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In this week’s newsletter:

  • A welcome to the new Prime Minister
  • New Onward research: Where the Conservatives went wrong and how they can rebuild
  • How can we move towards a stable economy?
  • Onward’s upcoming ‘After Hours’ event with Alicia Kearns MP

The new Prime Minister. Rishi Sunak today becomes leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He will be the UK’s youngest Prime Minister since the Napoleonic War, the country’s first British-Asian Prime Minister, and the PM with the shortest tenure in Parliament having been elected in 2015. In June, Rishi gave the address at Onward’s Annual Chairman’s Dinner. You can watch his remarks, and his kind words about Onward, here.

Time to rebuild. In his first remarks as party leader, he spoke of the “profound economic challenges” that the country is facing and warned the Conservatives must “unite or die”. Yesterday, Will Tanner wrote about these challenges in The Times yesterday, following Onward’s new report After the Fall, which found that nearly half of voters rate their chance of ever voting Conservative again as ‘extremely unlikely’. Read more in The Telegraph, The Guardian and The Times.

Stability beckons. Early signals from financial markets have been positive, suggesting a turning tide on the premium that investors have been demanding to lend to the Treasury. City economist Simon French use the neologism “the dullness dividend” to indicate the positive spillovers for markets from sound and stable economic policy, which are expected to narrow the gap in public finances by £7 billion in reduced borrowing costs.

Difficult decisions first. But before the markets stabilise the Government needs to publish its Medium Term Financial Plan. The Halloween statement, due on Monday is likely to include a few frights. The FT reports that Jeremy Hunt is planning to extend levies on banks and energy companies, while there is growing speculation that defence spending will no longer rise to 3% of GDP by 2030. Will Tanner spoke to The Sunday Times about the Triple Lock and whether pensions could have to make sacrifices.

Childcare as crime prevention. As official data suggests that a 20-year fall in crime is coming to an end, new research from the US suggests a novel policy intervention: parenthood. A new paper by Massenkoff and Rose has estimated that pregnancy estimates indicate that “pregnancy triggers sharp declines in arrests rivalling any known intervention, supporting the view that childbirth is a “turning point” that reduces deviant behaviour through social bonds.”

News and Media

After the Fall. Onward’s research on where the Conservatives went wrong and on how they can rebuild was widely featured in yesterday’s media. Will Tanner argued for the Conservatives to reach into the economic centre ground in The Times.

Skills crunch. Adam Hawksbee also wrote for The Times on how the Government can attract foreign investment to poorer places, arguing that skills are more important than tax cuts.

Fragile democracy. Dominic Lawson’s Times piece on young people’s disillusionment with democracy leaned on Onward polling from ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’.

Football’s future. Last week’s panel event with EFL on the importance of football to pride in place was covered here. Watch the event in full here.

Upcoming events

‘Onward After Hours’ is our event series for under 35s, connecting the next generation of centre-right political thinkers. These events bring together journalists, special advisors, parliamentary staffers and others, to inspire fresh thinking and build connections

For this session, we will be joined by Alicia Kearns MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, for a casual drink and a chance to discuss the policy agenda and what matters most for young voters. 

Date: Wednesday, 16th November 2022

Time: 6.00pm – 8.30pm 

Venue: Central Westminster Location 

If you would like to attend this event, please email james.bennett@ukonward.com

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