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Conservative Party Conference: Day one observations

Nudge Factory has landed in Birmingham for Conservative Party Conference.

2016 has been a year like few others in terms of political activity and this week will see the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, and her team set out the direction of political travel for the near future. From post-Brexit strategy to domestic policy priorities, we should learn more about what is going to happen over the coming months.

Here are some of our views on day one of Conference.

Brexit is happening faster than many thought
On the Marr show on Sunday, the PM confirmed that article 50 would be triggered by the end of March 2017. This is despite French and German elections not taking place until the end of next year. Some, including the previous Chancellor, had argued that negotiations should be delayed until the German and French elections are over, i.e. until the end of 2017, so as to minimise political objections to the UK’s negotiating stance. The PM also announced that there will be a Great Reform Bill, to repeal the European Communities Act, introduced in next May’s Queen’s Speech. These two announcements suggest that the timetable for Brexit is going to be faster than many expected.

Housing is a key policy issue
Gavin Barwell, the new Housing Minister, is going to be busy over the coming months. He is speaking at 17 Conference fringe meetings on the subject, and there are many more on top of that also covering housing, planning and homelessness issues. We at Nudge cannot remember the issue being so prominent at previous Party Conferences and there is a clear shift in prioritisation of the issue amongst Party members. Expect numerous housing announcements once Parliament sits again later in October.

A proper Industrial Strategy
In our blog of July 19th, we highlighted a number of issues to look out for under May’s new Ministerial team. One of the questions we asked was ‘will we see an actual, physical industrial strategy’, one that would ‘be consulted upon and implemented.’ Today we got the answer to that question as Greg Clark, the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, addressed a fringe meeting held by the Resolution Foundation. He stated that he wanted a transparent and explicit Industrial Strategy, appreciating the nuances of individual sectors and regions; and added that this strategy would be published and consulted upon, as gaining widespread consensus and support is imperative to success. We look forward to observing and taking part in this important strategy’s formative and consultative process over the coming months and will be sure to keep you up to date as this new approach takes shape.

If you are interested in a more detailed briefing contact:

T: +44 (0)20 8819 0555
D: +44 (0)20 3637 5963
E: david@nudgefactory.co.uk

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