would be a “stretch” to meet that target.

Mr Johnson faced criticism within the Conservative Party early in his campaign for pledging to raise the 40 per cent tax threshold from £50,000 to £80,000.

He also said he would offer “preferential” tax treatment to companies that look after their staff, particularly on mental health issues.

“Yes, of course all tax breaks cost money. But any loss in revenue would be more than made up by the gains in productivity and the savings in NHS spending,” he said.

Mr Johnson promised to halt hikes on so-called “sin taxes”, which include levies on tobacco, alcohol and sugar.

“Rather than just taxing people more, we should look at how effective the so-called 'sin taxes' really are, and if they actually change behaviour,” he said.

He has supported an increase in stop-and-search police patrols to crack down on knife crime in London.

 

On his personal life

Mr Johnson has refused to say whether he would live with his partner Carrie Symonds in Downing Street.

“I've had a pretty ruthless rule on not commenting on that side of things and I don't intend, if I may, to break it after 30 years,” he said.

“I don't want to get into any kind of presumptuous theorising about living in Downing Street at all.”

His personal life made headlines in June when police were called to Ms Symonds’ home in the early hours of the morning.

Neighbours had heard shouting, however police said there was “no cause for police action”.