When Boris Johnson stood in the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre and gave his victory speech, he spoke of his DUDE strategy for government: 1. Deliver Brexit; 2. Unite the country; 3. Defeat Corbyn; and 4. Energise the country. When it comes to step two, Coffee House understands plans are afoot to action an attempt to unite the country by putting Boris Johnson on a whistle-stop tour of the union.
While the details are yet to be finalised – including at what point this summer – the idea is that Johnson will shortly visit England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Johnson’s Brexit plan means that he has been accused by critics of risking the break-up of the union in pursuit of Brexit – he wants to prove otherwise. The Scotland visit will be of particular interest as the SNP are keen to paint Boris Johnson as hard right and incredibly unpopular north of the border. They will be looking for any opportunity to illustrate this on such a trip – such as a heckler. We also don’t know what majority of Scottish members backed Johnson in the contest as the result was not broken down regionally. The Hunt Team hoped to pick up votes in Scotland.
There’s also talk of regional cabinets – holding Cabinet in various cities outside of London. However, I understand that such meetings are unlikely to take place until later this summer. Regional Cabinet meetings were introduced by Gordon Brown in 2008 and continued under the Coalition government. The idea of bringing them back is a sign of how the Johnson camp wish to use every lever of government to show that they have a focus on the North. This is another sign of preparing for the possibility of a general election, as winning seats in the North – areas which voted heavily to Leave – is seen as crucial to the Tories staying in power.