Boris Johnson entering Number 10 last week was the worst-case scenario for me. I have spoken consistently and publicly about my dislike of him, and I supported almost every other candidate in the leadership contest. I felt that a government led by Johnson would fail to live up to the extremely high expectations put forward by the press. Nevertheless, we have ended up with Boris Johnson as the new Prime Minister.
Conscious of the ticking clock and the fast-approaching Brexit deadline, he is already beginning to act. Even now, just a few days after he became Prime Minister, Johnson is showing a clear commitment to his campaign pledges, namely delivering Brexit, uniting the country and defeating Jeremy Corbyn. His barnstorming first appearance at the despatch box brought roars of support from the Conservative benches, unseen in years, as he took Corbyn apart over his Brexit stance and his hypocrisy over Iran.
As many predicted, Boris’s ascension to the top job resulted in a rather dramatic reshuffle and swathes of resignations. In a purge of Remainers and Jeremy Hunt backers, Johnson began the radical reorganisation that has provided the drastic shake-up the government badly needed. In his first address as Prime Minister on the steps of Downing Street, Boris gave us a taste of what we can expect from his time in office.
Out of the EU, we can look forward to 20,000 more police officers, whom the government has already begun recruiting. Twenty new hospital upgrades are on the way, and new funding will aim to address NHS waiting times. Adult social care is being addressed once and for all, primary and secondary schools will enjoy increased per-pupil funding. New infrastructure is also in the works, including rail and road improvements and full fibre broadband.
Just as I converted to the Leave cause, I have accepted that Boris won the leadership contest, fair and square. My distaste at some of his previous comments and behaviour have been offset. Already, I can see that much has changed. Boris has already brought back the party’s mojo with a brilliant new Cabinet, which promises to do the same for the country.
I used to detest the idea of Boris as the leader of my party, but his first few days in power have changed my perspective on a Johnson premiership. The mood among the party grassroots is already shifting, with many excited about the Conservatives’ future prospects, and the possibility for the radical changes needed to re-build Britain and successfully deliver on the biggest democratic mandate ever provided by the British people.
While I remain a little cautious of Boris Johnson as a leader, from his first few days in office I have become much more optimistic about what he will be able to do for my party and my country in the future.