General Election 2019 Boris Johnson Thanks North For Trusting Tories
Boris Johnson has thanked voters in the north of England for “breaking the voting habits of generations” to back the Conservatives.
Speaking in Tony Blair’s old seat of Sedgefield, the PM said he knew “how difficult” that decision can be.
Mr Johnson won a Commons majority of 80, his party’s biggest election win for 30 years, by sweeping aside Labour in its traditional heartlands.
In contrast, Labour suffered its worst election result since the 1930s.
Activists chanted “Boris” as Mr Johnson arrived in the County Durham constituency, which returned a Conservative MP on Thursday for the first time in 84 years.
The prime minister said he wanted to thank voters in the “incredible” constituencies in north-east England for placing their trust in the Conservatives.
They had “changed the political landscape” and “changed the Conservative Party for the better”, he said.
“Everything that we do, everything that I do as your prime minister, will be devoted to repaying that trust,” Mr Johnson added.
“We are the servants now and our job is to serve the people of this country and deliver on our priorities. And our priorities and their priorities are the same.”
Leader Jeremy Corbyn said he had done “everything I could” to get Labour into power but expected to stand down “early next year”, after a successor has been chosen by the party.
He said the general election had been “taken over by Brexit”, the issue on which Mr Johnson campaigned most vociferously – but other figures in the party have disagreed over the reason.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnellÂ promised to “learn lessons and we’ll listen to people”Â during the debate over the future of the party and its next leader.
“My fear is that we’re in for the long haul now, possibly five years,” he added.
Labour’s Helen Goodman, who lost the seat of Bishop Auckland to the Conservatives, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “the biggest factor” in Labour’s defeat “was obviously the unpopularity of Jeremy Corbyn as the leader”.
However, the Labour MP for York Central, Rachel Maskell, said: “We’ve all got to take responsibility… I don’t think apportioning blame to a complex situation in a simplistic way is really the way to approach this.”
Mr Johnson is expected to announce a minor government re-shuffle as early as Monday.
Asked whether his promise to be a one nation government meant bringing back Tory politicians like Penny Mordaunt and Jeremy Hunt – who left cabinet in July after Mr Johnson took over – the PM said he was “not going to speculate about personalities”.
MPs will then return to Westminster on Tuesday and begin the process of swearing in, before the Queen formally opens Parliament on Thursday with “reduced ceremonial elements”.
The prime minister has also vowed to reintroduce his Withdrawal Agreement Bill to Parliament before Christmas, which could happen by the end of next week.
It would see MPs begin the process of considering legislation that would pave the way for the UK to leave the EU on 31 January. Talks about a future trade and security relationship will begin almost immediately.
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Former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine, who opposes Brexit and backed the Liberal Democrats in the election, told Today: “We’ve lost. Brexit is going to happen and we have to live with it.”
Asked whether he would support any future campaign to rejoin the EU, he said it would be “20 years or something before the issue is once again raised”.
Protests took place at Westminster on Friday following Mr Johnson’s election victory.
Demonstrators in Westminster carried signs that read “Defy Tory Rule” and “No to Boris Johnson”.
The Metropolitan Police said two people had been arrested in relation to the protests – one person on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and another for suspected affray.
General Election 2019 Boris Johnson Thanks North For Trusting Tories
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