The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Boris Johnson’s rise to become UK Prime Minister.
Johnson gave his first statement in the House of Commons since becoming the new UK Prime Minister. Boris made his position clear on Brexit, as he has promised to complete the UK’s exit from the EU by the 31st of October.
Johnson then made sweeping cabinet changes, which saw half of Theresa May’s ministers out the door.
Boris Johnson makes sweeping cabinet changes. Half are gone, more coming. He reiterates his promise to deliver Brexit.
This is officially the biggest clear out of Cabinet without a change of party in power – more than half of them gone – not a reshuffle it’s a new govt
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) July 24, 2019
What we know so far: half the Cabinet – 16 – have gone in the most brutal reshuffle in decades.
Sacked (10, so far):
— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) July 24, 2019
Excellent First Speech
In contrast to his victory speech, Johnson made an Excellent First Speech as Prime Minister today.
War on Pessimists: At speech beginning “And so I am standing before you today to tell you, the British people, that those critics are wrong – the doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters – they are going to get it wrong again. The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts because we are going to restore trust in our democracy.” …. At end of speech: “No one in the last few centuries has succeeded in betting against the pluck and nerve and ambition of this country. They will not succeed today.”
Pledge to Unite the Country: “And I will tell you something else about my job. It is to be prime minister of the whole United Kingdom. And that means uniting our country, answering at last the plea of the forgotten people and the left behind towns by physically and literally renewing the ties that bind us together, so that with safer streets and better education and fantastic new road and rail infrastructure and full fibre broadband we level up across Britain.”
Delivering Brexit: “We will come out of the EU on October 31. And it is of course vital at the same time that we prepare for the remote possibility that Brussels refuses any further to negotiate and we are forced to come out with no deal – not because we want that outcome – of course not – but because it is only common sense to prepare.”
Delivering Growth, allowing GMOs: He called for tax cuts to promote investment in capital and research. He reaffirmed his commitment to free ports. “Let’s start now to liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti genetic modification rules and let’s develop the blight-resistant crops that will feed the world. ”
Early Elections: Guardian Analysis – He implied that an early election was likely. At one point Johnson seemed to by toying with his audience, as if he was about to announce an election. He didn’t, but everything he said about his domestic agenda suggested he will soon want to get a decent majority, because without one his ambitions cannot be achieved.
Speech Lifted from Bill Clinton?
Bill Clinton said almost the same thing in his speech to the 2012 Democratic convention (one of the best political speeches of modern times). In his peroration Clinton said:
Look, I love our country so much. And I know we’re coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we’ve always come back. (Cheers.) People have predicted our demise ever since George Washington was criticised for being a mediocre surveyor with a bad set of wooden false teeth. (Laughter.) And so far, every single person that’s bet against America has lost money because we always come back. (Cheers, applause.) We come through ever fire a little stronger and a little better.
Deeply honoured to be appointed Chancellor by PM @BorisJohnson. Looking forward to working with @hmtreasury to prepare for leaving the EU, unifying our country and priming our economy for the incredible opportunities that lie ahead.
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) July 24, 2019
Lis Truss who wanted a cabinet spot.
— Liz Truss (@trussliz) July 24, 2019
Cabinet from Hell Donald Trump Would Be Proud Of
Scottish MP Pete Wishart offered this assessment:
Boris Johnson’s nightmare Tory government is shaping up to be the worst since Thatcher – packed full of extreme Brexiteers and rabid rightwingers who want to drag us back to a bygone era.
Senior Tory cabinet ministers have threatened to cut Scotland’s budget, roll back devolution, and impose a devastating Brexit – that would inflict serious harm on Scottish jobs, living standards, public services and the economy.
This is a Tory cabinet from hell, which Donald Trump or Nigel Farage would be proud of – with members who want to scrap the Barnett formula, privatise the NHS, roll back workers’ rights, undo the welfare state, cut taxes for the rich, and even bring back the death penalty.
Hunt Decides to Become a Good Dad
1/4 I would have been honoured to carry on my work at the FCO but understand the need for a new PM to choose his team. BJ kindly offered me another role but after 9 yrs in Cabinet & over 300 cab mtgs now is the time to return 2 backbenches from where PM will have my full support
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 24, 2019
2/4 I've been a cabinet minister for every hour my 3 gorgeous children have been alive. So whilst it may seem strange for someone who just tried to become PM (& is a terrible cliche) I have decided now is the time for the biggest challenge of all – to be a GOOD DAD!
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 24, 2019
Hunt Supporters Sacked
- Greg Clark, the business secretary, has also been sacked. Clark voted remain in 2016 and is strongly opposed to a no-deal Brexit, and as a result was never expected to be offered a post in a Boris Johnson cabinet. But unlike his fellow cabinet no-deal opponents Philip Hammond, David Gauke and David Lidington, Clark chose not to resign pre-emptively. He wanted to force Johnson to sack him.
- It is starting to look like a cull of Jeremy Hunt supporters. Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, and another Brexiter, has been sacked. He had made it clear that he wanted to stay in his post. But he probably did not help his chances in recent weeks by publicly contradicting some of the claims Boris Johnson was making about a no-deal Brexit.
- Penny Mordaunt, the defence secretary, has left the government. Although Mordaunt backed Jeremy Hunt for the leadership, she voted leave in 2016 and is well-regarded as a cabinet minister. With Boris Johnson keen to increase the number of women in his cabinet, many people assumed her job was secure.
Nigel Farage Comments on Dominic Raab, the New Foreign Secretary
I heard Jeremy Hunt talking just two days ago about shipping in the Gulf, and the need to build a European protection force, a European navy. I would much rather see someone like Dominic Raab [as foreign secretary], who believes in Brexit and doesn’t want us being part of a European army.
Congratulations Boris Johnson
What an excellent first day as Prime Minister.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.