Isabel Hardman

What kind of Prime Minister will Boris Johnson be now?

What kind of Prime Minister will Boris Johnson be now?
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Boris Johnson has just given a fully-charged victory speech at a rally in London, telling joyful activists that today marks ‘a new dawn and a new government’.

The event was emblazoned with a new logo, ‘The People’s Government’ as the Tories claim victory for representing all parts of the country. Johnson echoed this in his speech, saying he was ‘humbled’ by those who had voted for his party for the first time and promising that he would ‘never take your support for granted’. And he told his party that it ‘must change’. 

The language was deliberately centrist, Blairite and welcoming rather than sneering. Johnson even remembered something that Theresa May forgot two years ago, to apologise to those Tory colleagues who lost their seats overnight. 

But this was still a speech given in poetry, while governing happens in prose. Johnson can quite confidently promise now to ‘get Brexit done’ (he told activists this morning that ‘first, let’s get breakfast done’) but how will he really choose to govern?

His majority allows him to do what he likes and appoint who he likes to government. His campaign was marked by a desire to avoid scrutiny and a lack of ambition in the manifesto, both to lower the risk of rocking the boat.

Now he’s safe and dry, the temptation will be to continue with those unimpressive stances, believing that he can once again get away with it. But his speech this morning pitched Prime Minister Johnson as being rather different to campaigning Johnson. We will soon start to see which mould he prefers. 

Written byIsabel Hardman

Isabel Hardman is assistant editor of The Spectator. She also presents Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is author of Why We Get The Wrong Politicians.

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