For a prime minister who has already been in office seven months, leading a party that’s already been in power for 10 years, Boris Johnson has come a long way on promises alone. One of the most effective, so far, has been his pledge to “level up” Britain. For many voters and commentators, this egalitarian-sounding catchphrase signals a new Conservatism: one that cares about the whole country, rather than just the comfortable southern areas Tory governments usually favour. For more sceptical observers, the phrase is primarily tactical but clever: a way for the Tories to pretend to prioritise the pivotal seats in neglected parts of the north and Midlands that they gained in December, and to further disorient a Labour party still dizzy from defeat. What approach to levelling up Britain’s starkly unequal regions – by many measures, among the most unequal of any rich country – might the Tories take? Shortly after becoming prime minister Johnson gave a clue. Last September he told several of his cabinet that he saw himself as “basically a Brexity Hezza”. Since the former Tory grandee Michael Heseltine was (and is) a prominent remainer – and is estranged from the party as a result… Read full this story
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