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General Election 2017: Panel

And the results are in! The PRCA General Election Panel has been asking senior public affairs practitioners to comment on how the campaign has been going so far. And today they're considering the result.

We are joined by Gill Morris FPRCA, Founder and CEO, DevoConnect, and Lionel Zetter FPRCA, Managing Director, Zetter's Political Services and PRCA Public Affairs and Lobbying Group Chairman. 




Gill Morris 

Oh what a night! 

Well it turned out to be an incredible result and, as I said in an earlier comment, it was clearly not impossible for Jeremy Corbyn to get a better result than Ed Miliband in 2015. Was that really only two years ago?

It was a night full of shocks and incredulity. It could not be happening but my instincts, that Jeremy Corbyn would do better than expected, rang true across the country. Theresa blew her cover and bombed on the doorstep. Her car crash campaign exposed her weaknesses for all the nation to see. It will now prove bloody difficult to be strong and stable if at the same time Theresa being propped up!

Corbyn's anti austerity brand and the man himself resonated with young people and families AND despite predictions that they would not turn out to vote, they did. Where next for Labour? Hard to see a way out but maybe Jeremy has proved his point now? I would still put a few quid on him stepping sideways (maybe Kier Starmer?) before the next General Election? Which, of course, could be sooner rather than later.

Angus Robertson and Nick Clegg were the biggest MP casualties (and a big loss to Parliament) but the fact they lost signalled what was happening with the youth vote and what was happening in Scotland. 

Another big factor was the UKIP vote which not only collapsed didn't all go to the Tories but to Labour. In hindsight this was a school boy error made by the pollsters and pundits and saved many vulnerable Labour seats.

So Ms May was right to say there could be trouble ahead if she lost just six seats. So what happens now she lost twice that? We do indeed live in strange political times.




Lionel Zetter

No ifs, no buts, no excuses - I got it wrong.

Like the vast majority of pollsters, pundits and public affairs practitioners I expected an increased Tory majority, instead of which the Tories lost seats and we now have a hung Parliament. So I am on this occasion very much guilty of the kind of 'group think' I frequently criticise others for.

So fair play to 'Stormin' Corbyn'. He had a great campaign, and succeeded in galvanising the youth vote. Many things did for the Tories, including a shambolic campaign, but the high turnout spelt disaster for them at the end of the (very long) day.

The other big losers, aside from the Tories, were the SNP. The Unionist vote - Tory, Labour and Lib Dem - made it very clear to Nicola Sturgeon that they do not want IndyRef2 any time soon.

The Lib Dem campaign was lacklustre, and failed to generate any of the excitement which the Labour campaign clearly possessed. Nick Clegg, having surveyed his party's near wipe-out in 2015, was the most high profile casualty. At least they have the consolation of welcoming back Vince Cable, Ed Davey and (more importantly) Jo Swinson - who may well became party leader.

As I write Theresa May is on her way to Buckingham Palace, and she will remain as Prime Minister of a minority government. The DUP - who emerged with ten seats - have made it very plain that they will support the Tories in Westminster, but there will be a price to pay.

I do not think that Theresa May will 'do a Cameron' and resign precipitously, but I suspect that the 'men in grey suits' (aka Graham Brady) will ensure that she does not lead the party in to the next general election.

So two more predictions; Boris will be the next Tory leader, and we may well have another general election this year.