MHP Political Panel review

by Alex Briggs

Love it or hate it, the EU referendum result is official and broadly accepted. The summer and party conference recesses are over and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has increased his mandate in the second leadership election in a year.

Around Westminster, Whitehall, and the offices of those businesses who wish to wield influence in either, there is a sense that politics may finally be getting back to whatever now passes for normal.

At last week’s MHP Political Panel, the simple question was: “What now?” Chaired by MHP’s Head of Media Ian Kirby, the panel comprised Lord Andrew Cooper, Conservative peer and founder of Populous, Rosa Prince, Political Journalist and Biographer of Theresa May, and Polly Billington, former Director of Communications at Sadiq for London and Special Advisor to Ed Miliband.

The free-flowing discussion took in a number of topics but it started, inevitably, with Brexit: What form the negotiations were likely to take and how long the effects of the vote would reverberate for. Lord Cooper spoke about the specific challenges that faced a Government looking to reconcile all the different reasons for voting leave, whilst Polly Billington said the vote would cast a shadow for decades, and could be the start of new culture wars in the UK.

Rosa Prince, who is currently working on a biography of Theresa May, spoke about the first months of the PM’s time in office and its future challenges. In particular she warned that all may not be well behind the scenes, as backbench Tories, both long-standing and recently demoted, worry about Mrs May’s ability to forge a Brexit deal. She also questioned whether her deliberate and thorough approach to being Home Secretary would translate to the rapid-fire environment at No.10.

But what about the businesses who seek to communicate their views to politicians in this brave new world? Our panel concluded that, although Brexit would dominate the political agenda, the UK still could not afford to ignore key questions such as job automation, infrastructure or skills. The panel agreed there is still plenty of scope for businesses seeking to engage with Government to do so.

The Political Panel is one of many events held by MHP throughout the year, providing clients with insight into some of businesses’ most pressing issues. If you would like to hear about or sign up for any of our future events, please email