Lodestone Insights Live – The first 100 days of the new leader
Lodestone hosted an hour-long Lodestone Insights Live webinar on what the UK can expect from the first 100 days of Liz Truss’s premiership.
- Martha Dalton - Lodestone’s Managing Director
- Chris Blackhurst - a Strategic Communications Advisor, Commentator and former Editor of The Independent
- Andrew Gimson - Contributing Editor to ConservativeHome and Boris Johnson’s biographer
- Ryan Shorthouse - Founder and Chief Executive of Bright Blue
On Monday 5th September Liz Truss was elected as Conservative Party Leader and therefore Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, following the resignation of Boris Johnson. She has already faced her first PMQs and made her first big policy announcement, what can we expect from her first 100 days in the job?
- What will Liz Truss’s key priorities be over the next two years? – The soaring energy bills facing households across the UK have dominated the discussion in the first few days of Truss’s premiership. Over the next two years Ryan Shorthouse, Founder and Chief Executive of Bright Blue, says that growth will be her first priority. He argues that while there is a lot of media narrative about Truss being hard right will be surprised about how financially expansive she will be, fiscal conservatism will be secondary to going for growth.
- Will Boris Johnson make a comeback? – Andrew Gimson, Boris Johnson’s biographer, suggested that Boris is an instinctive scene stealer and has always had the ability to put himself at the centre of any story. He predicted that Boris will remain keen for a second term in office and may step in if the Party is in trouble.
- The Cabinet – Truss has been criticised by some for filling her Cabinet with loyalists, many of whom have not held high office before. Our panel broadly thought the jury was still out on Truss’s appointments, that she was well within her rights to appoint a loyal cabinet but that those Ministers would be judged by their performance. Chris Blackburn, commentator and former Editor of The Independent, argued that given the cards she had to play, it is not a bad selection.
- Shift in thinking – Andrew Gimson, Contributing Editor to ConservativeHome, highlights that Truss is a complete shift from Boris. Where Boris was an insurgent, Truss is very much a woman of government having held numerous Cabinet posts, and is far more detail-oriented. Ryan Shorthouse, Founder and Chief Executive of Bright Blue, highlights that while she is very policy and detailed oriented, she does tend to use evidence in an idiosyncratic fashion.
- Education – Ryan Shorthouse, Founder and Chief Executive of Bright Blue, expects Truss to take an expansionist approach to education, with a drive to extend the time people spend in education and expand practical-based courses. For Higher Education, he argues that Truss’s leadership will be a move away from the ‘uniphobia’ which has prevailed since the Brexit vote and that she will seek a greater number of routes into Higher Education.
- Levelling Up – Levelling Up has been a central plank of Boris Johnson’s policy during his time in office and it remains to be seen whether it will retain significance. Chris Blackhurst, former Editor of The Independent, compares Levelling Up to David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ – a concept which was promoted by the Prime Minister but misunderstood by the country at large. He argues that where Boris went wrong was in presenting Levelling Up as an immediate solution, rather than a long-term strategy and predicts that it will remain on the political agenda but drop down the priority list.
- Defence – During the leadership campaign Truss pledged to increase defence spending to 3% of GDP by 2030. Andrew Gimson, Contributing Editor of ConservativeHome, believes that Truss is committed to this pledge but forces beyond her control could impact it. Chris Blackhurst, former Editor of The Independent, thinks that the Ukraine crisis and other tensions have highlighted the importance of defence and that Truss will focus spending on modern resources such as AI.
- Growth – Growth is a key priority for Truss, Ryan Shorthouse, Founder and Chief Executive of Bright Blue, predicts that Truss will achieve this by focusing on tax cuts, education, and the size of the workforce. He highlights retirement and childcare policies as areas which Truss might address to expand the workforce.