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Countdown to election04 July 2024 12:00 am

The day in review

[5th July 2024]

Labour wins the 2024 General Election

Keir Starmer will be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after Labour won a crushing victory. With counting still ongoing, Labour is on track to win well over 400 seats.

The political map of the UK has been redrawn following a catastrophic night for the Conservatives, with several senior figures – including Liz Truss – losing their seats.

The Liberal Democrats have enjoyed what the party is describing as their “best result for a century” and will be the third force at Westminster once again. The SNP have endured a torrid evening while both Reform and the Green Party will have strong representation in this new parliament.

As of 8am, the state of the parties is as follows:
• Labour – 410
• Conservatives – 119
• Liberal Democrats – 71
• SNP – 9
• Sinn Fein – 7
• Independents – 5
• Reform – 4
• Green – 4
• Plaid – 4
• DUP – 4
• SDLP – 2
• UUP – 1
• TUV – 1
• Alliance – 1

What does Labour’s win mean for public affairs?

Here’s five ways the election result has transformed the landscape for public affairs.

1. New agendas: After years dominated by Brexit, the pandemic, and their political aftermath, public affairs will once again be able to focus on engaging with a comprehensive domestic reform agenda.

2. Appetite for ideas: Starmer takes power with a mighty mandate for change but only a half-baked plan to deliver it. There is now an opportunity to have significant influence by offering up readymade, costed solutions, aligned to Labour’s objectives and national missions.

3. Internal opposition: Labour’s majority means it will dominate both Government and Parliament. This means that understanding the internal dynamics of the Labour Party will be vital.

4. New champions: The influx of new MPs includes many who are ambitious and talented, but outside the government payroll. There will be opportunities to find new allies and champions hungry for a cause to make their own.

5. Re-engage the Lib Dems: The Lib Dems are back, and, unlike the Tories, have no need for a period of distracting introspection post-election. Until Labour are able to rebalance it, they will be reliant on the support of 79 Lib Dem peers to pass legislation in the Lords.

With so much change, there is a temptation to want to do everything at once. But unless you have an urgent need or your interests fall into Labour’s early priorities, don’t rush. For the time being, many of your stakeholders will be more concerned about working out how to navigate their way to the Chamber than reading your briefings.

Instead take some time for strategic recalibration, stakeholder mapping, policy development, message alignment, and focusing on what you can offer and not just ask in your early engagements.

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MHP's polling tracker

Voting intention: Labour 43% (+3), Conservatives 27% (+4), Reform 9% (-1), Liberal Democrats 11% (+3), Green Party 4% (0%), SNP 3% (+1%), other parties 4% (+1).

[Last updated 29th June 2024]

Debate specific polling can mean many things to many people. The beauty of the results is very much in the eye of the beholder.

For example, in the aftermath of the ITV leaders’ debate, Labour were naturally putting great value on the Savanta poll which concluded that Keir Starmer was the winner by 44% to Rishi Sunak’s 39%. Across key indices such as the NHS, public services and the economy, the Labour leader won comfortably.

On the other side of the fence, however, it was a different story. YouGov’s snap poll after the debate told us that 51% of respondents thought Sunak had won the debate, which was shouted from the rooftops by CCHQ.

The fundamental question is whether these debates will change hearts and minds. Tuesday evening’s offering was far removed from the halcyon days of “I agree with Nick”, let alone transformative in the vein of Kennedy v Nixon.

Viewership was substantially down since the 2019 iteration, for example. As with much of the frippery in an election campaign, it has hard not to conclude that rather than impacting the campaign, the debates a purely self-serving device to give the Westminster bubble something to talk about.

In the real world beyond the studio in Manchester, a further poll by YouGov found that actual news – in this case the return of Nigel Farage to the fray – was having an impact. They are now just two points behind the Tories. That should be the focus of attention rather than partisan nattering in the spin room.

Who would make the better prime minister?

According to the public, who will make a better prime minister? Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer?

40% said Starmer | 31% said Sunak

In total, 31% of the public preferring Sunak in the top job to Starmer’s 40%. However, 29% of the public did not know who they preferred, meaning there is still a significant number of voters left to convince as to the respective merits of voting Conservative or Labour.

In terms of favourability, Sunak’s rating stands at a dismal -22% compared to the Labour leader’s +1%. Polling of the Chancellor and Shadow Chancellor’s favourability reveals that Jeremy Hunt stands at -15% to Rachel Reeves’ +1%.

Though there is certainly no huge enthusiasm for Labour’s top team, the Conservatives polling woes continue to mark the country’s discontent with their 14-year stint in government.

Data source: Savanta, 21st May and 7th June

Inside the Ballot Box

Data from Savanta, analysis from MHP

Much of the recent polling discourse has focused on the insurgent Reform Party’s level pegging with the Conservatives, so the Prime Minister will be pleased to see that in Savanta’s latest poll for the Daily Telegraph Nigel Farage’s party stands at 14% to the Tories’ 21%. Labour maintains its lead at 40% whilst the Liberal Democrats and Greens garner 11% and 4% of the vote respectively. 

Farage’s decision to stand down Brexit Party candidates in the 2019 General Election is considered one of the many contributing factors to Boris Johnson’s landslide victory, and recent polling supports this argument. Reform UK is not expected to win many seats despite its predicted share of the vote, but it will almost certainly hoover up any wavering Conservative voters which will likely split the vote on the right and help Labour’s polling lead become a reality on 4th July. 

Labour’s lead is still large, but it has fallen six percentage points since Savanta’s last poll, perhaps showing signs that Conservative messaging on Labour tax rises is cutting through. More Savanta polling shows that 60% of respondents believe that a Labour government will raise capital gains tax, 56% think that inheritance tax will go up under Labour and 53% believe Rachel Reeves will increase income tax. 

That Labour’s predicated vote share has not fallen further is a reflection of how voters’ frustration with the Tories outweigh their concern over further tax rises. Conservative campaign managers will note this fall with interest and we can expect Conservative attacks on Labour’s ‘tax rises’ to intensify. 

Data Source: Savanta, 17th June

Conservative Party, Tories, rebuild, future, politics, UK general election 2024

Now the Conservative rebuild begins: the centre right's path back to power

“There’s no escaping that the general election result is a body blow to the Conservatives. Thousands of words have been penned dissecting the reasons why, but weeks before the final result, the party faithful were already engaged in frenzied debate about how best to revive its fortunes.

“The bottom line is this: if Conservative Campaign HQ learns the right lessons and rebuilds accordingly, they may be able to ensure prime minister Starmer is a one-term wonder.”

Read analysis by Mario Creatura, Director in the Public Affairs Team, on how the Conservatives should rebuild following their election defeat, here.

Keir Starmer, General Election, Labour Party, Labour government, Labour majority

General Election 2024: What happens next?

MHP’s guide to the events that will follow the election result, here.

MHP election event, Iain Dale, Rachel Wearmouth, Lord Robert Wearmouth

MHP's State of the Election event - five takeaways

Yesterday, MHP’s Head of Public Affairs, Tim Snowball was joined by LBC’s Iain Dale, the I’s Rachel Wearmouth and the polling guru Lord Robert Hayward to discuss the state of the election campaign ahead of polling day on 4th July.

Read our top five takeaways from the discussion, here.

A Labour Government’s top priorities for Health and Social Care

During MHP Health’s recent ‘In Conversation’ event with Wes Streeting, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care explored the health policies and priorities of a potential Labour Government.

Read our top five takeaways, here

General Election 2024 – Reform UK contract

On 17th June, Nigel Farage launched Reform UK’s contract with the British people in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. Farage refrained from calling the document a manifesto as these “keep making the same promises and no one believes a word of what they say”.

Read the full analysis, here.

Labour Manifesto – what does it mean for business? – Analysis from MHP Group

Following today’s publication of Labour’s 2024 election manifesto, MHP’s public affairs experts have produced an analysis of what the manifesto means for business. This covers Labour’s five core missions:

  • Get Britain building again
  • Switch on Great British Energy
  • Build an NHS fit for the future
  • Take back our streets
  • Break down barriers to opportunity

Read the full analysis, here.

‘Dishy Rishi’ is running the worst election campaign in modern times

‘Rishi Sunak appears to have learnt all the wrong lessons from Labour leaders of the past as he sends the Tories to what looks to be their worst election defeat of all time’, says Josh Kaile, associate director at MHP Group and former Labour Party advisor.

Read more. 

 

 

Labour and Reform battle for the Super Distruster vote

Super Distrusters are a cluster of voters identified by Cambridge University’s Political Psychology Lab, through our work on the long-running MHP Polarisation Tracker. Both Labour and Reform UK are appealing to this group by arguing they will make the system respond to public concerns once more.

Read more.

Polarisation & Public Support for Food and Drink 

Food is a topic which can be surprisingly emotive. With a general election on the way, we used MHP Group’s Polarisation Tracker to measure public views on food and drink policy – with some surprising results.

Read more

Party Manifestos

Labour

With Labour’s manifesto launched, the policy agendas for all the main parties are now known. MHP’s Public Affairs team have analysed the key announcements from this morning’s launch, providing insight into the ideas that are likely to make up the next government’s legislation. Download here.

Conservative

After what has been described by less charitable critics as a car crash of a campaign so far, the choice of Silverstone as the venue to launch the Tory manifesto on Tuesday 11th June was one loaded with jeopardy. Read our take on the objectives of the policies and their likely impact, here.

 

Reform UK

Reform UK published it’s ‘contract with the people’ on 17th June, with Party leader Nigel Farage refusing to call it a manifesto as these “keep making the same promises and non one believes a word of what they say”. From immigration and student loans through to defence spending and welfare reform, read our analysis of the contract, here.

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats were first out of the traps with the release of their manifesto. After a series of attention-grabbing stunts by leader Ed Davey, now came the serious bit. Read our take on the objectives of the policies and their likely impact, here.

 

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