June 2020

Written by:

Alex Challoner

Managing Director

New political winds blowing through Whitehall……

Every now and then you get a day when several Government announcements herald a change in direction for the country – Monday 29th June was one of those. Keen to move the UK on from Coronavirus introspection a series of connected speeches & events came together to offer a new focus for the Government & country.

The first of these was the much trailed “Project Speed” or “Build Britain Back” story portrayed in the Mail-on-Sunday coverage of the Prime Ministers & his plans for Britain as we emerge out of the lockdown. A series of measures to pump prime Britain over the next 10 years will be announced by the Prime Minister tomorrow in Dudley. School building is set to be turbo-boosted particularly in key depressed areas of the north & midlands which gave the Prime Minister his 80 strong majority. Further measures are set to be announced by the Chancellor next week as part of a summer stimulus.

The second announcement was the resignation of Sir Mark Sedwill who as National Security Adviser & Head of the UK civil service has played a pivotal role at the side of the current Prime Minister and his predecessor Theresa May. Despite rumours to the contrary, Sir Mark’s departure is a victory for No10 who cast him unfairly as a block to the PM’s plans to emerge faster and quicker from the pandemic. His replacement by David Frost as National Security Adviser & a possible outside appointment to the Head of the UK civil service is a wake up call to Whitehall for further reforms to come.

And if any one didnt clock that; then Michel Gove’s speech on Saturday night which criticised “group think” at the heart of Government was a clear giveaway. In his own Department, the Cabinet Office, this was widely interpreted as a loud klaxon call to shifting fortunes for the Whitehall political class.

Change is coming at unprecedented pace for the UK as we enter the post-Coronavirus recovery phase politically, economically and in the way the UK is governed. Monday 29th June was the day that it really started to come more clearly together.