Boris Johnson lays out £13bn hospital boost as Tory conference starts

Boris Johnson has laid out a £13bn plan to build new hospitals and replace out of date buildings, in an NHS policy announcement at the start of his party conference.

The prime minister said "this is the moment for our country to invest in the NHS for the long-term", as he visited North Manchester General Hospital in Crumpsall.

The prime minister told The Sunday Telegraph that his government would embark on the "biggest programme of hospital building in a generation".

"We have the funds to do it, we're going to make the funds available because I think it's the number one priority of the British people," he told reporters at the hospital.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener that while it has been announced there will be 40 new hospitals, only six are actually ready to be built.

He said: "We've given the go-ahead to 40 new hospitals - six of them have got plans already, ready to get going immediately."

He added the plan would start with a £2.7bn cash injection for the six hospitals over the next five years.

The remaining projects would be completed over the second half of the next decade.

Mr Johnson said it would be funded by taxpayer money, adding: "It is new money. It is bright, shiny, new money coming out of the Treasury in a great geyser."

He told the newspaper: "We're launching the biggest hospital building programme in a generation. You will have seen that on the steps of Downing Street I announced 20 new hospital upgrades," he said.

"We're now following that up with 40 new hospitals we're going to be doing across the country. It's the biggest programme of hospital building in a generation."

Mr Johnson has endured a tumultuous week after being widely criticised for his use of language, and faces pressure over links with businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri while he was Mayor of London.

Mr Johnson refused to answer questions about his personal and political battles as he arrived for the start of conference, which begins on Sunday.

Protesters gathered outside the ring of steel which guards the conference venue, with anti-Brexit chants heard as Mr Johnson left his vehicle.

Chants of "Boris is a liar" and "get your Johnson out of our democracy" were among the cries from the demonstrators.

The government's defeat at the Supreme Court and failure to mean a Commons vote to allow a recess means Conservative MPs will have to shuttle between Manchester and Westminster to counter the threat of losing votes in parliament.

A senior SNP MP said opposition parties could hold a vote of no-confidence in the government next week, in a bid to replace Mr Johnson with a caretaker prime minister who would secure a Brexit extension.

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn is expected to convene another meeting of opposition leaders in Westminster on Monday to plot their next moves aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit on October 31.

A small group of protesters gathered outside the ring of steel which surrounds the conference venue, and their anti-Brexit cries could be heard as Mr Johnson got out of his ministerial Jaguar.

“Boris is a liar” and “get your Johnson out of our democracy” were among the slogans chanted by the demonstrators.