Wednesday, 29 June 2016

William Hague sets out the tests a future PM must address - well worth a read

A new prime minister will need to have a clear plan the day he or she is elected, and a decisive mandate for it from their party. The moment they arrive in the Cabinet Room, foreign leaders, major investors and most of the British people will want to know exactly what they are planning to do. The Conservative conference will be imminent. There will be no time to muddle through. This means each candidate should be expected to set out how he or she will deal with four dimensions of the immense questions facing the United Kingdom.
The first is to answer the question the Leave campaign most conspicuously refused to address: what is the relationship with Europe we are now aiming for? It will be difficult to cut any new advantageous deal with the EU, but if we don’t know what we want it will be totally impossible. Are we open to joining the European Economic Area, along with Norway and Iceland, which would mean ditching the commitment to control immigration – or are we putting migration controls first and taking the economic consequences of that? The time for avoiding this question is over.
The second is the related challenge of giving businesses confidence to invest in the UK, or to think again about relocating their operations abroad. Many of us argued that the disadvantages of leaving would outweigh the advantages, but now the decision is made, the worst of all worlds would be to suffer those disadvantages without exploiting all possible advantages. The candidates need to say how they would use “taking back control” to make Britain a good long-term bet. Show how taxes on enterprise can be cut steadily for a decade, pensions and saving simplified, and EU regulations abandoned where they are too burdensome or counter-productive. With the City in a quandary as to what to do, consider adopting US-style financial regulation instead of the EU model.

Whichever side of the referendum the new PM was on, they need a lot of the people who voted Remain to be excited and inspired by the programme of a government that is now committed to Leave. A serious but radical economic programme should be at the heart of that.
The third dimension is scarcely less vital: having a plan for keeping the United Kingdom together. The immediate tactics of the Scottish nationalists, aimed at exacerbating divisions between London and Edinburgh, were foreshadowed in what I wrote last week. Those who led the Leave campaign showed an inexcusable complacency about the future integrity of the UK itself, ignoring all concerns about Scottish independence, the delicate position of Northern Ireland, and the exposed position of Gibraltar. The new prime minister must be someone who has shown they have a fighting chance of saving a Union that is now in critical danger.
The final dimension is a more partisan requirement, but still vital for all of us who want to see the gains this country has made in recent years safeguarded for the future. The next Tory leader has to be able to keep the Labour Party pushed to the fringes of politics, with a style of Conservatism that combines economic credibility with a modern social liberalism to dominate the centre ground of political debate.
The full article is here: