Boris Johnson urges Theresa May to use Brexit to ‘unite the country’ by cutting taxes and immigration

Posted On: 
18th January 2019

Boris Johnson is set to call on the Government to use Brexit to “unite the country” by ploughing more money into public services.

Boris Johnson will set out his vision for the country and Theresa May fights to keep her Brexit deal alive
PA images

The former Foreign Secretary will urge Theresa May to focus on "the issues that drove Brexit" by focusing on a low tax economy with better controls on immigration.

The speech – which comes just days after MPs inflicted a historic defeat on Mrs May’s Brexit plans – will be viewed as a thinly-veiled bid for the Tory leadership.

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Speaking at the JCB headquarters in Rocester, Mr Johnson will say that Brexit “was about democracy… but that vote, was also triggered by a feeling that in some way the people of this country has been drifting too far apart and in areas where we need to come together".

Mr Johnson will also highlight the disparity of the Brexit vote, with higher Remain votes in London, Scotland and the South East of England compared to the rest of the country.

"If you look at the disribution of the Brexit vote, it is clear that people felt that gap in attainments and prospects and that they wanted something done," he will say.

"If we are to bring our nation together that means investing in great public services and safer streets, better hospitals, better transport links and better housing."

The Tory heavyweight will also use the speech to call for “careful thinking” on immigration as part of a wider plan to address the “productivity gap”.

He will say: “We all know about boardroom pay and the huge expansion in the last 25 years of the gap between the renumeration of FTSE 100 CEOs and the average workers in their firms.

“We all know one of the big ways corporations have held wages down is that they have had access to unlimited pools of labour from other countries."

In an interview with LBC on Monday, Mr Johnson admitted he had “bottled” his 2016 leadership bid after Michael Gove withdrew his support for his campaign.

But the former London Mayor remains popular with the party membership and would be a serious contender in any future contest.

Mr Johnson is also set to to call for further devolution to English regions, as well as a halt on income tax increases in a bid to create “national cohesion”.

He will say: "We must create the most favourable tax environment with no new taxes and no increases in rates and no one rich or poor to pay more than 50% of their income in tax - not because we want to create a tax haven for the rich but because that it is the way to stimulate the income we need to pay for this national programme of cohesion.

"We should take council tax, business rates stamp duty, land tax and the annual tax on enveloped dwellings, bundling them together giving them to local mayors and politicians to spend so that they have clear incentives to go for growth as Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry suggested last week."