Thursday, 2 Jul 2020

Cabinet dutifully chant Boris Johnson’s dodgy election slogans at first meeting

Boris Johnson's new Cabinet dutifully chanted his dodgy election slogans today as ministers did little to dispel claims of a No10 power grab.

The Prime Minister rattled off statistics on police, hospitals and nurses in a call and response after reshuffling his top team.

Hailing his "people's government" in front of the cameras, Mr Johnson asked them: "How many hospitals are we going to build?". They replied: "Forty!"

He asked: "How many more police officers are we recruiting?" They replied: "20,000!"

He added: "How many more nurses will we recruit?" They replied: "50,000!"

"Exactly", the PM concluded.

All three slogans were either questioned, disputed or called out as misleading by critics during the election.

And their use appeared to show the loyalty of ministers after a reshuffle in which perceived critics of the Prime Minister were forced out.

Geoffrey Cox and Julian Smith, who trod their own paths as Attorney General and Northern Ireland Secretary, were replaced with apparently more faithful ministers in the shake-up.

Downing Street also seized control of the Treasury by setting up a joint team of advisors between No10 and No11 Downing Street – a move that prompted Chancellor Sajid Javid to quit.

The facts behind the chanting

20,000 more police officers? The number of police officers has fallen by around 21,000 since the Tories took power in 2010, so the new officers will only roughly make up for cuts.

40 new hospitals?Boris Johnson’s promise of 40 ‘new hospitals’ will actually only deliver six unless the Tories win the next election after this one – and it includes renovations of existing hospitals.

50,000 more nurses? 18,500 of the 50,000 will be nurses who are 'retained' in the health service who would supposedly otherwise have left. But they are not new nurses.

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