This Week in Brexit: Politics 8th July

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

This Week in Brexit: Politics

Fourteen days in and the Brexit related news shows no sign of slowing. This week the headlines were dominated by the Conservative Party Leadership Contest.

This stage of the leadership contest saw Conservative MPs whittle down the contenders to a final two. After each ballot, the lowest placed candidate is automatically eliminated and ballots recast.

The first round of votes on Tuesday saw Liam Fox eliminated after gaining only 16 backers and Stephen Crabb, who ran on a joint ticket with Sajid Javid, withdraw after gaining only 34.

Michael Gove was the next to go after he saw his support actually decrease between Tuesday’s and Thursday’s ballots: dropping from 48 to 46 supporters respectively.

This leaves us with a head to head between Teresa May and Andrea Leadsom. Teresa May is currently comfortably ahead on support from Conservative MPs having gained 199 votes to Leadsom’s 84.

However, this does not guarantee victory for the bookies’ favourite, May. The next round will see all Conservative Party members (who have been members for at least 3 months) cast the final ballot on who will lead their party, with the result expected early September.

More often than not in recent years, it’s not been the apparent front-runner who’s claimed final victory (think Michael Heseltine and Ken Clarke) but May’s lead both with MPs and public polls will make her hard to topple.

Expect to see May and Leadsom wooing grassroots party members at functions across the country this summer.

What we do know for sure is that in just two months’ time we’re going to have our second female Prime Minister. We look forward to championing the needs of businesses and showcasing the best of the city-region to them at the Conservative Party Conference in October (more information on our activity coming soon).

Speaking of Ken Clarke, he made headlines himself this week through his unguarded comments made in the Sky News studio, apparently not realising he was being recorded. For his candid take on the leadership candidates, click here.

In other news: On Monday, George Osborne announced plans to cut corporation tax to less than 15% to make the UK a ‘super competitive economy’ post-referendum.

Despite on-going disagreements with his MP’s and apparent difficulties finding candidates to fill his Shadow Cabinet, Jeremy Corbyn continues to lead the Labour Party. Local Authority Councillors and grass-roots activists have been showing their support for their party leader across the country. You may have spotted the Birmingham rally in Victoria Square yesterday evening.

While the Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP may be out of the race to become Chancellor to Stephen Crabb’s Prime Minister, he’s still hitting the news today. He’s announced that he’ll be undertaking a series of trade missions, beginning with one to India, to kick off discussions on how trading relationships could work with the UK outside of the EU.

Next on this list of destinations will be US, China, Japan and South Korea.

This Week at the Chambers

This week we’ve been focusing on communicating the views of our members to key stakeholders. Susan Acland-Hood, Director for Enterprise & Growth at Her Majesty’s Treasury, spent the day with us on Tuesday engaging with small and mid-sized members at a roundtable in the morning and a further roundtable session with Patrons after lunch before capping off the day with a visit to the Tyseley headquarters of SCC, Europe’s largest privately owned IT company.

Susan leads on working to promote sustainable economic growth by ensuring that government policy encourages private sector investment, enterprise and innovation. She is still keen to hear the views of members who did not attend on the day. If you have thoughts on what you would like to see prioritised in Government Brexit negotiations (or growth and productivity strategy more widely) that you would like to feedback to Susan Acland-Hood, please send it my way:

We are also still collating case studies of the immediate impact of the EU Referendum result and immediate member concerns to inform both our own and the British Chambers’ of Commerce’s lobbying priorities. If you’ve been affected by the referendum result and its impact on the economy (in good or bad ways) I would very much value hearing from you.

Finally, we’re actively supporting members who are looking to explore the world of exporting. You may well have heard that the weaker pound could be creating opportunities for exporters, particularly in markets like the USA. You can find out more about export essentials at this event on the 26th July. Alternatively you can call our UKTI team any time on 0121 450 4205.

Henrietta Brealey is Director of Policy & Strategic Relationships at the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.