In his last speech as prime minister, Boris Johnson said his government was delivering on its “huge manifesto commitments”.
He made a series of claims – about its record on police, nurses, hospitals and, of course, Brexit. We’ve examined some of them.
‘13,790 more police on the streets’
The government promised 20,000 more police for England and Wales by March 2023.
The latest figures, up to 30 June 2022, do show an extra 13,790 police officers have been recruited under the government’s Police Uplift scheme.
But that doesn’t make up for police numbers falling by 20,545 between March 2010 and March 2019 – under Conservative-led governments.
‘50,000 nurses by the end of this Parliament’
This refers to a manifesto commitment to achieve these numbers by 2025.
The latest figures show 319,846 full-time equivalent NHS nurses and health visitors in May 2022. That is up 23,753 since December 2019.
So, there are still 26,247 posts to fill.
But another government pledge – to recruit 6,000 more GPs by 2025 – wasn’t mentioned by Mr Johnson.
Progress on this pledge is much slower. There were 35,257 full-time equivalent GPs in post in July 2022. That’s up by just 738 since the end of December 2019.
’40 new hospitals by the end of the decade’
While many people would assume this means brand new hospitals, the government’s definition is different.
Its description of “new hospital” includes new wings of existing hospitals, as well as refurbished hospitals.
In December 2021, analysis done byReality Check and the Nuffield Trust found that of the 40 projects:
- three were entirely new hospitals
- three involved rebuilding non-urgent care hospitals
- 12 were new wings within existing hospitals
- 22 were rebuilding projects
When asked for an update, on 6 September, a Department of Health spokesperson told us that one of the 40 hospitals opened for patients last year and a further six were under construction.
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‘Got Brexit done’
This is a claim Mr Johnson has made many times and, in a literal sense, the UK did leave the EU on 31 January 2020.
But if it was intended to mean Brexit was done and dusted, this has clearly not happened.
A huge amount remains unresolved, from Northern Ireland to financial services.
A large number of trade deals have been signed around the world (the majority of which simply replace the ones the UK already had as an EU member) but a deal with the US hasn’t happened.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which makes economic judgements for the government, predicts that leaving the EU will reduce the UK’s imports and exports by about 15% in the long term, with about a 4% hit to productivity.
Supporters of Brexit say sovereignty has been restored, and unwanted regulations can now be cut.
‘Fastest vaccine rollout in Europe’
The UK was the first country to approve a Covid vaccine – on 2 December 2020.
Its vaccine rollout began on 8 December 2020 – weeks before the EU’s.
The UK vaccine programme was the fastest in the EU until May 2021.
After that, other EU countries caught up if you look at doses per 100 people in a country’s population.
‘Winning the biggest majority since 1987’
This is only true if you look at the biggest Conservative party majority since 1987 – which Mr Johnson’s 80-seat majority in the 2019 election was.
But it’s not if you look at other political parties. Labour, under Tony Blair, won a 179-seat majority at the 1997 election.
Johnson’s Conservatives did win the highest share of the vote in the UK for any party since 1979 – 43.6%.
We are currently looking at other claims Mr Johnson made in his speech.