On Thursday last week I attended a specially organised meeting in Dover, where Boris Johnson addressed hundreds of Conservative Party members from across East Kent about his priorities for government, should he be chosen next Wednesday to be our new Prime Minister. The event was hosted by the Dover MP Charlie Elphicke and also supported by our local parliamentary colleagues Damian Green and Craig Mackinlay.
Boris used the meeting to set out some of the main issues he has campaigned on, and in particular his commitment to deliver Brexit and take the UK out of the European Union by the end of October. He also underlined his support for local policing, and in particular to increase the police budget by over £1billion in order to fund the recruitment of more than 20,000 front line officers. In Kent, because of the leadership of our Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott, we have seen the number of Police and Community Support Officers increase by over 400 since 2016, and these additional recruits promised by Boris Johnson should lead to substantially more resources for visible community policing.
In terms of policies to specifically benefit Kent, we were all pleased to hear Boris Johnson committing a future government led by him to completing the dualling of the A2 into Dover. This will be a significant improvement to the road infrastructure in the county and will greatly help with managing traffic flows in and out of the Port of Dover. Boris also stated that he had met with the Port authorities during his visit who confirmed that they were ready for Brexit, with or without a deal, and believed that they would be able to cope with any challenges that this presented in terms of the managing of road freight and other vehicles. Last week I also met with senior executives from Eurotunnel who also assured me that they were prepared for Brexit. Both the Port and the Tunnel have made substantial investments in their systems, and also in additional places to hold vehicles. Further to this we have the scheme funded on the M20 by the Department for Transport, to run a contraflow system on the M20 should the coast bound carriageway between junctions eight and nine be required to hold lorries. As most motorists in Kent know, the barrier will remain in place until the end of October, and then for as long as it is needed after that. I would like to see it go as soon as possible, but I would rather we had our contingency plans in place in case we need them, rather than be starting from scratch should a problem occur.
Finally, I would like to send my congratulations as well to the England men’s cricket team for winning the World Cup. This is a great achievement and matches the triumph of the England women’s cricket team two years ago. I hope that the success of both teams will inspire more people to take up and play cricket.