May Political Intelligence
Extinction Rebellion was discussed in nine debates across the Houses of Parliament, and took the spotlight in the Lord’s ‘Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions’ debates with 17 mentions. In it, Lord Stone of Blackheath recognised the massive contributions that can be made by the retail industry in the fight to save our planet: imagine the difference we would make it stores stopped using “fancy packaging”, got rid of costly window displays and advertising, switched to energy-saving lighting and focused on designing for quality rather than quantity.
The House of Lords discussed the European Union Committee’s Brexit: Movement of People in the Cultural Sector published in July 2018. The debate focused on two recommendations: that the Government should seek an EU-wide, multi-entry short term touring visa for UK citizens and offer a reciprocal commitment for EU citizens, and to ensure that EU citizens travelling on short-term contracts to the UK after transition period will not have to pay into the UK social security system. Lord Jay Ewelme was pleased by how open the Minister for Digital and Creative Industries was to discussing the report, but expressed his impression that the Home Office would be “rather fierce”.
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland representative Mr Simon Clarke brought to the House of Commons his surprise at the Ofsted ‘inadequate’ rating given to two schools in his constituency. Upon visiting the school, Mr Clarke witnessed “gangs of pupils wandering the school during lesson time, flaunting their total lack of respect not just for teachers but for the whole concept of learning”. As well as evaluating the capability that Ofsted systems have to encourage better performance in schools, the MP suggested looking at policies to “tackle the catastrophic decline in the self-esteem and motivation of white working-class children over recent decades.” There was no mention of the arts, creative teaching or mental health.
How to save the high streets? Conservative representative of Ludlow Mr Phillip Dunne, wants more to be done for the high streets of his constituency, which are being bought by companies and being “left to rot”. Mr Dunne suggested offering VAT exemptions to occupiers of listed premises in town centres with freehold or full repairing lease obligations. Mr Hammond, who saved businesses £1 billion by cutting SME business rates in the 2018 Budget, did not warm to Dunne’s arguments.
After a series of debates, meetings, headlines and speeches monitoring Theresa May’s progress in deciding the fate of Europe and the UK, the Prime Minister announced her resignation as Party Leader after three years in office on the 24th of May.
The May resignation was the result of the PM’s final attempt at rallying support for the deal that she pushed in the Commons since the beginning of the year. The speech outlined the compromises and concessions made since The Cabinet approved the Withdrawal Agreement in November 2018, perhaps in an bid to demonstrate flexibility, cooperation, and willingness to acknowledge other points of view – attributes that the media agree could be improved by the PM. Rather than unity, the speech and the two no confidence votes, three meaningful votes, two trips to Brussels, and two extensions that led to it, resulted in greater fragmentation of an already chaotic party system.
On the steps on Number 10, Theresa May delivered the news that she would be shortly leaving her post as Prime Minister, after a new part leader is announced.
What does this mean for Brexit? We expect that the race will be decided in two months – by August. The current deadline for the UK to leave the European Union is the 31 of October, leaving around two months for someone to think of a solution, or for