General Election 2017: What to expect next

The old adage that a week is a long time in politics has never looked so on-the-money than it has this week. Theresa May caught MPs, journalists and some cabinet ministers by surprise when she announced that the UK would be going to the polls again on 8 June.

With less than 50 days until a surprise General Election here is my Top 10 of what we can expect over the coming weeks:

1. A lot of talk about leadership

The Prime Minister wants to frame the choice on polling day as being a decision about ‘strong leadership’ versus ‘chaos’. With Sir Lynton Crosby once again running the Conservative Party’s election campaign, expect to see and hear those words over and over again as polling day approaches.

2. A lot of talk about ‘the people’ versus ‘the establishment’

It is already clear that Labour’s strategy is to present Jeremy Corbyn as an outsider in a similar vein to his successful leadership campaign. Expect to hear more of this as Corbyn hits the campaign trail with the 600,000 or so Labour Party members who collectively make up the largest political party in Western Europe.

3. No TV debates

The Prime Minister has already refused to take part in a direct debate with other party leaders and I don’t expect to see Mr Corbyn and Mrs May head-to-head on my TV.

4. Few new election promises from the Conservative Party

This is a ‘business as usual’ election for the Tories, aimed at securing a majority to help bolster Brexit negotiations.  Some policies closely linked to David Cameron and George Osborne (think foreign aid targets) may be ditched in favour of those close to Mrs May’s heart (such as Grammar Schools) but you shouldn’t expect many eye-catching new commitments from the governing party.

5. A Lib Dem revival

With only 9 MPs the Lib Dems can expect to perhaps double their representation in the next parliament.  As the only anti-Brexit party they will re-take seats lost to the Conservatives in 2015 and pick up the odd seat from Labour, particularly those where candidates have been in place for over a year.

6. Unexpected results in previously ‘safe’ constituencies

Theresa May’s decision to launch her campaign in Bolton North East is a sign of things to come.  The Tory Party is adopting a ‘northern decapitation strategy’ similar to the one successfully used against the Lib Dems in 2015.  If successful, we will see Conservative MPs in places we haven’t in recent memory (think Copeland).  Surprises could include Bury South, Oldham East & Saddleworth, Southport and Workington.

7. The national campaigns will dominate

The short election campaign and surprise announcement will mean that candidates have to rely on their party’s national campaigns rather than local issues. The exception to this will be Labour candidates (such as John Woodcock MP) who refuse to reference Jeremy Corby in campaign literature.

8. The long shadow of Brexit

The impact of last year’s referendum result will continue to affect who wins in certain seats. Keep an eye on seats like Chester, which voted to leave the EU but elected a remain supporting Labour MP by just 93 votes in 2015.

9. A retreat for the SNP

The nationalists will lose a handful of seats compared to their high watermark in 2015. This may be enough for the Prime Minister to claim that a second independence referendum should not happen anytime soon, especially as the Conservatives have been tipped to make some gains north of the border.

10. A low turnout

The third national poll in three years taking place a month after mayoral and county council elections is likely to suppress turnout on 8 June. A low turnout traditionally helps the Conservatives so watch out for Labour trying hard to encourage young people to register to vote in time for the big day.

If you are worried about how the General Election will affect your business you can contact Remarkable Group’s Northern team on 0161 359 4100 for insight and support.

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