In Depth

Boris Johnson’s views on key policies

Former foreign secretary wins Tory leadership contest with 66% of the vote to become prime minister

Boris Johnson has been named the next prime minister, beating his rival Jeremy Hunt in the final round of voting by party members by 66% to 34%.

The MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip had already won over his fellow MPs in the parliamentary voting stages, securing more than double the votes than those of his nearest rival in all five ballots.

In his acceptance speech at the QE2 conference centre in Westminster, he said that “at this pivotal moment in our history” he believed the country could “reconcile two sets of instincts”: for friendship and free trade with Europe but also for democratic self-government in the UK.

He promised that “like some slumbering giant, we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity, with better education, better infrastructure, more police, fantastic full-fibre broadband sprouting in every household - we are going to unite this amazing country and we are going to take it forward”.

Born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson in New York, the leadership hopeful was educated at Eton and Oxford, before working as a journalist at The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator. Johnson then branched into politics, becoming MP for Henley in 2001, and London mayor seven years later. He returned to the House of Commons as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in 2015 and was named foreign secretary in Theresa May’s cabinet in 2016, but resigned from the role in July 2018 over her Brexit plan.

So what are his views on key government policies?

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Brexit

Johnson insists Britain must leave the European Union by 31 October “do or die”. He plans to scrap Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement and seek an entirely new deal, but is open to leaving without one if necessary. He has threatened to withhold the £39bn so-called Brexit divorce bill in order to push for better exit terms, and to prorogue - or suspend - parliament to push through a no-deal Brexit.

Economy

The former foreign secretary wants to raise the 40% tax rate threshold for high earners from £50,000 to £80,000, increase the point at which workers start paying National Insurance contributions and cut stamp duty. He wants to reverse the cuts to police numbers made since 2010, putting 20,000 new officers on the street by 2022, and spend more on infrastructure, including a bridge to Northern Ireland. Johnson has said he will guarantee a minimum £5,000 of funding per pupil at state schools. He has also signalled a move away from “nanny state” policies such as sin taxes.

Society

He has vowed to deliver a One Nation Tory agenda, referring to the new group of moderate Conservatives, who want to “defend human rights”, “fight injustices” and “conserve our environment”, among other aims. Johnson also wants to introduce an Australian-style points system for immigration and introduce a new state-backed insurance scheme to help people save for better social care in old age. “It’s expected to be voluntary and ask all workers over 40 to contribute 2.5% of their wages to it every year,” says The Sun.

Environment

Johnson has promised to make the UK the “cleanest and greenest economy in Europe”. He supports the UK’s pledge to produce net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and believes “revolutionary” battery technology and wind turbines will be key to reaching the target. Although he once vowed to lie down in front of bulldozers to stop a third runway being built at Heathrow, he has only committed to following the court cases regarding the expansion “very closely” as prime minister.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For more political analysis - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazine. Get your first six issues free–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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