General Election – Conservative landslide victory: instant reaction

A dramatic night has delivered a decisive majority for the Conservative Party. Seats held for well over one hundred years switched from Labour to the Conservative Party. The Scottish Nationalists almost swept the board in Scotland, but the Conservatives emerged as the largest party in Wales, an historic first. The Conservative Party broke through in the north of England, winning seats that were traditionally Labour. The result was unprecedented and largely unpredicted. It delivers the Conservatives the greatest majority for over 30 years. In practical terms it means the UK will leave the EU on 31 January and enter discussions with the EU about the future relations between the bloc and the UK.

In policy terms, the Conservative government promised ‘steady as she goes’ and our expectation is that is what will happen. There will be a small increase in overall government spending, and an increase in investment in infrastructure in the North. The Conservative party manifesto was relatively light in detail on a number of areas, so we will expect to see key policy announcements in the coming weeks and months.

The situation in Scotland is complicated. The SNP won a massive majority in Scotland, raising the difficult issue of a second independence referendum. Can a Conservative government deny an SNP demand for a second referendum?

In public policy terms, the emphatic Conservative Party win will be ‘steady as she goes’ in economic policy terms. Expect a Queen’s Speech in late January and a budget in early February. Key ministerial appointments are expected to be made in the next 24-48 hours.  

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