Boris Johnson has vowed to bring back his Brexit divorce deal for MPs to vote on this Friday as he looks to hit the ground running and deliver on the election promises he made to working-class voters.
The Prime Minister’s new ‘people’s government’ will immediately start work on implementing key campaign pledges on tougher border controls, extra cash for the NHS and a big infrastructure boost for the north of England.
Mr Johnson will undertake a limited reshuffle this afternoon as he fills gaps in his Cabinet left by the departures of former culture secretary Nicky Morgan and former Welsh secretary Alun Cairns.
But he will then turn his attention to making sure he is able to stick to his ‘get Brexit done’ mantra by laying the groundwork for MPs to vote on his EU accord on Friday – the day after the Queen’s Speech.
Mr Johnson insisted during the election campaign that he wanted to make Brexit progress before Christmas and Downing Street has identified Friday as the day to make that happen.
The plan is to re-introduce the Withdrawal Agreement Bill and then ask MPs to vote to give it a second reading with the rest of the legislative stages then taking place in January.
In order for the vote to take place Number 10’s proposed timetable will have to be signed off by new Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle who is expected to be installed when parliament returns tomorrow.
However, the Tories are hopeful Mr Hoyle will back the plan so MPs can vote and then head home for a brief Christmas break before then finishing the passage of the bill next month ahead of the January 31 divorce deadline.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘We plan to start the process before Christmas and will do so in the proper constitutional way in discussion with the Speaker.’
The PM met with key ministers and aides in Downing Street today as he got back to work after the Conservatives smashed Labour at the ballot box last week and won a 80-seat majority, making the passage of his Brexit deal a formality.
Speaking to reporters outside No10, Chancellor Sajid Javid said: ‘Welcome to the people’s government.’
Mr Johnson will welcome 109 new Tory MPs to Westminster this afternoon with a message that addressing voters’ concerns now could see the Tories win a record fifth term in 2024 – and rule throughout the 2020s.
Today’s reshuffle is expected to be a small-scale affair before a much more radical shake-up in February which could see up to a third of existing ministers axed along with a major overhaul of the Whitehall machine.
Boris Johnson (pictured at Downing Street today) is welcoming 109 new Tory MPs to Westminster with a message that addressing voters’ concerns now could see the Tories win a record fifth term in 2024
Speaking to reporters outside No10, Chancellor Sajid Javid said: ‘Welcome to the people’s government.’ Foreign Dominic Raab was also in Downing Street today
The PM is pictured as the election results came in, his chief strategist Dominic Cummings watches on in the background. will carry out a minor reshuffle today to fill gaps left by the departures of former culture secretary Nicky Morgan and former Welsh secretary Alun Cairns.
Dominic Cummings to target major overhaul of military spending
Boris Johnson’s maverick aide Dominic Cummings is targeting a major overhaul of military spending, it emerged today.
The Ministry of Defence’s procurement is expected to be a priority for next year after Mr Cummings previously described the systems as ‘a farce’.
In blogs before he worked for the PM, Mr Cummings has bemoaned ‘mediocre’ officials at the department and criticised the £6.2billion cost of two aircraft carriers.
He branded the project a ‘farce’ saying it had ‘has continued to squander billions of pounds, enriching some of the worst corporate looters and corrupting public life via the revolving door of officials/lobbyists’.
He complained that the carriers still ‘cannot be sent to a serious war against a serious enemy’.
Instead, Mr Cummings praised drone technology and suggested futuristic AI-driven weapons such as ‘swarms’ of tiny explosive robots.
Tory sources said last night the PM is considering splitting up the Home Office to create a new Department for Borders and Immigration to deliver on his pledge to cut the number of low-skilled migrants coming here.
The new department will focus on putting in place an Australian-style points-based immigration system and toughening up the UK’s borders – leaving the Home Office to focus on the fight against crime.
A number of other Whitehall departments are also expected to be overhauled to make the government ‘match fit’ for Brexit.
The PM’s top aide Dominic Cummings, who was pictured arriving in Downing Street this morning in one of his now trademark casual outfits, will play a key role in the shake-up of the machinery of government.
Mr Johnson will also use a £100billion infrastructure fund to reward voters in the Midlands and the North who voted Conservative for the first time.
His strategy of ‘Boosterism’ will involve pumping cash into neglected regions in an attempt to increase opportunity.
In a message to supporters yesterday, he said: ‘Let’s unite this country, let’s spread opportunity to every corner of the UK, with superb education, superb infrastructure and technology. Let’s get this done and move forward.’
On Thursday, he will unveil his Queen’s Speech which will legislate to deliver an extra £34billion funding for the NHS.
His programme will also include a framework for the immigration system, together with new laws to increase the amount that migrants pay to use the NHS.
Other measures will include longer sentences for terrorists and serious criminals, laws to limit the impact of strikes in the public sector and measures to end no-fault evictions for renters – addressing day-to-day concerns of voters.
Commuters using Northern Rail and South West Trains have been hit by damaging strikes this year. A new Minimum Service Agreement Bill would force unions to guarantee a certain level of services – probably 50 per cent – to reduce the impact on commuters. Speaking ahead of the PM’s meeting with new Tory MPs, a No 10 source said: ‘The seismic events on Thursday returned Conservative MPs in Bolsover, in Blyth and in Bishop Auckland to name but a few.
‘This election and the new generation of MPs that have resulted from Labour towns turning blue will help change our politics for the better.
‘The PM has been very clear that we have a responsibility to deliver a better future for our country and that we must repay the public’s trust by getting Brexit done.
‘Our job is to serve the people of this country, and the ‘People’s Government’ will deliver on the people’s priorities.’
Dominic Cummings, pictured arriving in Downing Street this morning, is expected to play a leading role in a Whitehall shake up next year
Mr Cummings, who arrived at Number 10 wearing what has become one of his trademark casual outfits, has long called for big changes to be made to the way in which Whitehall works
He will carry out a minor reshuffle today to fill gaps left by the departures of former culture secretary Nicky Morgan and former Welsh secretary Alun Cairns
Jubiliant Tory MPs are descending on Parliament today after the ‘blue tsunami’ of the election.
Triumphant Conservatives are reporting for duty in Westminster after demolishing Labour’s ‘Red Wall’ of Leave-backing strongholds in the North, Midlands and Wales.
Dehenna Davison – the first Tory ever to represent Bishop Auckland – tweeted a picture of herself with a backpack having been given her induction by Commons staff – joking that was like Paddington Bear.
Others shared photos of their trips to the London and at Parliament, clearly excited to start fulfilling their promises to secure Brexit.
Mr Sunak told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show yesterday that the Government’s focus was on delivering Brexit and then ‘levelling up across the United Kingdom, making sure that opportunity is spread’.
Mr Gove told Sky News: ‘We need to make sure that economic opportunity is more equally spread across the whole country and we need to invest in the infrastructure and also the improvement for skills and education necessary in order to make sure that opportunity is more equal.’
New Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison, Stockton South MP Matt Vickers, Darlington MP Peter Gibson, Sedgefield MP Paul Howell and Redcar MP Jacob Young dubbed themselves ‘the Blue Wall’ as they caught the train down to London together from the North East.
Just days after Mr Johnson’s historic landslide, Tory strategists already have their eye on the next election. A senior source said: ‘The first six to 12 months are key. People have got real expectations of change and we have got to show we are delivering it.
‘People need to feel this first term has worked for them, they need to be able to point to things locally that have changed, they need to feel that their lives have got better – otherwise they will not vote for us again. That is not easy and we need to refocus the whole of government to do it.
‘A lot of people are putting their faith in us for the first time and we sure as hell have to make sure we don’t let them down.’
MPs will be sworn in over the next two days ahead of the Queen’s Speech which will be dominated by meeting Mr Johnson’s election pledges. The new programme will also include amendments to the Human Rights Act to prevent ‘vexatious claims’ against British troops, and a new Sentencing Bill to introduce a mandatory minimum 14-year term for adults convicted of serious terrorist offences.
Measures will also be brought forward to guarantee greater funding for schools. And there will be an end to automatic early release for serious violent offenders.
All eyes today are on who Mr Johnson appoints as culture secretary, with a remit to shake up the BBC. Former culture secretary John Whittingdale is under consideration, but Mr Johnson is also under pressure to bring new blood into his top team. Mr Sunak has also been tipped as a possible candidate, as has defence minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
Cabinet Office minister Simon Hart is tipped for possible promotion as Welsh Secretary.
All eyes today are on who Mr Johnson appoints as culture secretary, with a remit to shake up the BBC. Former culture secretary John Whittingdale (pictured) is under consideration