PMQs

It has been a long time coming, but today the Brexit process restarted in earnest with Boris Johnson taking the position of UK Prime Minister. Whilst now in the driving seat, there is considerable work for Johnson (who was elected to his post by 0.1% of the UK population) to do between now and the extended Article 50 deadline of 31 October to convince his peers and the electorate of his policies. Much publicised is Boris’s ‘do or die’ position on Brexit (although despite the rhetoric, he favours a renegotiated deal to a no-deal). This will be put to the test in the coming days as several senior Tories are expected to walk. However, assuming that Boris does not ‘die’ in the process of delivering Brexit, what kind of a Prime Minister would he make on other issues? Boris’s voting record and public statements create a relatively clear picture of his policy positions. He is a low-tax, low-spend politician who pledges to raise the income tax threshold and to cut business rates and corporation tax. He favours reducing central Government support for both welfare and for Local Government. He is pro-health (remember the slogan on the bus?) and would look to increase tax on alcohol and unhealthy foods. His voting record speaks to a firm foreign policy position and a willingness to use military interventions. On the home front, he adopts a laissez faire approach to education and is pro-academies. And on property issues, he would propose to reverse stamp duty changes, is pro-green, wants to achieve net zero carbon emissions asap, says that he is committed to the delivery of affordable housing and wants to save the high street and give small businesses in particular support to do so. To read a primer on these issues prepared by my colleague Daria Kulikova, take a look here.