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New UK Government: Reflections from Clarity's senior public affairs advisor

After the tremendous Labour landslide of last Thursday, preparations for the arrival of the new class of ’24 have been in full swing all weekend.

The new House of Commons has now met for the first time, to prepare for the King’s Speech and the start of business on July 17th.

Defeated MPs have just days to clear their offices. There are very few goodbyes, and the 1100 rooms, 100 staircases and 4.8km of committees in the Palace of Westminster are bursting back to life with the record number of new MPs coming from across the country to set up their offices and get to work.

They will enter through the 1,000-year-old Westminster Hall – a hall that hosted Henry VIII’s passion for Real Tennis and where Cromwell stabled his horses in what is now the chapel of St Mary Undercroft. The sense of history for any new MP is incredible.

I remember walking into the Chamber for the first time and trying to absorb the personal achievement of a working-class lad entering the House of Commons as an elected Member of Parliament.

This is where King Charles I was sentenced to death, Churchill uttered “fight them on the beaches”, Wilberforce made his Abolition Speech in which he spoke of “a trade founded in iniquity”. This is the building that houses the statues that line the route into Central Lobby on which Suffragettes chained themselves and the cellars below where Guy Fawkes had nearly completed his bloody task.

This is a special place and, for all its critics, Parliament is where our people – our chosen citizens – gather to make new laws, guide our country and reiterate our freedoms and values through a democratic process of government.

Over the coming weeks, the new government will have to lay out before Parliament the solutions they identified in their successful election campaign. They will have to answer the question of how they will grow the economy and support public services without increasing taxes or borrowing more money.

How will they face up to a divided Opposition and a divided electorate, with a number of smaller parties and independents also enjoying great success on Thursday night? How will they place the UK in a world which is unstable and has active conflicts which are directly affecting our economy and society?

Possibly the most challenging ‘how’ will be how Labour maintains discipline with the ranks of its 411 MPs – each one striving to deliver for their constituents with a weak economy, record taxes and unprecedented national debt.

The coming months will be vital for anyone engaging with the government, and keeping one step ahead will be key.

You can find Clarity’s analysis of the election results here and the key figures in the new Government here.

To find out how Clarity can help you meet your public affairs goals, email [email protected]

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