Victorious Johnson to enshrine £33bn NHS spending pledge in law

Boris Johnson is to enshrine in law a commitment to raise spending on the NHS year-on-year when the first Queen’s Speech of the new Parliament is unveiled on Thursday.

No 10 sources said the Prime Minister will use the his legislative programme to underline commitments made during his victorious General Election campaign to support the health service.

It will include a bill to requiring the Government to honour its pledge to raise spending on the NHS to £33.9 billion by 2023-24.

The Conservatives said it would be the first time any government has made a legally-binding spending commitment over several years.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings was reported to be preparing a radical overhaul of the Civil Service to ensure it delivers on Mr Johnson’s agenda.

According to The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Cummings is planning to review the way officials are hired and fired, while The Sunday Times reported departments could be abolished and civil servants replaced by outside experts.

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.

General Election 2019: the final state of the parties
(PA Graphics)

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.

I say thank you for the trust you have placed in us, and in me.

We will work round the clock to repay your trust and to deliver on your priorities with a parliament that works for you.

— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 13, 2019

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.

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