BORIS JOHNSON said ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet, folks’ as his cabinet met for the first time since the election.
The prime minister told his top team yesterday the months between him taking office in July and the landslide Tory victory had been ‘very frenetic’.
But he added: ‘We are going to have to work even harder, because people have a high level of expectation, and we must deliver for them.
‘We should have absolutely no embarrassment about saying we are a people’s government, this is a people’s cabinet.’
The Tories took dozens of Labour seats in the North and Midlands as they landed an 80-seat majority in Thursday’s election. And Mr Johnson warned that the faith of voters must now be rewarded.
He told the cabinet: ‘There is a huge, huge agenda of delivering social justice, of addressing every problem from social care to homelessness, to levelling up and uniting across our country, with better infrastructure, better education and technology.
‘That’s what we want to do. We are Conservatives, we believe in extending opportunity across the whole of the United Kingdom, and that is what we are going to devote ourselves to.’ The PM allowed Sky News cameras to record the start of the cabinet meeting as he told ministers they would be required to ‘work 24 hours a day’.
There were nervous chuckles as he demanded that they chant back to him election pledges on health and crime.
‘How many new hospitals are we going to build?’ he asked. ‘Forty,’ they replied.
‘Correct,’ the PM said. ‘How many more nurses are we going to hire?’ ‘Fifty thousand,’ the cabinet responded.
‘You know the answers,’ Mr Johnson told them. ‘How many more police?’
‘Twenty thousand,’ his top team dutifully answered.
The prime minister, who hailed new figures that show unemployment at its lowest since the 1970s, admitted he risked sounding ‘more North Korean than usual’ during his tub-thumping speech.
‘The voters of this country have changed this government and our party for the better, and we must repay their trust now by working flat out to change our country for the better,’ he added.
Mr Johnson’s comments echoed former US president Ronald Reagan, who told voters in 1984: ‘America’s best days lie ahead. You ain’t seen nothing yet.’ He had previously borrowed from former Labour prime minister Tony Blair, saying to MPs after the election: ‘We are not the masters. We are the servants now.’
Despite his vow to serve the people, he was accused yesterday by Labour’s Chris Bryant of ‘sticking two fingers up to democracy’ by allowing Nicky Morgan to stay as culture secretary.
She stepped down as an MP before the election but will serve in the government after being made a peer. Zac Goldsmith is also expected to join the Lords and stay a minister after losing his Richmond seat to the Lib Dems by 8,000 votes.
■ A FORMER commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission was yesterday appointed to lead a review into prejudice within the Tory Party. Prof Swaran Singh, of the University of Warwick, will examine how to improve handling of complaints of all forms of discrimination, including Islamophobia.