Ten points on what happens now:
- Boris Johnson will start forming his new Government over the weekend. Most of the current Cabinet could be reappointed but briefs will be reshuffled. Michael Gove, who has had a good election, is tipped to become International Trade Secretary. Former Defence Secretary, Penny Mordaunt will hope for a return, while rising stars, such as Rishi Sunak, who represented the party in election tv debates, could be promoted.
- Parliament meets next week. MPs start ‘swearing in’ on Tuesday and the Queens Speech takes place next Thursday 19th December, setting out the Government’s priorities.
- Boris Johnson’s ‘Brexit Deal’ with the EU will be put before Parliament on Friday 20th December and will be approved with a big majority. The EU Parliament will approve the deal in early January and the UK will be out of the EU by 31st January 2020, with a ‘transition period’ to the end of the year.
- Brexit thoughts then turn to negotiating the future trade relationship between the UK and the EU. The timing is a challenge – trade deals usually take many years to negotiate. The draft ‘declaration’ by the UK and the EU, published in late October, envisages “an ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced economic partnership. This partnership will be comprehensive, encompassing a Free Trade Agreement, as well as wider sectoral co-operation… It should facilitate trade to the extent possible, while respecting the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union”. That roughly translates as “it’s complicated”!
- Public spending is due to rise. The Conservative manifesto commits to increase spending on the NHS, education and policing. It pledges a rise in teachers pay, help for student nurses, and pensions to rise by at least 2.5% a year.
- Social care reform must be a priority. The Conservative manifesto contains only the principle that no-one will have to sell their home to pay for care, but as a government with a majority and a clear five year term, there will be pressure for a long term solution to the social care crisis.
- Climate change featured in all the manifestos, with the Conservative’s pledging to reach net zero by 2050. Linked to this is a pledge to spend £6.3bn on improving the energy efficiency of social housing.
- Scottish Independence is on the agenda as far as the triumphant SNP are concerned. Nicola Sturgeon will press Boris Johnson for a timetable for a new referendum. Johnson will resist.
- Labour will spend some time in a blame game and gearing up for a leadership election. Jeremy Corbyn has said he will not lead Labour into the next election and John McDonnel has ruled himself out. Angela Rayner, Emily Thornberry, Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long Bailey and Jess Philipps are all contenders. The Lib Dems also need a new leader after Jo Swinson lost her seat – Layla Moran is the favourite.
- We have a stable government and a Parliament that will start to function again. The make up of Parliament has changed significantly and there are many new MPs to engage with, including some who weren’t expecting to be there. However you voted yesterday, we can all celebrate Parliament becoming more equal with the most women MPs ever elected. Assume it is a five year Parliament, develop your engagement plans and, of course, ask Connect to help!