This is the election where anything could happen. The Conservative Party has a strong poll lead and are favourites at the bookies, but as we know from past experience, there is a long way to go. Election debates, battle buses, controversies and wall to wall media coverage stand between us and our next government. Remember Theresa May’s disastrous manifesto launch which saw her commanding lead melt away in 2017? There are key moments in every election. In 2015, Ed Miliband lost his battle with a bacon sandwich and with it, his battle for Number 10. In 2010, the “I agree with Nick” debates were a breakthrough for the Lib Dems. Those with longer memories may remember John Prescott’s punch in 2001, or even Jennifer’s ear in 1992. There are 37 days to go. Expect the unexpected.
We are often asked by clients what the prospects are of a General Election taking place this year. Politics is becoming increasingly unpredictable these days and anything could happen, but we think it is about 70/30 that there will not be an election. Read more
The prospect of the UK crashing out of Europe grows every day
Our politicians seem more focussed on what they don’t want during transition and after Brexit, rather than a clear plan for what the UK does want. The recently resigned Brexit Minister Lord Bridges told the House of Lords of his frustration. “What do we value? Sovereignty and control or market access and trade? There are still no clear answers to these basic questions”. Angela Merkel meanwhile says “we are open to any kind of partnership but it is in the UKs hands to tell us how close a partnership it wants”. Read more
Consultation is never a silver bullet to securing planning permission, but it is necessary and de-risks the process, says Louise Page-Jennings. Read more
This has been another week dominated by Brexit. Despite Zac Goldsmith’s greatest efforts, the Richmond by-election became a vote about Brexit rather than Heathrow expansion. He wouldn’t have been helped by notes from Mark Field’s aide, purportedly revealing a hard ‘have your cake and eat it’ Brexit strategy. Read more
In a year which has seen elections in London, Scotland, Wales much of England and across the UK, it seems extraordinary that we might be subjected to another early poll. Yet rumours abound of a snap election. One hack claims MPs have been secretly taken into No. 10 to have their election photo with the new PM.
This is why I don’t think it’s going to happen. (Warning – predictions made on this blog are subject to change.) Read more
Unlike Tories and Labour, neither the SNP’s rapidly rising membership nor the recent upheavals of Brexit and a change in Prime Minister have unsettled the party machine. In stark contrast to the public airing of sectarian party divisions this conference season, the conference saw little public division. Instead the tensions within the party membership are under the surface. Long-time party members could be heard commenting on the increasingly commercial focus of the conference. Read more
Women and Work APPG takes Labour conference by storm
“It’s not that women aren’t working, it’s that work isn’t working for women” or so claimed Angela Rayner when she spoke at the Women and Work APPG’s inaugural fringe event at Labour conference. Read more