Boris has come in on a bold Brexit agenda
Winning with a significant majority of Conservative Party members, Boris is gearing up his party and the country up for a no-deal Brexit. The government is on a campaign footing and Tory HQ is being strengthened. All of which suggests Boris and the new cabinet are preparing for a potential general election in the Autumn.
Though the Parliamentary numbers remain the same as they were under May, things have already changed
Boris sacked more than half of Theresa May’s cabinet. The root and branch reorganisation of the government removed ministers who voted by Jeremy Hunt, including the previous Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark and the former International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox. Boris has established a new government that is determined to get Britain out of the EU by Halloween.
But he knows success is about much more than Brexit. To get the deal he would like, he needs to show Europe that he is there for the long term, and that means performing with a strong retail offer, for voters and business.
Government is reinvigorated
Whether Boris already planning a silent Autumn election campaign or is simply taking to the task of reforming Britain with a zealot’s passion, things have already changed. Government is reinvigorated. Many ministers and senior No.10 advisers know or suspect that they have the summer of a honeymoon period to mobilise public opinion before the clamp of the parliamentary maths grasps them again when the House returns in early September.
So expect to see a raft of new energy, vigour and policy initiatives
Boris has made several new policy initiatives. He has said he’ll rebalance Britain with more infrastructure spending and investment to “unleash the productive power, not just of London and the south-east, but of every corner of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland”. He has suggested bold constitutional reform with a view to modernising and saving the Union. He plans to put 20,000 police on the streets. He has not even completed his first week.
To be confident of winning a general election, he needs to recapture disaffected Tory voters (and members) many of whom are enthralled by the vigour of the new Brexit Party’s argument no-nonsense WTO Brexit by the end of October. To win back those floating voters, Boris needs to do more than match their Brexit ambitions. He needs to reinvigorate their sense of conservatism: not the technocracy of Mrs May, but a firm belief in the dynamic contribution that thriving businesses make to the economy and society.
So Boris is going further than Brexit.
A pro-business manifesto
Most importantly, if this is a prelude to another general election then the Tories will be looking for retail policies with a real punch to put in their pro-Brexit, pro-business manifesto. The Conservative’s very existence may depend on it. Early indications suggest an early than usual Autumn Statement designed to boost British business and encourage overseas investment. Expect corporation tax to be lowered.