2019 General Election: the green light for Brexit

In this Perspective Ruth Lea, Economic Adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group, discusses the outcome of the 2019 General Election of 12 December 2019:

  • The Conservative Party won a decisive overall majority of 80.
  • The Conservatives won 365 seats (47 more than in 2017), whilst the Labour Party won 203 seats (59 less than in 2017).
  • There were significant swings in seats from Labour to the Conservatives in the Midlands, the North of England and Wales.
  • The SNP won 48 seats, 13 more than in 2017.
  • The Government’s priority is to “get Brexit done” by 31 January 2020. There are, however, issues on their in-tray including a Budget, expected in February 2020.

Concerning UK economic news:

  • Underlying growth still seems to be slowing. GDP was flat (MOM) in October and, also, flat (QOQ) in the three months to October.
  • The latest Markit/CIPS surveys (for November) suggested that private sector output may be slightly contracting.

Recent Central Bank news:

  • The Fed left interest rates unchanged at their December meeting, indicating no changes are likely in 2020.
  • The ECB, under new President Christine Lagarde, also left interest rates unchanged at their December meeting. Monetary policy is expected to remain accommodative for the foreseeable future.
  • The Bank of England is meeting next week. No changes in policy are expected.

Ruth Lea said, “…the Conservatives’ decisive majority should ensure Brexit on 31 January 2020. With such a large majority and a party united on Brexit, the Conservatives should be able to pass the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill through the UK Parliament well before the end of January, seeing off any hostile amendments tabled by opposition parties or the House of Lords. Moreover, the European Parliament’s ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement is expected to be a formality. The General Election result has given the green light for Brexit.”

Ruth Lea CBE has been Arbuthnot Banking Group’s Economic Adviser since 2007 and was an Independent Non-Executive Director from 2005-2016.

Ruth co-founded Global Vision in 2007 and was Director until 2010, and was previously the Director of the Centre for Policy Studies (from 2004 to 2007), Head of the Policy Unit at the Institute of Directors (from 1995 to 2003) and Economics Editor at ITN (from 1994 to 1995).  Prior to ITN she was Chief UK Economist at Lehman Brothers, Chief Economist at Mitsubishi Bank, worked for 16 years in the Civil Service (the Treasury, the DTI, the Civil Service College and the Central Statistical Office) and was an economics lecturer at Thames Polytechnic (now the University of Greenwich).

She is the author of many papers and articles on economic issues and has been a Governor of the London School of Economics and Council Member of the University of London.

Tel: 020 8346 3482
Mobile: 07800 608 674
Email: ruthlea@arbuthnot.co.uk

Would you like to receive Arbuthnot Latham’s fortnightly Economic Perspectives from Ruth Lea CBE directly to your email inbox? Click the button to subscribe to our email newsletters.