THE UK has had nearly a decade of Conservative government, bringing the misery of austerity, benefit cuts, food banks and a low-wage economy.

Now the General Election result has ushered in five more years of Tory rule and the question of what will be in store under Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

The plans unveiled in the first days have already set alarm bells ringing.

Fears have been raised over the prospect of a No-Deal Brexit, a rollback of workers’ rights and reform of Parliament and courts – which some interpret as revenge for hampering his efforts to force through Brexit.

Leaving the EU will still dominate the headlines for months to come, with the deadline for departure looming on January 31 next year.

However, it’s far from the only issue facing Johnson, who now has to turn vague pre-election promises into political reality.

Dr Victoria Honeyman, lecturer in British politics at the University of Leeds, said pledges on the NHS, investment in the north of England and immigration policy would be priorities on his domestic agenda.

She added: “Perhaps the biggest ­issue will be in relation to Scotland and Northern Ireland. Can they get Stormont working again?

“Can they resist the increasing calls from the SNP for another independence referendum, particularly if they do well in the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections?

“One benefit they currently have is that the Labour Party – and the LibDems – are in the midst of re-evaluating themselves after the election and finding new leaders, so there is less focus on the Conservative government, but the media and the voters will be watching.

“Many of those new Conservative MPs will need real tangible benefits to take back to their communities if they want to win their seat next time.”

Johnson has insisted he won’t agree to an extension of talks with the EU on a new trade deal – a vow which ­renewed fears of a No-Deal Brexit if negotiations fail by the end of December 2020.

Meanwhile the new EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which has passed its second reading in the House of Commons, has stripped out protections on workers’ rights and unaccompanied refugee children.

In the run-up to the election, concerns were raised that the NHS would be on the table in trade negotiations with the US – an idea that was ­denied by the Prime Minister.

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A clause which would have ­given MPs oversight of negotiations for trade deals has also now been ditched.

Despite Johnson’s combative approach, Honeyman said the UK would be the underdog in talks with global powers.

She said: “The most significant trade deals will be with the big economies – the US, China, the EU, India, Brazil.

“In all these negotiations, Britain may be economically stronger than its geographical size suggests, but it will still be the underdog.

“These nations will demand their pound of flesh, and more, and ­Britain will be in a very difficult position, as it has few options other than to accept concessions to secure its economic markets.”

She said it was impossible to know what the UK might look like in five years’ time.

But she added: “The expectation is that Britain will be dealing with the fallout from Brexit, whatever that is.

“It is possible that the Labour ­Party might have resurrected itself but that is dependent on it offering the electorate what they want, not what some in the party think they want.”

The impact of Brexit on the UK economy could also hamper the Government’s plans to spend more on public services.

While the Conservative manifesto promised Scotland £3.3 billion in Barnett consequentials, this will be dependent on delivering commitments the party has made.

An analysis carried out by the think-tank Institute for Government has suggested promised spending increases will only be enough to maintain standards in the English NHS, not raise them.

Researcher Sarah Nickson said: “If the Government wants to increase spending on other public services, it will need to loosen or break its fiscal rules or raise more revenue from taxes.

“The latter could be tricky as the Government has also promised not to increase rates of VAT, National Insurance or income tax.”

The Queen’s Speech, which outlined the Government’s plans, did not mention Scotland by name – with only a reference to the “integrity and prosperity” of the UK as being of “the utmost importance” to the UK Government.

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of think tank Local Government Information Unit, said the big question was whether the new UK Government would represent continuity or radical change.

He said: “In Scotland, interest is likely to focus on the broader issues addressed in the Queen’s Speech, Brexit, climate change and a commitment to a constitutional review. Across all these areas, the stage seems set for a constitutional showdown between Westminster and Holyrood.

“It is clear that we are heading for a difficult period with a UK civil service that is trying to work with trust and integrity for two very different governments.

“The key rub will be how the Barnett consequential monies for the NHS and other services are used and applied. And where will that leave local government funding.”

Johnson’s plans for reform of the UK’s constitution ­consist of setting up of a ­Constitution, Democracy and ­Human Rights Commission.

The abolition of the fixed-term parliaments legislation introduced by David Cameron is also in his sights, along with plans to introduce voter ID and reform postal voting – which critics say will make it easier for the Tories to win elections.

Details of the commission have yet to be revealed, but it has been viewed as potential retaliation to the ­Supreme Court, which ruled Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament in September was illegal in a case led by SNP MP Joanna Cherry.

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Naomi Smith – chief executive of Best for Britain, a campaign group which was set up to stop Brexit – said: “Johnson’s proposed constitution, democracy and rights commission should set alarm bells ringing for anyone who believes that Parliament must be able to act as a brake on a runaway government.

“We must be hyper-vigilant to any chipping away of the checks and ­balances that keep our democracy functioning. We have already seen that ­Johnson is prepared to bend the law to his will – further subversion by stealth cannot be allowed.”

Meanwhile Johnson has also pledged an immigration shake-up, promoting an “Australian-style points-based system”.

Once again, the details are thin on the ground and with a deadline of January 2021 set by the Conservatives to deliver it, what this will look like is still far from clear.

There are concerns about the impact on Scotland, which relies more heavily on immigration than other parts of the UK for population growth.

Andrew McRae, policy chair for the Federation of Small Business Scotland, has warned any new immigration system must be sufficiently ­flexible to work for Scotland.

He said: “An expensive, bureaucratic system could see a decline in Scotland’s working age population with a devastating impact on growth and tax revenue.”

Johnson is expected to shuffle his Cabinet in the New Year, with major changes to come under the guidance of chief adviser Dominic Cummings.

In the meantime, the PM has made much of focusing on “healing” the nation. On the day the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill passed its second reading in the Commons, he said: “This is the time when we move on and discard the old labels of Leave and Remain.

“In fact, the very words seem tired to me – as defunct as Big-enders and Little-enders, or Montagues and Capulets at the end of the play.

“Now is the time to act together as one reinvigorated nation, one United Kingdom, filled with renewed confidence in our national destiny and determined at last to take advantage of the opportunities that lie before us.”

But Ken Rotenberg, professor in psychology at Keele University, said the “healing” of the nation is likely to be a difficult process.

“The concern we have is that in a recent – very brief – poll Boris Johnson was not regarded as trustworthy and there has been an entire array of all the allegations of misconduct through the course of this election,” he said.

“The people in the poll rated Johnson less trustworthy than they did Corbyn – so that leaves us with a potential predicament, where we might have a government which is not particularly trusted but which is in power, and power perhaps for more popular reasons.

“Any resolution of this is going to take a substantial amount of time, if only because if people are distrusting, it is extremely difficult to change that perception.

“It is a difficult process to renew or re-establish trust once it has been broken. I am not sure how the Government is going to mend it.

“It is going to take a considerable amount of time to ‘heal’ the UK after this election.”