Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks of vision for ‘great South West’ on visit to East Devon

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to ‘level up’ the West Country and deliver his vision for ‘the great South West’ when he visited East Devon today.

The Conservative Party leader stopped off at Darts Farm in Clyst St George while on a whistle-stop tour of the county.

He threw his support behind Tory prospective parliamentary candidate Simon Jupp.

Asked what specifically what a Conservative government would do for the people of East Devon, Mr Johnson reeled off a long list of manifesto promises that he said would create the platform for growth.

He said: “We want to unite and level up across the country, particularly in the West Country.

“We are investing in hospitals, in the NHS, and we are putting I think 143 more police on the streets of Devon and Cornwall.”

Mr Johnson said a Conservative government would be putting £4billion into better flood defences nationwide.

When asked if the funding would extend to projects such as Sidmouth’s £8.9million beach management scheme, he said: “We will help you and if it comes under flood defences, then it qualifies.”

On infrastructure, he called for transformative projects to take place on the region’s roads, saying: “When I look at Devon, I have been driving down this way for all my life and the A303 remains basically the same it was when I was a kid.

“We have got to dual the A303 and the A358 at Taunton, and there are many, many schemes that we should be doing, and we are putting £83million into the North Devon Link Road.

“Roads can be transformative, but I also want more people on the buses and we are putting more money into rural bus networks and, as I have said exhaustively, on the Dawlish rail line, we will be putting £80million to have a better sea wall at Dawlish.”

He also pledged to level up education funding across the country, with a 4.9 per cent increase for every school in Devon, as well as trying to end the ‘not-spots’ for mobile phone coverage.

Mr Johnson added: “We have an agenda designed to create the platform for growth. If you improve the roads, improve the infrastructure, and then you give businesses the confidence to invest and to create high-skilled jobs to take the economy forward, and then you get the taxation to pay for the fantastic infrastructure.

“I have a vision for the great South West and I want to encourage it.

“But above all, I want to get Brexit done, as that is the great thing that is hanging over the country and holding back the economy.

“The biggest drag anchor on Devon is the failure to deliver Brexit and it is taking the oomph out of the UK economy, but we can get it back if we get it done. We have a great deal, ready to go.”

The project currently faces a race against time to find a £1.5million funding shortfall.

Mr Johnson also revealed that as a child he used to swim in the Rixer Exe, saying it was ‘absolutely beautiful.’

The prospective parliamentary candidates running in East Devon in the general election are: Peter Faithfull (Independent); Henry Gent (Green Party); Simon Jupp (Conservatives); Eleanor Rylance (Liberal Democrats); Dan Wilson (Labour); Claire Wright (Independent).

PHOTOS & VIDEO: Boris Johnson arrives in East Devon and visits Darts Farm

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