Boris Johnson during his speech at Blackpool and The Fylde College in Blackpool, Lancashire where he announced new measures to potentially help people onto the property ladder.
Boris Johnson has given a confused and confusing speech – that’s the verdict on social media, at least – as the prime minister tried to put his premiership back on track.
Johnson spoke in Blackpool days after 148 of his own MPs – or 41% – voted to kick him out of No 10. And in an effort to ease their concerns about his leadership, the PM threw the kitchen sink at his problems as he lurched from policy to promise. Many struggled to find a coherent agenda at the heart of it.
Some couldn’t find the thread
While the address was supposed to focus on the housing crisis, it took some time to get there.
Johnson riffed about the government being “firmly on your side” in cutting living costs, and British farmers got a special mention.
“We do not grow many olives in this country that I am aware of – why do we have a tariff of 93p per kilo of Turkish olive oil?,” he said, curiously.
“Why do we have a tariff on bananas? This is a truly amazing and versatile country, but as far as I know we don’t grow many bananas, not even in Blackpool.”
This speech was billed as big reset for Boris Johnson after his narrow no confidence win.
So far it's all over the place – tax, growth olives, bananas. Suspect it will offer little comfort to Tory MPs who feel Government lacks clear direction.
— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) June 9, 2022
“We do not grow many olives in this country that I’m aware of… Why do we have a tariff on bananas?” asks Boris Johnson, 20 minutes into his speech, we were told was about housing.
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) June 9, 2022
Ten points and a full house to whoever had olive oil and bananas on their Boris Johnson speech bingo card
— Caitlin Doherty (@_CaitlinDoherty) June 9, 2022As ever, there was some wordplay
Johnson acknowledged the “spooling digits on the petrol pumps”, announced a “benefits to bricks” scheme, and vowed not to allow Vladimir Putin the “partial success of swallowing” some of Ukraine.
People were checking their watches.
Boris Johnson has now been talking for 10 minutes and has yet to say anything new
— John Crace (@JohnJCrace) June 9, 2022
Is anyone else watching this fascinating new reality show on sky news right now, where some guy from the pub has to get on stage with a second’s notice and launch a brand new plan for housing entirely off the top of his head?
— Tom Peck (@tompeck) June 9, 2022
the theme of the speech was please stfu about partygate now pls
— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) June 9, 2022
I really hope there are some Tory MPs watching this garbage speech with a creeping sense of shame about the way they voted on Monday.
— Sam Freedman (@Samfr) June 9, 2022He was perhaps not entirely across the detail
When he did get to housing, it didn’t go well.
Experts have panned two key announcements – extending the right to buy for housing association tenants and giving people receiving benefits the chance to use the cash to buy homes – and Johnson also refused to guarantee the government would meet its manifesto target of building 300,000 homes a year by the middle of the decade.
“I can’t give you a cast-iron guarantee that we’re going to get to a number in a particular year,” he said.
Manifesto promises are as close to “cast-iron guarantees” as you can get in politics.
Hmmm – Boris Johnson says he "can’t give you a cast iron guarantee that we will get to a particular number in a particular year" when asked about the Tory manifesto promise to build 300,000 homes a year by mid 2020s
— Lizzy Buchan (@LizzyBuchan) June 9, 2022
Boris Johnson on housebuilding. “I can’t give you a cast iron guarantee we are going to get to a number in a particular year.”
But the Tory manifesto 2019 did give such a guarantee to build 300,000/yr by 2025 and "at least a million more homes" by 2024. pic.twitter.com/RZwcT0fUUV
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) June 9, 2022It wouldn’t be a Johnson speech without a fact check
The prime minister also claimed he “built more social housing” as London Mayor than either Labour mayors of the capital, Ken Livingstone and Sadiq Khan.
Not strictly true, many pointed out.
A slightly out of date (but still broadly relevant) factchecker from me on Boris Johnson's claim to be "massively outbuilding" Sadiq Khan as London mayor
TL;DR – no, he did not, if you apply any sort of fair criteriahttps://t.co/VmScwvfJcV
— Peter Apps (@PeteApps) June 9, 2022
"I built more than 100,000 affordable homes in London in my time as mayor"
94,001 affordable London homes were built 2008 – 2016.
63,222 of these were built under the National Affordable Homes Programme – a Labour govt scheme which Johnson had no influence over. pic.twitter.com/FkT8QCFP9n
— Adam Schwarz (@AdamJSchwarz) June 9, 2022Related…’Baffling, Unworkable And Dangerous’: Experts React To Boris Johnson’s Housing PlansBoris Johnson Admits Manifesto Pledge To Build Homes Could Be BrokenMichael Gove Says He Doesn’t Know How Many People Will Benefit From New Housing Policy