Print prepares for new PM Boris Johnson

By Rhys Handley, Wednesday 24 July 2019

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The new Prime Minister has received a cool welcome and some stern warnings from print-related sectors as he prepares to take Number 10.

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Boris Johnson was appointed as Tory leader, and the new Prime Minister, yesterday

Former foreign secretary and sitting MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip Boris Johnson was named as the new leader of the Conservative party yesterday (23 July) when he saw off rival Jeremy Hunt, taking more than two thirds of the vote.

He will meet with the Queen in the early afternoon before heading to Downing Street where he is expected to make his first official address as the successor to Theresa May around 4pm ahead of forming a cabinet throughout the late afternoon and evening.

In his acceptance speech, he said: “Today, at this pivotal moment in our history, we again have to reconcile two noble sets of instincts – between the deep desire for friendship and free trade and mutual support and security and defence between Britain and our European partners; and the simultaneous desire, equally heartfelt, for democratic self-government in this country.”

Johnson said the three main objectives of his government would be to “deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn”.

In a snap poll conducted by PrintWeek on Twitter which received 88 responses, 56% said they thought Johnson’s appointment would be a bad thing for the country, with a further 25% saying they were unsure.

A minority of 19% said they believed it would be a good thing.

In an open letter published shortly after Johnson’s appointment, Creative Industries Federation chief executive Alan Bishop laid out the key concerns he wished to highlight to Johnson, including the need for investment in diversity and education among the sector.

“The extent to which public investment in the creative industries underpins [its] success cannot be overestimated,” he wrote. “Alongside many other industries, we will continue to stress the extreme damage that would be caused by a no-deal Brexit.

“The free movement of goods, services, capital and people have underpinned the sector’s success, and we urge all the leaders of the UK’s political parties to support a second referendum rather than crash out of the EU.

“We look forward to working constructively with you to secure the continuing success of our creative industries. We are confident that, with the right support, the opportunities facing the creative industries will positively impact the whole of the UK.”

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) chair Mike Cherry made appeals to the new premier on three key points: modernisation of business rates, assistance on employment costs and increased investment in phone and broadband infrastructure.

He said: “We had promising discussions with Boris Johnson during his campaign and look forward to working with him on the issues that matter most to small businesses.

“Securing a pro-business EU withdrawal agreement that can command a majority in the House of Commons is task one for this new administration. Brexit has been absorbing government bandwidth for years now, leaving domestic challenges unaddressed.

“We need to get back to basics.” 

The Institute of Directors (IoD) equally called on Johnson to keep SMEs in mind when moving forward, requesting that he provide financial support to help them prepare for and adjust to Brexit, while reforming training systems and incentivising investment.

Interim director general Edwin Morgan said: “The UK faces long-term skills challenges that have contributed to stalling productivity growth across sectors and regions. Firms are crying out for infrastructure upgrades, while high costs and uncertainty are often stalling their own investment plans.

“A no deal Brexit would only add to the uncertainty and distract from these challenges but avoiding a disorderly exit will enable the country to focus on them and move forward to everyone's benefit. But whatever shape Brexit takes it is businesses that will bear much of the brunt of adapting, so we will continue to lead the charge for greater support for preparation.

“IoD members are eager to see the country’s new leader channel his energies toward the task of bolstering British enterprise.”

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