Boris Johnson has vowed to repay the trust of former Labour supporters whose votes helped deliver him victory in the General Election.
The Prime Minister made a symbolic visit to Tony Blair’s old Sedgefield constituency in County Durham – which fell to the Tories on Thursday night – to pledge his commitment to spreading opportunity across the country.
“We believe in giving opportunity to everyone,” he told a crowd of cheering supporters and newly-elected MPs from the region packed into the local cricket club.
“We believe that talent is evenly distributed throughout our country, but opportunity is unfairly distributed.
“We are going to rectify that as a One Nation Conservative government, as a people’s government, that is what we are going to do.”
Sedgefield was one of a swathe of constituencies seats across the North, Midlands and north Wales in Labour’s hitherto impregnable “red wall” to go blue as the Tories stormed to an 80-seat majority in the new House of Commons.
In his speech, Mr Johnson acknowledged how difficult it was for many lifelong Labour supporters to break with the party and cast their votes for the Tories.
“I can imagine people’s pencil’s hovering over the ballot paper and wavering before coming down for us and the Conservatives, and I know that people may have been breaking the voting habits of generations to vote for us,” he said.
“And 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.”
In a message to Tory MPs, Mr Johnson also echoed the words of Mr Blair when he became prime minister in 1997, saying: “Remember, we are not the masters, we are the servants now. Our job is to serve the people of this country.”