Here's an idea
2G services were/are run by Vodafone, O2, Orange and T-Mobile; the last two having merged and taken over by BT. Three used Orange's network for 2G so they don't have a presence.
Using the old tried and tested technique of the Government persuading (bullying) BT to maintain a public service commitment paid for by private customers, Boris should get BT/EE to maintain basic 2G network coverage and allow O2 and Vodafone to turn theirs off to save money or use the frequencies for 5G Tweak the 2G roaming settings so that any remaining 2G phone/SIMs can roam onto BT/EE.
Job done; Vodafone and O2 get a freebie, BT carries the can again and the political problem goes away.