Boris Johnson has vowed to defeat Covid and build a better country over the next decade in his leader’s speech to the virtual Conservative conference.
Evoking the UK’s recovery from World War Two, he said he wanted to build a “new Jerusalem”, with opportunity for all, improved housing and healthcare.
He warned the UK could not return to normal after the pandemic, which would be a “catalyst” for major change.
And he rejected suggestions he had “lost his mojo” as “drivel”.
In his speech, delivered without the usual conference audience, he said he wanted to see the back of coronavirus and allow the country to flourish again.
He said: “Even in the darkest moments we can see the bright future ahead. And we can see how to build it and we will build it together.”
‘No repair job’
The PM praised the UK’s fight against the virus, saying he had had “more than enough” of the disease – which he insisted would be overcome by “collective effort”.
He insisted the pandemic could not be allowed to “hold us back or slow us down” and the country that emerged from the crisis would be very different from the one that preceded it.
“It is not enough to go back to normal. We have lost too much. We have mourned too many…We will not content ourselves with a repair job.”
He pledged to make the UK a world-leader in green energy by 2030, to end the “injustice” in the provision of social care and expanding one-to-one teaching to pupils left behind during the pandemic but also those of “exceptional ability”.
He pledged to get more 20 to 30-year-olds on the housing ladder by offering fixed-rate mortgages available to those with just 5% deposits.
He added: “In the depths of the Second World War, in 1942 when just about everything had gone wrong, the government sketched out a vision of the post-war new Jerusalem that they wanted to build. And that is what we are doing now – in the teeth of this pandemic.
“We are resolving not to go back to 2019, but to do better: to reform our system of government, to renew our infrastructure; to spread opportunity more widely and fairly and to create the conditions for a dynamic recovery that is led not by the state but by free enterprise.”