What Prime Minister Boris Johnson should say on steps of 10 Downing Street – Bernard Ingham

FOR most of my 24 years in the Civil Service, I had one remit: to promote an informed Press and public about the Government’s policies and measures and to advise Ministers and officials on their presentation.

What will Boris Johnson say on the steps of 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister?

I have therefore taken the liberty of writing a “start as you mean to go on” speech for Boris Johnson on entering No 10 today:

“I would like to thank my party for entrusting me with its leadership and the responsibilities of Prime Minister. I shall do my level best to justify its support.

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I face four challenges: to extricate the UK from the EU; to bring a unity of purpose to the whole nation; to ensure that the country does not fall into dangerous Marxist hands; and to demonstrate that a sovereign, independent UK can flourish and play a constructive role in the world.

I do not underestimate the size of the job. It is by any standards an enormous task in a dangerous world, but I believe that together we can succeed. Britain is tired of defeatism. It desperately wants to be proud of itself again.

My aim is to liberate its spirit and fire its enthusiasm for the tasks ahead.

We cannot do that so long as Brexit divides the nation. The absolute priority is to leave by the end of October so that we can get to work on building a new and distinguished future.

I therefore appeal to all men and women of good will to rally to implement the nation’s majority decision as expressed in the referendum. It would be enormously damaging for Parliament to be at odds with the people for a moment longer.

It would be just as damaging to the EU to maintain its intransigence over the terms on which we leave it. The objective of all sensible people should be to lay the foundations for future co-operation.

I expect Brussels to recognise its responsibilities and to put the next 100 days to good, constructive use in the interests of its 500m citizens.

Here at home we have been so preoccupied with Brexit that, among other things, we Conservatives have neglected to proclaim the virtues of freedom within the law, enterprise and individual responsibility over the Marxist alternative currently on offer.

That neglect stops here. In the months ahead, I shall proclaim the manifest superiority of the Conservative way based, above all, on our precious freedom.

That superiority is demonstrated by the relative strength of the economy as I take office. A record number of people in work and low inflation – in spite of all the doom-mongering over Brexit – provide the basis for future success.

If we are to generate the money needed to help improve our public services, we must run a competitive economy. I dedicate myself to a nation earning its keep and deploying resources for the benefit of all.

To get us underway, I am immediately opening consultations on the appointment of six independent, high-powered study groups to come up with costed proposals by the New Year for the improvement of the: NHS, care of the vulnerable, our education system, the enforcement of law and order, infrastructure and national security.

They will be expected not just to ask for more of your money but to show where it is currently being wasted and how the management of resources can be improved.

No civilised nation should for long tolerate the criticisms we now hear of the NHS, welfare of the elderly, educational standards and the havoc being wreaked on young people, by violence, knives, drugs and gambling that the internet is doing so much to promote.

I want to be in an informed position as soon as we have Brexit out of the way to get to grips with all these problems and regional development.

I expect these teams to come up with practical programmes for the improvement of our essential services quickly.

My first task is to select a Cabinet fired with enthusiasm for all the tasks I have set out. I shall expect Ministers to set an example to the nation by their unity of purpose and for the EU and the British Parliament to respond.

If they do, I am absolutely sure that the UK, with all its talent, will be resurgent and the world ever more envious of it.

We know what we have to do, so let’s get on with it. There is no time to waste. Our slogan is Per Brexit ad astra. Onwards and upwards. Thank you.”