General Election 2019: What can we expect?
30 October 2019
On Monday, Boris Johnson formally agreed to a fresh Brexit extension until 31 January next year, after EU nations granted the Benn Act-mandated request made by the Prime Minister on 19October. Later that day, MPs rejected his call for a general election on 12December.
On Tuesday, after now considering the threat of no-deal to be off the table, or at least pushed comfortably to one side, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would back a December poll. Later that day, MPs voted to overwhelmingly to endorse Johnson’s call for a general election on 12December.
Never mind the mechanics of how we got here for now. Now that we are here, what’s coming next?
Parliament will dissolve next Wednesday and a five-week campaign will commence. The election was conceived as a way to break parliament’s Brexit deadlock, so it will come as no surprise that this should therefore be the defining issue of the campaign. The Conservatives will hope the offer of delivering Brexit on the back of the revised deal struck by Boris Johnson with Brussels will prove persuasive for voters. Labour and the Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, will continue to call for a second Brexit vote (while differing on the routes for getting there).
In terms of wider policy priorities, expect the Tories highlight the “end to austerity” as announced in Chancellor Sajid Javid’s Spending Review in September. Look for the party to commit to more funding for police, education, infrastructure and the NHS. Labour will promise a more interventionist role for the state in the economy, for example through the nationalisation of train companies, water utilities and Royal Mail.
In Scotland, the SNP’s message will be, in First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s own words, “vote SNP to demand independence and secure Scotland’s right to choose”. The election will be a chance for the nationalists to build backing for a second independence referendum as an alternative to the “chaos” of Brexit.
How might the electoral map in Scotland change? Polling suggests the SNP should have no trouble retaining their status as the largest Scottish party. The Lib Dems have enjoyed a general uptick in support across the UK. If this translates effectively to Scotland, it could mean that the Scottish Conservatives and Labour are squeezed. The returns for both parties north of the border could be crucial in determining the composition of the next government in Westminster.
At a UK level, the Conservatives have enjoyed a gradual strengthening of their polling position and look set to be the largest party, though the size of any majority is up in the air. If the election results in another hung parliament, look for Labour and the SNP to try and broker a deal, using an indyref2-shaped bargaining chip.
This election will have deep implications for organisations across sectors and it is vital to stay on top of the latest developments in this fast-moving environment. 3×1 offers tailored political monitoring and insights that will help you plan for and react to developments in your business area. To find out more, please contact Patrick Hogan on 0131 225 7700 or by emailing phogan@3×1.com.