Three things from yesterday’s by-election in Richmond may be overlooked: first, in an age of “anti-politics”, parties still matter as even nominal independents like Goldsmith struggle; second, although the Conservative “A-list” helped change the face of the party, it has had a neutral effect (at best) on party management, with some of its alumni like Goldsmith, Mensch, Soubry and Warsi giving the leadership headaches (though other A-listers still serve as loyal Ministers); and third, it shows Brexit does have electoral pull – if anything, that may be of more concern to MPs who do not hail from one of the 35% of constituencies that voted Remain.
Here’s our take on the rest of the week…
Having your panettone and eating it
UK politics will quickly feel much less parochial again if Renzi loses his Italian referendum this weekend. The result could precede a bank run in Italy, pressure on German finances, and a continental referendum on membership of the single currency. All of this would have a much bigger impact on Brexit than yesterday’s vote in London.
The Taylor Review into working practices will “feed into” the Industrial Strategy over the coming months and the Government’s consultation on rules for companies will still be taking evidence well into next year. These timings are a helpful reminder that the Industrial Strategy is actually an iterative process that will adapt tactics to circumstances.
Energy Minister Baroness Neville Rolfe said this week that developers involved with new nuclear projects will have to write “Supply Chain Plans” that demonstrate a commitment to UK companies and skills. The approach could mitigate the restrictions of EU state aid rules and support the Government’s semi-informal goal of “social policy by procurement”. We expect to see more of this kind of requirement across different industries.