Boris Johnson has defended Number 10’s response to the coronavirus crisis, claiming his recovery plan will see Britain “back on its feet”.
The prime minister said his administration would “get this country moving”, “defeat the virus” and soon start delivering on some of the Tory manifesto commitments.
In one of his typical rhetorical flourishes, the prime minister likened the Covid crisis to a nautical expedition.
He said: “In the last few months we’ve been sailing into the teeth of a gale, no question.
“Sometimes it is necessary to tack here and there in response to the facts as they change, in response to the wind’s change but we have been going steadily in the direction, in the course we set out and we have not been blown off that course.
“And that is thanks to you, to the government but it is overwhelming with thanks to the British people and the way they have come together, the way the whole country has come together to defeat the virus so thank you all for everything that you have done.”
Throughout the pandemic, so many businesses have done amazing work to support their staff and their community.
And we’re going to do right by them too.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 1, 2020
He added: “I think there is still going to be some turbulence ahead and of course things are still going to be difficult on the economic front and of course we still need to get this disease absolutely out of our systems but I am absolutely confident that if we continue in the way that we have that there will be calmer days, brighter days and calmer seas ahead.”
The comments came as the prime minister announced the appointment of Simon Case as Cabinet Secretary and head of the Civil Service.
The 41-year-old will succeed Sir Mark Sedwill, who announced in June that he would be standing down amid rumours of a rift in 10 Downing Street.
Mr Case, a former private secretary to the Duke of Cambridge, takes on the job as the country’s top civil servant as the shake-up of Whitehall under Mr Johnson and adviser Dominic Cummings continues.
Currently the permanent secretary in Number 10, his new role will put him in charge of overseeing the day-to-day running of the government and joining it up with the prime minister’s policy priorities.
His appointment follows five departures of senior civil servants this year alone, under the so-called “hard rain” overhaul reportedly orchestrated by Mr Cummings, Mr Johnson’s de facto chief of staff.