Boris Johnson evokes spirit of Tony Blair as he vows Tories will be ‘servants’ of people on victory tour

‘Remember, we are not the masters. We are the servants now,’ says PM

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Saturday 14 December 2019 14:49
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We are the servants' Boris Johnson greets new MPs in Sedgeway after general election win

Boris Johnson has evoked the spirit of Tony Blair on a victory lap of the north of England as he vowed to “repay the trust” of Labour voters who helped him into Downing Street.

In the wake of his historic win, the prime minister made a symbolic trip to address activists in Sedgefield, Mr Blair’s former seat in County Durham, which fell to the Conservatives on Friday morning.

Mr Johnson even quoted the ex-Labour prime minister’s 1997 conference speech, where Mr Blair famously said his party were the “servants” and the people were “the masters”.

Addressing new Tory MPs and activists, Mr Johnson said: “I want to say to all of my colleagues as MPs, when we get down to Westminster we begin our work.

“Remember, we are not the masters. We are the servants now. We are the servants.

“And our job is to serve the people of this country, and to deliver on our priorities. Our priorities and their priorities are the same – getting Brexit done, but also delivering on our national health service, our education, safer streets, better hospitals, a better future for our country.”

The move to try to claim Mr Blair’s mantle comes after the Tories won seats across Labour’s traditional heartlands in the Midlands and the northeast.

Mr Johnson’s attempts to smash the so-called red wall bore fruit as he won support from working-class Labour voters – with echoes of Mr Blair’s appeal to the Conservative middle classes.

The prime minister praised his new MPs for “transforming the political map of this country” and issued an appeal to traditional Labour supporters who lent him their vote in this election.

He said: “I can imagine people’s pencils hovering over the ballot paper and wavering before coming down for us and the Conservatives, and I know that people may have been breaking the voting habits of generations to vote for us.

“And I want the people of the northeast 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.”

The prime minister is expected to reintroduce his Brexit deal in the Commons next week following the Queen’s Speech and state opening of parliament on Thursday.

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