Boris Johnson expected to repay northern voters with billions of pounds of investment

0
Have your say

Boris Johnson will try to make good on his promises to the North - which helped him secure victory in last week's election - by pouring cash into infrastructure in the region, it is understood.

The Prime Minister is expected to today promise to repay the trust of traditionally Labour voters as he meets privately with new MPs.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson being greeted by staff as he arrives back at 10 Downing Street after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to form a new government. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson being greeted by staff as he arrives back at 10 Downing Street after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to form a new government. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Billions of pounds of investment is expected to be paid into the North and the Midlands, coming out of a £100bn infrastructure fund, of which the two regions could get an £80bn share.

Over the weekend a senior Conservative source said: “We’ve got to show the voters in the red wall seats that they have something to show for voting Conservative. The fiscal rules mean there is a good-sized pot of money available.”

While Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “The government’s priority has to be the TfN [Transport for the North] plan. This is vital for the economic growth of the north, which is being held back by a poor transport network which is a daily blight on people’s lives.”

It comes as Mr Johnson has been urged to ‘northernise’ his Cabinet, with Yorkshire MP Nigel Adams tipped to take Nicky Morgan’s Cabinet role of Culture Secretary.

One minister told The Telegraph: "Nigel Adams is quite a good bet, a good mate of Boris's. He already does the minister of state role in that department.”

Another idea mooted was for Cabinet to meet in a northern town or city every fortnight.

It comes after Mr Johnson used a highly symbolic visit on Saturday to Tony Blair's old Sedgefield constituency to promise to repay the trust of traditional Labour voters who turned for the first time to the Conservatives in the election.

The County Durham seat was part of a previously solid "red wall" of safe Labour seats across the North, the Midlands and north Wales which turned blue on Thursday night, helping the Conservatives to a crushing Commons majority of 80.

A No 10 source said: "This election was as much about delivering on the people's priorities as it was about getting Brexit done - and the Prime Minister understands that.

"We will show the public, especially Labour voters who trusted us with their vote, that we will deliver on the promises we have made on helping with the cost of living, tackling crime and supporting our NHS.

"This starts with making sure the NHS has the funding it needs to carry on being the best healthcare service in the world. It is one of the key priorities of the people's Government."

While the Queen's Speech will be largely the same as that delivered in October before Parliament was dissolved for the election, it is expected to include a number of additional measures.

They include changes to the justice system after Mr Johnson promised serious offenders would not be released early following the London Bridge terror attack.

There are also expected to be measures to ensure minimum services operate during transport strikes, new protections for renters and a ban on local authorities boycotting products from other countries, like Israel.

In his speech on Saturday, Mr Johnson echoed the word of Mr Blair when he became prime minister, saying: "When we get down to Westminster and we begin our work, remember we are not the masters, we are the servants now.

"Our job is to serve the people of this country, and to deliver on our priorities. And our priorities and their priorities are the same."

He also acknowledged how difficult it was for traditional Labour supporters to vote Tory.

"I want the people of the North East to know that we in the Conservative Party, and I, will repay your trust - and everything that we do, everything that I do as your Prime Minister, will be devoted to repaying that trust," he said.