With the fate of his premiership in the hands of his Tory friends and foes, Boris Johnson pleaded with Tory MPs to back him in Monday night’s confidence vote.
In a letter to members of his party ahead of the vote, as reported by PA Media, he asked for the “golden chance to put this behind us” and move forward as “one united party”, reflecting on the ruling party’s journey through Brexit. , the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Johnson also outlined the plans he intends to carry out if he remains in office.
Here is the text of his letter in full:
Tonight we have the chance to end weeks of media speculation and move this country forward, immediately, as a united party.
Tonight is a time to draw a line under the issues our opponents want us to talk about – and focus instead on what really matters: the needs of the voters who sent us to Westminster.
I ask for your support tonight because I know how much we can accomplish together.
Together, we won the Conservative Party’s biggest mandate in 40 years. As we promised, we resolved the long Brexit crisis and created a new friendly relationship with the European Union.
When the UK was hit by the worst global pandemic in a century, we demonstrated the will and the adherence to deliver the first vaccine approved anywhere in the world, followed by the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe.
It’s because we made tough but responsible decisions during the pandemic that we were able to quickly reopen our economy – with the result that we now have the lowest unemployment rate since 1974.
And we made the tough decision to become the first European country to help Ukrainians protect themselves against Russian aggression; and I am proud of the leadership the UK has shown.
From taking over social care to entering into an economic and migration partnership with Rwanda, we have shown time and time again that we can be trusted to deliver bold and innovative solutions to difficult and long-standing issues. .
I say all this not because I want to derive satisfaction from past achievements, but because now is the time to focus every ounce of that same energy and focus on the priorities of the British people.
As the whole world grapples with the economic impact of (Vladimir) Putin’s aggression, we have already taken decisive action – just as we took decisive action during Covid – to protect the public from the surge in energy price.
We are helping eight million of the most vulnerable households with £1,200 of support, among many other measures.
We can do this because we have the fiscal firepower to help, due to the difficult – and contested – decisions we have made during Covid. We find the money because we are compassionate conservatives and because it is the right thing to do.
But we also know that you can’t just spend out of inflation, and you can’t tax your way to growth.
Over the next few weeks, Rishi (Sunak) and I will lay out all the ways we’ll use conservative principles to take advantage of our newfound freedoms, reduce costs, and drive growth.
We will reduce government spending. We will reduce business costs. And we will cut spending for families across the country.
From transport and childcare to energy and housing, we will drive reforms and find ways to cut every major household expense.
And we will of course devote all our energy to reducing the biggest item of household expenditure: the tax bill. It needs to come down, and it will, because it’s the best way to generate the growth we need.
By embarking on this project, we will achieve above all what we were elected to do in 2019: to unite and upgrade, with well-paid and highly qualified jobs throughout the country.
This means that whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever your background, we will give you the opportunity to make the most of your talents.
Moving forward, unlocking the potential of every corner of the UK through our continued investment in infrastructure, skills and technology, we want to make the UK the most successful economy in Europe.
This is our vision: of a strong and prosperous UK, with our beloved Union protected and supported, projecting the best of British values to the world.
We can do it, but it will take all of our collective determination to help our country through the difficult months ahead.
I don’t believe our constituents will forgive us lightly if – just when they most need our focus on them – we seem once again to be focused on Westminster politics. I fear that the only beneficiaries are our adversaries.
I know that over the past few months I have been shot at a lot and I know that this experience has been painful for the whole party.
Some of these reviews may have been fair, others less so. Where there were valid points, I listened and learned and made significant changes.
And I will of course continue to listen and learn from my colleagues about the improvements you want to see.
But I can’t stress enough that we have a golden chance to put this behind us now.
With your support, I believe that tonight we have a great prize within reach. We can put an end to the media’s pet obsession. We can continue the work without the noises.
And I’m absolutely confident that if we can come together in the days ahead, we’ll win again in due time, repay the trust of the 14 million who voted for us, and continue to serve the country we love.