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Following the results of the Conservative Party leadership election announced today (Tuesday), TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has called on Boris Johnson to tackle the root causes of working people’s frustrations.

On Mr Johnson’s promise to unite Britain, Frances said:

“Trade unionists have a lot of experience of bringing working people together.

“We know that strong communities can only be built on the back of strong values – of respect, equality, dignity, justice, fairness and honesty.

“And we have always been prepared to engage with governments, from across the political spectrum, on the basis of those values.

“But if Mr Johnson really wants to unite Britain, he must start by addressing the root causes of people’s anger and frustration. Austerity, low pay and falling living standards have taken a terrible toll on working families and our communities. And inequality is eating away at our democracy.”

On the threat of a no-deal Brexit, Frances said:

“Let’s be clear that working people cannot take the hit of a catastrophic no-deal Brexit.

“Even to threaten it shows a reckless disregard for jobs, rights and livelihoods, and for peace in Northern Ireland. The impacts would be felt for generations to come.

“No prime minister who truly cared about uniting and rebuilding Britain would take that step.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

- Congress 2019 will be held in the Brighton Centre from Sunday 8 September to Wednesday 11 September. Free media passes can be obtained by visiting www.tuc.org.uk/applying-media-or-external-visitor-credentials and completing an online form. Applications must be in by noon on Tuesday 27 August. Any received later than that will be processed in Brighton and will cost £75 +VAT.

- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.

Frances’s full statement reads:

Throughout his campaign for Conservative leader, Boris Johnson has said he wants to unite the country. Trade unionists have a lot of experience of bringing working people together.

We know that strong communities can only be built on the back of strong values – of respect, equality, dignity, justice, fairness and honesty.

And we have always been prepared to engage with governments, from across the political spectrum, on the basis of those values.

But if Mr Johnson really want to unite Britain, he must start by addressing the root causes of people’s anger and frustration. Austerity, low pay and falling living standards have taken a terrible toll on working families and our communities. And inequality is eating away at our democracy.

Populist slogans and cavalier promises won’t cut it. Whatever our race or religion, working people need real change.

With that need in mind, these should be the next government’s immediate priorities:

1. A ban on zero-hours contracts, and a crackdown on all forms of insecure work.

2. Proper funding for our NHS, our schools and all our public services.

3. Action to finally get real pay rising for all workers.

Finally, let’s be clear that working people cannot take the hit of a catastrophic no-deal Brexit.

Even to threaten it shows a reckless disregard for jobs, rights and livelihoods, and for peace in Northern Ireland. The impacts would be felt for generations to come.

No prime minister who truly cared about uniting and rebuilding Britain would take that step.