Boris’s speech to conference – key points
- He invoked Margaret Thatcher in defence of his tax and spend plans, saying she ‘would not have ignored this meteorite that has just crashed through the public finances – she would have wagged her finger and said that more borrowing now is just higher interest rates and even higher taxes later.’
- He hit out at ‘decades of drift and dither’ from previous governments – Labour and Conservative – lacking the ‘guts’ for major change
- Said he is ’embarking on a change of direction that is long overdue in the UK economy’.
- Said it is time to invest in the UK rather than rely on cheap foreign labour
- Said he wanted ‘a high wage, high skill, high productivity economy that is a low tax economy’
- Bemoaned regional and local inequalities, saying it was ‘an appalling waste of potential that is holding this country back’
- Admitted change ‘will take time. Sometimes it will be difficult’
- Accused Labour of being fond of ‘levelling down’
- Hit out at working from home, saying ‘we can and must see people back in the office’
- Said a ‘tide of anxiety’ is washing into A&E departments and GP practices, as he defended his multi-billion pound tax hike to pay for NHS and social care
- Brands Insulate Britain road protesters a ‘confounded nuisance’ and says Home Secretary Priti Patel will ‘insulate them snugly in prison where they belong’
- Praised the NHS treatment he received when he had Covid last year, thanking ‘the wonderful nurses (who) pulled my chestnuts out of that Tartarian pit’
- Criticised ‘lying, bullying, cowardly’ men as he addressed violence against women and girls.
Boris Johnson defied rising panic over inflation and supply chain chaos today as he vowed to push on with tax rises and ‘Levelling Up’ wages.
In a rambling keynote speech to the Tory faithful that was littered with jokes but short on detail, the PM admitted there are ‘difficulties’ to come.
However, he insisted there will be no more ‘drift and dither’ about fundamental reform of the country – arguing that was what people voted for in the 2016 referendum.
Swiping at predecessors David Cameron and Theresa May, he said he has the ‘guts’ to push ahead with big changes.
Dismissing criticism over huge tax hikes to bail out the NHS and social care, Mr Johnson said his predecessor Lady Thatcher would not have kept borrowing after the ‘meteorite’ of the pandemic left national debt over £2trillion.
He also summoned the spirit of Churchill and US Open tennis champion Emma Raducanu as he spelt out his determination for Britain to be a ‘trailblazer’.
But the address came amid an increasingly grim economic backdrop, with warnings today that more energy suppliers face going bust as natural gas costs spiked by another 40 per cent.
The UK’s government’s borrowing costs rose to the highest level since May 2019 today, as markets took fright at the prospect of inflation going even higher.
In further worrying signs, the latest PMI figures suggested the economy recovery stalled last month – with the construction sector barely growing at all.
Meanwhile, the CBI warned that the premier’s determination to drive up wages would put the country on a ‘pathway to higher prices’ unless he has comes up with a way to boost productivity.
In the only crumb of policy today, Mr Johnson announced a £3,000 ‘Levelling Up’ premium for talented maths physics chemistry teachers to go and work in deprived areas.
He did try to soothe anxiety in Tory ranks by saying he wanted there to be ‘low tax’ in the longer term, as well as promising not to ‘jam’ homes in the South East and to fight ‘woke’ historical revisionism.
But the PM is facing growing unrest over his blunt denial that the country is in ‘crisis’ with petrol stations running dry, spiking inflation and labour shortages.
Amid warnings that millions of families with struggle to make ends meet this Christmas, he has argued it is ‘not his job’ to ‘fix’ all the problems for industry.
Mr Johnson told party members his changes to the economy after Brexit will at times be ‘difficult’ but insisted they will result in a fairer ‘low tax’ system.
He said: ‘That’s the direction in which the country is going now – towards a high-wage, high-skilled, high-productivity and, yes, thereby a low-tax economy. That is what the people of this country need and deserve.
‘Yes, it will take time, and sometimes it will be difficult, but that is the change that people voted for in 2016.’
He added: ‘To deliver that change we will get on with our job of uniting and levelling up across the UK – the greatest project that any government can embark on.’
Boris Johnson today insisted Margaret Thatcher would also force tax hikes on the country to pay for the NHS and social care – as he faced down business fury over supply chain chaos
In his keynote speech, the PM delivered a defiant message that, unlike predecessors David Cameron and Theresa May, he has the ‘guts’ to push ahead with big reforms
Carrie Johnson gave her husband a good luck kiss before he delivered his leader’s keynote speech during the Conservative Party conference at Manchester Central Convention Complex. Mrs Johnson is expecting her second child with the PM
Mrs Johnson was fresh from delivering her own speech on the fringes of the conference, an address to the LBGT+ event on Tuesday evening. It is believed to be the first speech by a prime minister’s wife at a conference
Home Secretary Priti Patel greets Carrie Johnson as she arrives for Boris Johnson’s leader’s keynote speech (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
(L-R) Britain’s Conservative Party charperson Oliver Dowden, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and home Secretary Priti Patel chat as they wait for the keynote speech
The Cabinet was lined up in the front row in Manchester for Mr Johnson’s speech today
Mr Johnson admitted reforming the economy could be ‘difficult’, but hardly referred to supply chain carnage that have been causing empty shelves in some supermarkets (pictured in Ely)
Boris woos maths, physics and chemistry teachers to deprived areas with £3,000 salary ‘premium’
Boris Johnson attempted to woo the country’s top science and maths teachers to some of the most under-achieving areas today.
The Prime Minister used his party conference speech in Manchester to unveil plans for a £3,000 ‘premium’ for educators to take on challenging pupils.
He spoke of the wildly differing life chances in areas of the country that are often close to each other.
He branded it ‘an appalling waste of potential that is holding this country back’.
The Prime Minister explained to Tory delegates his drive to ‘level up’ the country, saying: ‘The idea in a nutshell is you will find talent, genius, care, imagination and enthusiasm everywhere in this country, all of them evenly distributed but opportunity is not.
‘To level up, on top of the extra £14 billion we’re putting into education, on top of the increase that means every teacher starts with a salary of £30,000, we’re announcing today a levelling-up premium of up to £3,000 to send the best maths and science teachers to the places that need them most.’
Mr Johnson opened by telling the party faithful he was pleased to be back ‘cheek by jowl’ and the country had opened up ‘faster than any other major economy in the world’.
He said that was down to the ‘unbeatable’ NHS – and referred to his experience in hospital as his life hung in the balance.
Mr Johnson set out the scale of the challenge the country faces, with warning that NHS waiting lists will ‘go up before they come down’ as the end of the pandemic unleashes ‘a tide of anxiety’ about health concerns.
He said he would govern for ‘the NHS nurses and the entrepreneurs’, making clear that ‘structural change’ is the way forward.
Mr Johnson said a ‘tide of anxiety’ is washing into A&E departments and GP practices, as he defended his multi-billion pound tax hike to pay for NHS and social care.
He recalled lying in a hospital bed last year and seeing a hole in the ground, noting: ‘They seemed to be digging a hole for something or indeed someone, possibly me.
‘But the NHS saved me and our wonderful nurses pulled my chestnuts out of that Tartarian pit, and I went back on a visit the other day and I saw that the hole had been filled in with three or four gleaming storeys of a new paediatrics unit.
‘There you have a metaphor for how we must build back better now. We have a huge hole in the public finances, we spent £407billion on Covid support and our debt now stands at over £2 trillion, and waiting lists will almost certainly go up before they come down.
‘Covid pushed out the great bow wave of cases and people did not or could not seek help, and that wave is now coming back – a tide of anxiety washing into every A&E and every GP.
‘Your hip replacement, your mother’s surgery and this is the priority of the British people.’
Mr Johnson’s speech was littered with jokes, including one about Michael Gove’s dancing in an Aberdeen nightclub.
‘Let’s here it for Jon Bon Govey,’ the Prime Minister told the conference hall.
He continued: ‘How have we managed to open up ahead of so many of our friends?
‘The answer is because of the rollout of that vaccine, a UK phenomenon, the magic potion invented in Oxford University … distributed at incredible speeds to vaccination centres everywhere.
‘We vaccinated so rapidly that we were able to do those crucial groups one to four, the oldest and most vulnerable, faster than any other major economy in the world.
Government borrowing costs soar after gas costs spark inflation alarm
The government faces higher borrowing costs as investors take fright at the spectre of inflation.
The 10-year gilt yield hit its highest level since May 2019 at 1.152 per cent on Wednesday.
The spike came as the day price of British wholesale gas contracts soared again.
Peter Chatwell, head of multi-asset strategy at Mizuho International, said there were mounting concerns that the Bank of England will need to raise interest rates sooner.
‘This all comes down the repricing which is taking place at the very front end of the curve – so the possibility of a hike in just under a month’s time,’ Mr Chatwell said.
‘That’s the difficult thing for the market and that’s why it is linked to very near term developments in energy prices.’
‘Although the disease as sadly not gone away, the impact on death rates has been astonishing.’
He urged those present to ‘get’ a jab and invited them ‘try’ a so-called ‘fist pump’ with their neighbour.
The Tories have been holding their first in-person conference since the 2019 general election, after the pandemic wreaked havoc on normal life.
But the proceedings have been largely dominated by events elsewhere, with petrol stations running dry and worries about labour shortages in crucial sectors causing months of misery.
Cabinet ministers are behind the premier on the need to push ahead with change, although they admit that
But there is increasing unrest about huge tax rises being brought in to bail out the NHS and social care.
Senior figures also fear ‘complacency’ over inflation – on track to hit double the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target – despite Mr Johnson saying he is not ‘worried’ about it.
No formal announcement is expected on the national living wage, but there are reports it will be lifted by 5 per cent to £9.42 within weeks.
CBI director general Tony Danker warned that Mr Johnson had failed to give any detail of how he would achieve his ‘vision’.
‘Ambition on wages without action on investment and productivity is ultimately just a pathway for higher prices,’ he said.
‘It’s a fragile moment for our economy. So, let’s work in partnership to overcome the short-term challenges and fulfil our long-term potential. It’s time to get around the table, roll up our sleeves and get things done. It’s time to be united.’
BORIS RECOUNTS HIS BOUT WITH COVID AND SAYS THE ‘NHS SAVED ME’
Mr Johnson spoke at length about his time in hospital last year when he was battling coronavirus.
He recalled looking ‘blearily’ out of his window at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London and spotting a hole in the ground in between the intensive care unit and an older part of the building.
He said: ‘Amid the rubble of brick, they seemed to be digging a hole for someone or something or indeed someone – possibly me.
‘But the NHS saved me and our wonderful nurses pulled my chestnuts out of that Tartarian pit and I went back on a visit the other day and I saw that the hole had been filled in with three or four gleaming storeys of a new paediatrics unit.
‘And there you have a metaphor my friends for how we must build back better now.’
The Prime Minister defended his decision to create a new health and social care levy as he said he believes helping the NHS is the top priority of the British people
In further worrying signs, the latest PMI figures suggested the economy recovery stalled last month – with the construction sector barely growing at all. Figures above 50 represent growth
Jon Bon Govey and ‘corduroyed cosmonaut’ Corbyn – Boris pokes fun in conference speech
Boris Johnson’s speech was light on policies but slightly richer in jokes, as he poked fun at everyone from Michael Gove to Jeremy Corbyn.
- He poked fun at minister Mr Gove’s middle-aged clubbing antics in Aberdeen in the summer, saying: ‘Let’s hear it for Jon Bon Govey. Living proof that we, you all, represent the most jiving, hip, happening and funkopolitan party in the world.’
- He mocked ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as he spoke at the first conference since 2019. In a reference to Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Johnson said: ‘In fact, it is the first time since the general election of 2019 when we finally sent that corduroyed cosmonaut into orbit where he belongs.’
- He also took aim at Corbyn’s replacement Sir Keir Starmer. He attacked ‘Captain Hindsight’ Sir Keir over his Covid caution, saying: ‘If Columbus had listened to Captain Hindsight he would have discovered Tenerife.’
- He described the Labour leader as ‘like a seriously rattled bus conductor … pushed this way and that by a Corbynista mob of sellotape-spectacled sans-culottes, or the skipper of a cruise liner that has been captured by Somali pirates desperately trying to negotiate a change of course’
- He added: ‘In previous national crises Labour leaders have opted to minimise public anxiety and confusion by not trying to score cheap party political points. One thinks of Attlee or even Michael Foot in the Falklands crisis. Sadly that was not the approach taken by Captain Hindsight, attacking one week then rowing in behind when it seemed to be working. The human weathervane, the Starmer chameleon. And in his final act of absurd opportunism he decided to oppose step four of the roadmap in July. That’s right folks if we had listened to Captain Hindsight we would still be in lockdown, we wouldn’t have the fastest growth in the G7.’
- The PM attacked the Labour left for opposing the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal with Australia and the US, saying it was ‘an idea so transparently right that Labour conference voted overwhelmingly against it – and I know that there has been a certain raucus squaukus from the anti-AUKUS caucus’
- He took aim at the EU’s former Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and translated the Leave campaign’s ‘take back control’ slogan into French as he pledged to fight people-trafficking gangs at ‘home and abroad’. ‘Is it not a sublime irony that even in French politics there is now a leading centre-right politician calling for a referendum on the EU,’ the PM said. ‘Who is now calling for France to reprendre le controle? It’s good old Michel Barnier. That’s what happens if you spend a year trying to argue with Lord Frost, the greatest frost since the Great Frost of 1709.’
- The PM joked about being unable to repaint the door of No 10 Downing Street and shared an ambition of trying to ‘rewild’ parts of the country as he welcomed otters and beavers returning to rivers.
- ‘If that isn’t conservative, my friends, I don’t know what is – build back beaver, I say. Though the beavers may sometimes build without local authority permission, you can also see how much room there is to build the homes that young families need in this country. There is no happiness like taking a set of keys and knowing the place is yours, and you can paint the front door any colour you like. As it happens I can’t paint my own front door any colour I like – it has to be black – but I certainly don’t have to go far to work.’
- He referenced 11th century Anglo-Saxon freedom fighter Hereward the Wake as he attacked cancel culture, saying: ‘They really do want to re-write our national story starting with Hereward the Woke.’
- He made light of contracting Covid and being put in intensive care in hospital, saying that at one point he looked out the window ‘and amid the rubble of brick they seemed to be digging a hole for something or indeed someone – possibly me.’
- He said the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier was ‘as long as the entire Palace of Westminster and rather more compelling as an argument than many speeches made in the House of Commons’
- He added: ‘It has dozens of F35s (fighter jets) on board and 66,000 sausages aboard, not because want to threaten or be adversarial to anyone – either with the F35s or indeed the sausages – but because we want to stick up for the rule of law that is so vital for freedom of navigation and free trade’
BORIS DEFENDS TAX RISES AS HE SAYS THATCHER WOULD BACK REPAIRING PUBLIC FINANCES AFTER COVID ‘METEORITE’
The Prime Minister defended his decision to create a new health and social care levy as he said he believes helping the NHS is the top priority of the British people.
Mr Johnson pointed to the damage done by the coronavirus crisis to the national coffers as he said ‘Margaret Thatcher would not have ignored the meteorite that has just crashed through the public finances’.
He said the Tories’ plans for the NHS will see 48 new hospitals built and 50,000 more nurses recruited.
He said the Government’s social care plan will help to better link up the health service and the social care system.
Mr Johnson insisted the extra cash raised by his £12billion a year tax raid will be spent on frontline services and ‘not on needless bureaucracy’.
He said that his government is tackling the big issues like social care reform as he claimed past administrations had not had the ‘guts’ to.
PM BLASTS ‘UNCONTROLLED IMMIGRATION’ AND PROMISES SHIFT TO HIGH WAGE ECONOMY
Mr Johnson told Tory members that ‘wages are going up faster than when the pandemic began’ as he insisted his Government is overseeing a ‘change in direction’ on the UK economy ‘that has been long overdue’.
He blasted past ‘uncontrolled immigration’ and said that he wants to shift to a high wage, high skill economy.
He attacked businesses who have called for more visas for foreign workers to ease staff shortages as he said the solution to pressures is ‘not to reach for that same old lever of uncontrolled immigration’ which he said keeps wages low.
Mr Johnson said it will ‘take time’ to shift to his vision of a ‘high wage, high skilled, high productivity’ economy.
He admitted ‘it will be difficult’ along the way ‘but that is the change people voted for in 2016’ at the Brexit referendum.
BRITS MUST NOT BE ‘GEOGRAPHICALLY FATED’ TO POVERTY
Mr Johnson said in some areas the UK is one of the most imbalanced developed nations as he pointed to regional discrepancies on metrics like life expectancy.
He said those differences amounted to an ‘appalling waste of potential’ and insisted there is no reason why people should be ‘geographically fated’ to be poorer or less healthy than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK.
Mr Johnson said his ‘levelling up’ agenda is the ‘right and responsible policy’ to deal with those issues.
Helping ‘left behind’ areas would also help to reduce pressure on the ‘overheating’ south east of England, he said.
The Prime Minister said that his Government will ‘promote opportunity with every tool we have’.
The single policy announcement contained in the speech related to ‘levelling up’ as the PM announced a new ‘levelling up premium’.
It will see high-flying maths and science teachers offered a grant of up to £3,000 to work in areas of the country which need them the most.
INSULATE BRITAIN ARE A ‘CONFOUNDED NUISANCE’, SAYS PM
A crackdown on crime was a significant section of the PM’s address as he blasted the Insulate Britain group for its recent wave of disruptive protests.
Mr Johnson said he does not believe the group are ‘legitimate protesters’, describing them as a ‘confounded nuisance’.
He said the group is ‘stopping people going about their daily lives’ and he is ‘glad’ Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced new powers to prevent protests disrupting critical national infrastructure.
He said Ms Patel’s reforms will ‘insulate them snuggly in prison where they belong’.
He also vowed a further crackdown on drugs gangs and promised to boost rape conviction rates.
PM URGES MORE WORKERS TO RETURN TO THEIR OFFICES
The Prime Minister signalled he wants to see working from home dramatically curtailed as he urged more employees to head back to office buildings.
The Government urged workers to stay at home where possible during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ministers have recently been suggesting they would like to see more workers return but they have stopped short of expressly telling staff to go back.
But Mr Johnson went further today as he told the conference hall: ‘We will and must see people back in the office.’
The Prime Minister signalled he wants to see working from home dramatically curtailed as he urged more employees to head back to office buildings
The Prime Minister promised to fix the ‘broken’ housing market as he said there is ‘no happiness like taking a set of keys and knowing the place is yours’
PM VOWS TO FIX ‘BROKEN’ HOUSING MARKET
Mr Johnson said it is a ‘scandal’ that the dream of home ownership has ‘receded’ over the past decade.
But he insisted that the tide is now turning as the Government tries to boost housebuilding across the UK.
The Prime Minister promised to fix the ‘broken’ housing market as he said there is ‘no happiness like taking a set of keys and knowing the place is yours’.
He also said that good homes, combined with better broadband, better transport links and better worker skills will help to boost the nation’s lagging productivity.
BORIS BLASTS ‘WOKE’ ACTIVISTS AS HE PROMISES TO DEFEND UK’S ‘CULTURAL INHERITANCE’
The Prime Minister reserved some of his toughest words for so-called ‘woke’ activists who he accused of trying to ‘rewrite our national story’.
He said that initially he had planned to ignore attacks on Sir Winston Churchill after the former PM was labelled a ‘racist’ by some protesters.
But he said he decided to wade into the row due to concerns the UK was heading towards a ‘know nothing, cancel culture’.
He vowed to defend the UK’s history and ‘cultural inheritance’ as he said it would be ‘dishonest’ to edit the past, comparing those efforts to making changes to a Wikipedia entry.
Mr Johnson reserved some of his toughest words for so-called ‘woke’ activists who he accused of trying to ‘rewrite our national story’
Priti Patel, Rishi Sunak and Oliver Dowden looked on as Mr Johnson delivered his set piece speech in Manchester
PM INVOKES THE SPIRIT OF EMMA RADUCANU AS HE PRAISES ‘TRAILBLAZER’ UK
The Tory premier pointed to the success of the UK’s sports men and women as he closed his conference speech by promising to ‘unleash’ the nation’s ‘trailblazer’ spirit.
Mr Johnson told activists that the UK has a ‘unique spirit’ which is embodied by tennis player Ms Raducanu and the England football team.
He said: ‘I mean the spirit of the footballers who took England into the final of a major knock out tournament for the first time in the lives of the vast majority of the people of this country, the indomitable spirit of Emma Raducanu, her grace and her mental resilience when the game was going against her.
‘Because that is what counts. The spirit of our Olympians. It is an incredible thing to come yet again in the top four – a formidable effort for a country that has only 0.8 per cent of the world’s population.’
Mr Johnson said the UK’s second overall position at the Paralympics ‘shows our values’, adding: ‘Not only the achievement of those elite athletes, but a country that is proud to be a trailblazer, to judge people not by where they come from but by their spirit, what is inside them.’
The PM said that spirit is ‘the same across this country’ and it can be found in the ‘hearts and minds of kids growing up everywhere’.
‘That is the spirit we are going to unleash,’ he said.
Source: Daily Mail UK