In a story that has changed almost by the hour, this week’s political news was dominated by speculation, now confirmed, that MPs would vote (438 to 20) to hold a general election on Thursday 12 December. This will be the UK’s third General Election in four years, a situation not seen since the dark days of the power cuts of 1974 and that year’s double election.
The dissolution of Parliament would be on Wednesday 6 November, assuming the Bill completes its passage through the House of Lords. This date is based on 25 working days back from the election date, “with an exemption to cover the bank holiday in Scotland for St Andrew’s Day”. The Leader of the Commons (Jacob Rees-Mogg) declined to make any comment on the election of a Speaker – due to take place on Monday 4 November – and whether that would go ahead.
We don’t yet have specific guidance on purdah periods, which often impact on doing business with MSPs even although they are not facing election. But they are generally six weeks ahead, so we may move directly into pre-election restrictions once the formalities are completed. For your immediate reference, we’re providing a link to the 2017 document detailing the guidance to Scottish Government civil servants. The Scottish Parliament did not sit on the last GE day – 8 June 2017 – and had a restricted agenda on Wednesday 7 June consisting solely of FMQs, General and Portfolio Questions. Link: https://www.gov.scot/publications/uk-general-election-2017/
We can safely assume that new arrangements will be brought forward for the Scottish Budget (planned for Thursday 12 December). The Chartered Institute of Taxation commented on the challenges of setting a Scottish budget when it became known that the UK Budget wasn’t going ahead in November. Derek Mackay’s article in Monday’s Herald sets out the political challenge.
Meanwhile, Mr Mackay has written to businesses to urge them to prepare for the consequences of Brexit, and inform them of the support available from the Scottish Government. Writing ahead of a visit to the Scottish Enterprise (SE) Prepare for Brexit control hub in Clydebank by Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation Ivan McKee, Mr Mackay directed business owners towards the wide range of support being provided by the Scottish Government and its agencies. He restated the Scottish Government’s determination to create the right conditions for businesses to prosper, as set out in the Economic Action Plan launched last year.
The Prepare for Brexit control hub, which went live this week, comprises 160 SE staff who can be deployed to provide specific Brexit enquiry support to businesses and partners to help manage increased numbers of enquiries. Details: Brexit hub
The Scottish Greens have agreed not to stand candidates against 12 of the Scottish Conservatives’ 13 held Westminster seats, all but one gained from the SNP in 2017 and effectively giving the SNP a clear run to win them back. The one exception is Stirling where SNP MEP Alyn Smith is hoping to overturn Tory Stephen Kerr’s wafer-thin majority of just 148 votes.
And finally … Thanks to Scottish Conservative shadow Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change, Maurice Golden MSP, for hosting a high profile industry event, Fabric First, on behalf of client Scotframe in Edinburgh this week. By chance, and careful planning by Perceptive of course, Scotframe is also welcoming another Scottish Government Minister (and local MSP) Joe Fitzpatrick to their Dundee training hub and showroom later this afternoon.
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 email@example.com