Where next for the Conservative Party?
MHP Director Amy Fisher reflects on the successful 2019 Conservative campaign.
Conservative Campaign HQ were not counting on that result.
Yesterday the whole building had more or less been cleared out to do the last-ditch knocking up in worrisome marginals – places like Putney (Con loss), Richmond (Con loss), Chingford (Con hold) and Kensington (Con win – I am laying personal claim to the 150 majority having spent several freezing hours in the rain there yesterday). Everyone returned to base cold, wet and a bit worried about the narrowing polls and reports of high turnout (albeit with a view that stacking votes in London wouldn’t necessarily be indicative elsewhere).
Soberly (in every sense of the word) folk gathered in absolute silence to watch the exit poll at 22.00 … and then absolute elation erupted. Everyone had feared a repeat of that moment in 2017. Last night was not that.
With a majority of this size, the Party/Government is no longer in hoc to the European Research Group – the hard-right rump who caused so many Brexit-related problems this year.
So, expect the Party to move back a bit to more centrist grounds – more in the Cameroonian vein if you will. That’s after all more Boris’ vibe that characterised his time as Mayor of London.
The pound went through the roof last night as soon as the polls came in. Big business voices had come out during the campaign in support of Boris. Pretty swiftly to maintain that positive momentum, the crunch moment has actually come to (yes, I’m going to say it) Get Brexit Done.
Assuming early next year that happens – and that’s a big assumption – the domestic agenda isn’t a small one to deliver on. But aside from replacing the folk who need to be replaced (Nicky Morgan, for example – former DCMS Secretary) don’t necessarily expect a major reshuffle immediately. Boris knows he’s got five more years – and appointment to those Cabinet posts are levers to be pulled at the moments when the fairest winds might not be with you.
But immediately the real challenge here is how to bring the country back together. This campaign has been marred by race relations rows, the re-re-ignition of ferocious Brexit feelings and, actually, a general nastiness on the doorstep and in the media.
Boris beat the odds with his thumping election majority. Can he now turn the tide and get the country working together again?