Thursday 28 November 2019 1:26 pm

Boris Johnson says David Cameron government's austerity was a mistake

Boris Johnson has lashed the Cameron government for six years of austerity, saying the policy direction was a mistake.

The Prime Minister hit out at the keystone economic policy of the Cameron years, comparing it to post-war food-rationing by then-Labour chancellor Stafford Cripps.

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He told The Spectator: “I remember having conversations with colleagues in the government that came in in 2010 saying I thought austerity was just not the right way forward for the UK.

“I’ve always thought, ‘why use the language of Stafford Cripps?’”

The Prime Minister’s rebuke of austerity appears to be an attempt to distance himself from the legacy of the Cameron government.

The controversial policy – enacted through public spending cuts – has been blamed by some for increasing inner-city violence and homelessness, while also being blamed for worsening NHS outcomes.

Johnson, meanwhile, is campaigning on a less conservative fiscal policy platform and has touted his commitment to public services by promising to hire 20,000 new police officers and spend £34bn on the NHS.

Labour’s employment rights spokesperson, and Jeremy Corbyn ally, Laura Pidcock said the Prime Minister’s denunciation of austerity was “an outright lie”.

“We know that Boris Johnson thinks that single mothers should be subjected to ‘destitution on a Victorian scale’,” she said.

“The idea he was against vicious cuts that he previously demanded is an insult to people’s intelligence.”

Johnson, when he was mayor of London, had a public row with Cameron over cuts to police spending.

He criticised Cameron’s government for cutting spending in the wake of the 2011 London riots.

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“If you ask me whether I think there is a case for cutting police budgets in the light of these events, then my answer to that would be ‘no’,” he said.

“I think that case was always pretty frail, and it has been substantially weakened.”