South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis criticises Boris Johnson’s conference speech – “The best the Prime Minister can offer is a few jokes and some vague promises.”

South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis has criticised a speech given by Prime Minister Boris at the Tory party conference and said ‘the best he could offer was a few jokes and vague promises’.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 4:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 5:05 pm

Mayor Jarvis, a former Paratrooper who served several tours of Afghanistan, hit out at the PM who said that the evacuation and airlift of Kabul was a ‘triumph’. Jarvis said it had been a foreign policy ‘failure’ and ‘pure revisionism’ to say otherwise.

The mayor also took issue with Johnson’s comments on levelling up and mentioned Doncaster when he said that the borough had half the number of university graduates than York despite being 20 minutes away on the train.

The speech was also criticised which came on the same day that 5.5 million families would have £20-a-week cut from their Universal Credit payments.

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Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis MP

Mayor Jarvis, who is also MP for Barnsley Central, said:“Almost two years after the Prime Minister pledged to ‘Level Up’ our communities, we heard one policy announcement – and that sounds suspiciously like an old Department for Education scheme. It’s just not good enough. There is no detail, no plan and no commitment.

“The North is crying out for better transport links, and we’ve waited months to see the government’s Integrated Rail Plan. This continued delay is fuelling suspicions that what we’re about to get falls far short of what we’ve been promised.

“I was further dismayed to hear the Prime Minister describe the airlift out of Kabul as a “great triumph”. This was a failure of foreign policy, and people are still trapped in Afghanistan more than a month later. To paint it as a great triumph is pure revisionism and beggars belief.

“On the day millions of families in the UK – and a quarter of households in South Yorkshire – are losing vital income, when we have a cost of living crisis, when working people are facing National Insurance hikes and when we’re being warned about empty shelves at Christmas, the best the Prime Minister can offer is a few jokes and some vague promises.”

In his address to delegates and Conservative members, Mr Johnson praised the NHS, the vaccine roll out and spoke about levelling up the regions and nations of the UK.

He also said the UK is heading ‘towards a high-wage, high-skill, high productivity and low tax economy – despite passing plans for an increase in taxes to pay for health and social care.

But the PM said it was ‘responsible’ to raise taxes to fund healthcare.

More trees planting, increasing rape prosecutions and tackling people traffickers were some of the other points in his speech.

The address in Manchester comes amid disruption to food and fuel supplies and concerns over the rising cost of living.

But Doncaster Conservative party chairman and borough mayoral candidate James Hart said: “I know I’m biased but that was one of the best leaders speeches that I’ve seen. Passion, direction, humour and compassion.”