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POLITICAL INSIDER – FRIDAY 21 JUNE 2019

POLITICAL INSIDER – FRIDAY 21 JUNE 2019

After nine days and three rounds, it’s almost decision time.

Conservative MPs have chosen the two men who will contest the final stage of the party’s leadership race next week: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt.

Boris Johnson said he was “honoured” to get the backing of 160 MPs in the final ballot of the party’s MPs yesterday evening – more than half of the total. Jeremy Hunt got 77 votes – two more votes than the next candidate Michael Gove.

Mr Johnson is almost certain to be the number one choice across the 160,000 or so Conservative members who will elect the next Tory leader – and Prime Minister – in a postal ballot, starting next week.

Unsurprisingly, Boris Johnson as Prime Minister isn’t being well received across some parts of the political world – the politician who has come back from the political brink faced some choice words from SNP’s Ian Blackford during Prime Minister’s questions on Wednesday. The SNP’s leader at Westminster branded Boris Johnson a “racist” who is unfit to lead the country. He refused to withdraw his allegation of racism despite being urged to do so by Speaker John Bercow.

Closer to home and at Holyrood this week, MSPs backed plans to give councils the power to levy a tax on workplace car parking spaces. The measure could see councils charge businesses an annual fee for every parking space they provide for workers. Opposition parties said the move was a “regressive tax on workers”, but the rural economy committee ultimately backed it by a vote of six to five. The powers have been added into the Transport (Scotland) Bill, which will still have to be signed off in a vote of all MSPs.

The latest statistics from the UK House Price Index (HPI) show that the average price of a property in Scotland in April 2019 was £150,825 – an increase of 1.6 per cent on April in the previous year. Comparing with the previous month, house prices in Scotland rose by 0.7 per cent between March 2019 and April 2019.    

And finally … One of the most UK’s most experienced and skilled communicators, Dominic Fry addressed our Perceptive Directors’ Club in Glasgow last night.  With experience as Communications Director at the Channel Tunnel, ScottishPower and Sainsbury’s, Dominic has recently left Marks & Spencer after a decade as Director of Corporate Communications, Investor & Government Relations.   

Dominic shared some compelling, honest and humorous examples on managing a corporate reputation that is so engrained in the British psyche.  From managing supermodels at London Fashion week to advising on the reputational implications of executive remuneration, Dominic emphasised the importance of understanding and listening to your audience so understanding the mood of public opinion, the responsibility to hold a mirror to the organisation and exec team, especially when anticipating reputational implications and when it goes wrong, not being afraid to take responsibility and this could be done with self-deprecating humour. And Percy Pig who now has over 200,000 followers on Facebook!If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734 932578 or julie.moulsdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk

Political Insider – Friday 14 June 2019

Political Insider – Friday 14 June 2019

At Westminster the Tory leadership pantomime continues.  Current front-runner Boris Johnson warns ‘be ready for disruption’ after claiming he will play ‘no-deal hard-ball’ in Brexit negotiations if he becomes the next UK Prime Minister. The right-wing Brexiteer has promised is a series of media interviews yesterday and over the weekend that under his premiership the UK will leave the EU on October 31st with or without a deal.  Ian Blackford MP said that he has continued to dismiss evidence that Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the 2016 EU referendum and MSPs backed remain in a Holyrood debate on EU membership.

leaked Cabinet paper has revealed levels of unpreparedness for a no-deal Brexit. Meanwhile, opposition attempts to take control of the Commons agenda failed to gain the support of MPs. Eight Labour MPs voted with the Government and a further 13 abstained to ensure the proposal was defeated by 309 votes to 298. Analysts are suggesting that Conservative MPs might be more likely to support the motion if lodged again closer to October, once the new Prime Minister’s intended approach is clearer.

Boris Johnson is reported to be refusing to explicitly rule out the suspension of Parliament to force through a no-deal (and, incidentally, refusing ALL broadcast media interview requests). Ex Solicitor General Dominic Grieve and some other Conservative MPs have indicated they’d consider triggering an election via a no-confidence vote if it proved the only way to stop a hard Brexit on October 31. The SNP has criticised Scottish Conservative MPs for voting against the motion and “pushing Scotland further towards the cliff-edge.

Scottish Labour’s Executive Committee has formalised its support for seeking a confirmatory vote on any forthcoming Brexit deal. In a new statement, leader Richard Leonard MSP confirmed that the Scottish party “will campaign for any Brexit deal to be automatically put to the people in a confirmatory vote and will campaign for that vote to have a clear option to Remain”. Responding for the SNP, Keith Brown said that it was “grossly hypocritical” for Labour to back a second EU referendum but not a second Scottish independence referendum.

Natalie McGarry, former SNP MP for Glasgow East (2015-17) has been jailed for 18 months. She was dropped by the party after she was charged with a number of fraud offences and has now been found guilty of embezzling more than £25,600 from pro-independence organisations in Scotland and been jailed for 18 months.

Congratulations to client, Cruden Group which won best Large Housing Development for its development at Meadowside in East Lothian at the Scottish Home Awards last night.

And finally … we are looking forward to hearing from Annie Lennox today as the Perceptive team attend TEDx Glasgow. As well as her successful musical career, Annie has been an ardent campaigner on many issues, including speaking out against Brexit. Watch this space!If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734 932578 or julie.moulsdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk

Political Insider – Friday 7 June 2019

Political Insider – Friday 7 June 2019

Although it’s just over a week since the Euro elections no one wanted or expected, the Scottish Government is applying pressure on the UK Government to launch a public inquiry into its handling of the European elections, which saw thousands of EU nationals denied their right to vote. Opposition MPs will press UK ministers to come to Parliament and answer calls for a full investigation into the failures and mistakes that led to EU citizens being denied the vote.

An SNP Cabinet Office spokesperson said the UK government’s refusal to make ‘UC1’ forms available at polling stations, its failure to prepare for the elections until the last minute, its failure to publicise the requirements properly, and a series of administrative errors, had all contributed to voter disenfranchisement on a massive scale.  No formal UK Government response has been given.

So far, less than half the 300+ Conservative MPs have declared support for the dozen plus candidates who have so far declared their interest in the party leadership. Scottish Secretary David Mundell MP has said he may not declare for any candidate as it is such a strong field (sic). Seen of the 13 Scottish Tory MPs have declared and, of those we know about: Paul Masterton is supporting Matt Hancock; John Lamont > Jeremy Hunt; Stephen Kerr, Luke Graham, David Duguid and Bill Grant > Michael Gove; and Colin Clark remains one of just three supporting James Cleverley.  As things stand, Gove has more backers (24) than Boris (21) – and of Boris’s 21, none represent Scottish seats.

Former First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones AM, has given his backing to Scotland’s right to hold an independence referendum. The senior Labour Party politician took to Twitter to criticise Sajid Javid’s claim that he “won’t allow” an independence referendum if he becomes Tory leader, tweeting “Has he any idea how arrogant this sounds? The people of the UK had every right to have a referendum on EU membership. The people of Scotland and for that matter, Wales have every right to hold a referendum [on] independence if they support a party calling for it.”
 
Carwyn Jones, still a Labour Welsh Assembly Member, added: “In 2015 David Cameron got elected with a promise to hold an EU ref which he did. If a party gets elected to government in Scotland or Wales with a similar promise the same principles must apply. He has every right to campaign against independence but not stop a vote.”

Finally, Perceptive client Roger Kilburn, Chief Executive of Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) and Chair of IBioIC’s Governing Board, Professor Dame Anne Glover welcomed Innovation Minister, Ivan McKee this week to discuss the impact and huge potential of industrial biotechnology.  IBioIC aims to create 1500 new jobs, £140m of inward investment and £400m of sales across Scotland by 2020, using biological substances, systems and processes to produce materials, chemicals and energy for Scotland and beyond.If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734932578 or julie.moulsdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk

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