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Barking and Dagenham politicians react to Boris Johnson becoming prime minister

PUBLISHED: 13:37 23 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:05 23 July 2019

Boris Johnson on a visit to the Ford Dagenham engine plant. Picture: Isabel Infantes

Boris Johnson on a visit to the Ford Dagenham engine plant. Picture: Isabel Infantes

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The borough's politicians have reacted with mixed feelings to the election of Boris Johnson as new Conservative leader and prime minister.

Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge and Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas. Picture: Parliament.Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge and Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas. Picture: Parliament.

Mr Johnson won the Conservative Party's leadership contest with 92,153 votes compared to his rival Jeremy Hunt's 46,656.

But the 55-year-old faces challenges at Number 10, including keeping his "do or die" promise to meet the looming Brexit deadline of October 31.

Labour MP for Barking Dame Margaret Hodge said: "His routine money-wasting as mayor of London, his divisive and hate-filled rhetoric in the Brexit debate and his incompetence as foreign secretary all make Boris Johnson completely unfit to be the prime minister.

"His mission to slash taxes for the wealthiest and pursue a chaotic No Deal Brexit will do nothing to serve the people of Barking, I'll be doing all I can to challenge his hopeless policies and out-of-touch leadership."

Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham Jon Cruddas called the election of Mr Johnson a "desperate" attempt to fend-off challenges from Nigel Farage.

While he wished Mr Johnson well, he also cautioned him not to indulge himself in vanity projects.

He added: "The new PM has been elected by a few thousand Conservative Party members. He has no mandate. For the sake of democratic legitimacy he should call a general election."

Leader of the Barking and Dagenham Council Darren Rodwell, also a member of the Labour Party, had a more tempered reaction to Mr Johnson's election.

Boris Johnson on a visit to Dagenham Heathway. Picture: Ken MearsBoris Johnson on a visit to Dagenham Heathway. Picture: Ken Mears

He said as a Labour council under a Conservative government, he would work with everyone who wanted to work for Barking and Dagenham's residents, despite any political differences.

"We had a good relationship with him when he was the mayor of London," he said. "I hope that will continue with him being prime minister."

The current mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, also said he wanted to work with the new PM.

Calling for reversing police and transport cuts, for investment in housing and further London devolution, the only thing he said he would completely oppose him on is Brexit.

Andrew Boff is a Conservative London Assembly member living in Barking Riverside. He said: "Boris was a great advocate for devolution to London as mayor. I'm sure he will carry that forward as PM and give local authorities the tools to do the job.

"Barking and Dagenham residents want us to leave the EU. Boris will deliver on that promise."

In 2016, more than 60per cent of voters in the borough wanted to leave the EU.

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