- 2017: The Year Ahead In Politics (Part One of Two)
- 2017: The Year Ahead in Politics (Part Two of Two)
From Brexit and the rise of Theresa May to the failed Labour leadership challenge, 2016 was undoubtedly a huge year for UK politics. The ramifications of some of these events will continue to be felt into 2017. In the second instalment of our two part series, we conclude the political events that we expect will figure heavily in the latter half of 2017.
One year since Brexit
As well as marking one year since the day Britain voted to exit the European Union, the 23rd June will also be the date of the first European Council summit after the planned invocation of Article 50. By this point it is likely that negotiations will have already begun, so expect to see some public indication of the dynamic between both sides.
Liberal Democrats Annual Conference
The Liberal Democrats have seen somewhat of a resurgence in popularity as of late. Leader Tim Farron claimed that more than 15,000 new members had signed up to the party after the outcome of the EU Referendum on 23rd June, and is now campaigning for a second referendum on any deal reached through the Article 50 negotiations before it is applied.
The party has also performed well in recent by-elections, with Sarah Olney taking the constituency formerly represented by Zac Goldsmith and their candidate Liz Leffman coming second in the Witney by-election to replace David Cameron after his resignation. Their annual conference should provide further insight into their stance on Brexit and their hopes heading closer towards the 2020 General Election – Farron previously stated that he would not rule out entering another coalition government if the need arose.
Labour’s Annual Conference
Labour will be holding its annual conference from 24th – 27th September 2017. Tensions were high at last year’s event, when a number of MPs and party activists opposed to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party attempted to undermine his influence on both policy and the party’s National Executive Committee. Expect this year’s event to indicate how content the party is with his leadership after his decisive victory in last year’s challenge by Owen Smith, as well as set out policy plans for the General Election in 2020.
Theresa May’s second onservative party conference
The Conservative Party Annual Conference from 1st-4th October 2017 will be Theresa May’s second as party leader. Expect an indication of the party’s policy direction post Brexit and possibly more information on how the negotiation process will be handled.
The party conference will also be where we start to see May’s full policy platform and how she hopes to remain PM come 2020.
German Federal Election
The election of Germany’s next Chancellor will take place in the Autumn of this year. As the previous election was held on the 22nd October 2013 the latest date which this year’s can take place on is the 22nd October.
As Germany is one of the dominant powers within the EU, its government has a lot of diplomatic strength and soft power which will undoubtedly shape the form and outcome of Brexit negotiations after the declaration of Article 50. Current Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken a more compromising stance than several other EU Heads of State, suggesting that there may be some room for discussion on the issue of free movement. However, after a series of terror attacks in Germany last year and growing hostility towards her ‘open door’ refugee policy in some quarters, there is a strong possibility that she may not serve another term.
German Deputy Chancellor and potential election rival Sigmar Gabriel has taken a somewhat stronger stance, warning that the UK can’t just keep ‘the nice things’ while taking no responsibility. His warning that other countries could go ‘down the drain’ if they choose to follow Britain’s path could result in less favourable negotiation terms.