The UK has asserted itself as a global leader in tech regulation; what does this mean and what comes next?

By Euan Ryan, Senior Account Executive, Cicero Group

With the Government’s publication of the much-anticipated Online Harms White Paper and Code of Practice for social media platforms, the UK has asserted itself as global leader in the debate around the future of tech and social media regulation.

Previous efforts from the EU and US in this area have seen small inroads into the most egregious areas – namely terrorist content, other explicitly illegal activities and election interference – but the newly released paper sets out a far more holistic approach, calling for the development of an independent regulator that would oversee a far larger range of companies than originally discussed; including not only social media platforms but file hosting sites, public discussion forums, messaging services and search engines. It also imposes a duty of care, holding companies liable for taking reasonable steps to protecting their users from harm.

The release follows significant interventions from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, who made the unusual step of calling for increased oversight of his own industry, and the EU, which has developed relatively stringent regulations on copyright that caused significant concertation for holding tech companies liable for much of the copyrighted content they host on their sites.

What do these developments reflect? In essence, such developments reflect the broad undercurrents of deepening public concern over the role of tech giants on their lives and society as a whole. But the controversy surrounding the EU’s new laws and the debate over the impact of the UK’s proposals to mitigate online harm highlight the fine line that needs to be struck between freedom of expression, fostering innovation and greater competition, and proportionate protection.

The Government is currently undertaking a wide array of work in this area, including the recent report on Unlocking Digital Competition and upcoming Smart Data Review, as well as the review of digital competition due out this summer that comes as part of the Green Paper on Consumer Markets. Additionally, the consultation on the controversial Digital Services Tax (DST) closed in February and we can expect a response in the near(ish) future. Though Brexit is undoubtedly having a chilling effect on domestic policy development in the UK, it remains at the forefront of tech regulation. As such, industry should be looking to what may appear to be an increasingly dysfunctional Westminster if it wants to engage seriously with policy development in this area.

As my colleague, Luke Seaman, wrote previously, the potential success of such initiatives is rooted in the ability of the UK to lead a global approach to regulation. That is explicitly what this Online Harms report intends to do, and DCMS Secretary, Jeremy Wright’s op-ed in CNN reveals these ambitions further. And as highlighted by CEO of techUK, Julian David, at a Cicero event last week, tech companies themselves are clear that a coherent cross-continent approach – not a siloed one – is required, so it will be interesting to see how the UK’s recent developments play out on the global stage. 

What is also evident is that the level to which these companies have become ingrained in the wider economic landscape means that efforts to regulate them have wide-ranging consequences. As such, Cicero will be analysing how these developments will likely impact a range of sectors and issues in the coming weeks, including: digital competition; the use of data; social media companies; digital content producers; and the advertising industry.

See also:

What were the significant lessons from the Newport West by-election?

By Daniel Julian, Account Executive 

The residents of Newport West went to the polls yesterday and while the result might have been a foregone conclusion there are some significant lessons we can extrapolate.

Firstly, this by-election continued the trend of seeing a decreased turnout, which had been in the mid-60s at the last three times of asking. While this is to be expected, 37% was even lower than many had anticipated, a sign perhaps of politics overload given all the Brexit excitement in recent weeks, although the weather might also have had an effect in depressing turnout.

Secondly, the way the votes themselves were divvied up underlines the strength of the two major parties even at the half way stage of this Parliament. While the headline might be the decrease in both the Labour and Tory share of the vote and the relatively strong performance by UKIP, it is worth pointing out that just over 70% of those who bothered to vote opted for one of the two main parties – a figure in line with previous election results in the area. Only a couple of month ago the news was all about whether The Independent (which is now rebranding itself as Change UK as it prepares to launch as a proper political party) could break the mould and the two-party hegemony. Given the poor performance overall of the two main anti-Brexit parties, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, it is a worrying sign for anyone who wishes to go against the grain and change the make-up of British politics. However, it is worth pointing out though the relatively strong performance by Renew, one of the many centrist parties to emerge in the aftermath of the EU referendum with a strong anti-Brexit message which scored over 800 votes and about 3.5% of the vote in its first Parliamentary outing.

UKIP will be the happiest of the parties though, after almost doubling the amount of votes they received last time round. The party fielded former Tory MP for Tatton and poster boy for sleaze in the 1990s, Neil Hamilton, who, since joining UKIP, has enjoyed a bit of a revival, first by winning a seat in the Welsh Assembly and then taking over as party leader in Wales in September 2016. His performance last night suggests that, especially in strong Leave supporting areas there is appetite for a true Brexit party, which will encourage both UKIP but also Nigel Farage’s new venture – aptly named the Brexit Party – if the UK ends up holding European Parliamentary elections next month.

But what does this all mean for the state of the parties as we enter the next phase of the Brexit saga?

The most recent by-election prior to yesterday was held in the South London seat of Lewisham East in June 2018. While the Labour Party had achieved a remarkable result at the General Election the year before by receiving almost 68% of the vote, a swing against the party of 19% in a heavily Remain supporting area was seen by many as a sign that the precarious coalition Jeremy Corbyn was able to put together in 2017 might not hold for much longer.

Given the results last night, which showed an actual swing against Labour towards the Conservatives it might be further evidence that Labour’s electoral coalition of Remain supporters in metropolitan areas and Leave supporters in towns and outside of London might be creaking at the seams.

With another by-election looming, this time in a Labour-held marginal in Peterborough, we could see more of these divisions coming to the fore. This might explain why Jeremy Corbyn was so eager this week to meet with Theresa May to find a compromise Brexit solution. With both this by-election but also local government elections in England and, who knows, maybe even European elections on the horizon we will have a clearer idea as to whether Labour will be able to keep both sides of its odd electoral coalition together for long enough to achieve power.

Cicero features in DfT Urban Strategy report

Cicero is proud to feature in the Department for Transport’s recently published Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy report as part of its ongoing work to support the DRIVEN consortium.

Funded by Innovate UK – part of UK Research and Innovation, a body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – DRIVEN is looking to develop a fleet of fully self-driving vehicles that are to be deployed in urban areas across London and Oxford. DRIVEN is one of the few consortiums looking at the varied and substantial implications for society of such innovations, particularly across cyber-security, data sharing and insurance. Led by Oxbotica, the autonomous vehicle software company, it brings together a wide range of organisations including Oxford Robotics Institute, AXA XL, Nominet, Telefonica O2 UK, Transport Research Laboratory, the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s RACE, Oxfordshire County Council and Transport for London.

Following Cicero Group’s acquisition of Westbourne Communications, it has been a key member of the Consortium, assisting with the media, communications and policy engagement of the project which has generated significant coverage and interest in recent months, including in publications such as the Financial Times and various official Government reports. Cicero is proud to be part of the consortium and to be able to play a role in revolutionising transport both within the UK and further afield.

The Future of Mobility report reiterates the Government’s commitment to ensuring the UK is at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development and more broadly, the crucial technologies of the future so frequently discussed by the Chancellor and other key members of Government. However, in recognising the risks of innovation, it rightly calls for a ‘principles-based approach’  which takes into account the potential safety, societal and environmental implications.

Spring Statement 2019 – What your business needs to know

Overshadowed somewhat by Meaningful Vote 2, rejected by MPs last night, and a vote on no-deal Brexit taking place this evening, Chancellor Phillip Hammond opened his Spring Statement by seeking to tempt MPs with ‘what they could have’ should they vote for an orderly Brexit before 29 March 2019.

As arguably one of the most vocal Cabinet members against a no-deal Brexit, the stage was set for Hammond to deliver a dire warning to Parliament of increasing risk to the UK economy should a disorderly Brexit occur. Some in Government feared Hammond had been given an important, open platform sandwiched in between two Brexit votes to speak his mind on the Brexit process and possibly irritate the Brexiteers in his Party with…

Click here to read Cicero’s overview of the Spring Statement 2019

A sneak peek of the Energy Whitepaper at the Spring Statement

by Matthew Dunn, Senior Account Executive

In contrast to the Budget six months ago, Chancellor Philip Hammond focused in on energy policy in the Spring Statement this week and announced the laudable aim of “building sustainability into the heart of the UK’s economic model.”

The first major announcement was a new Future Homes Standard – which would see fossil fuel heating systems banned in newly built homes from 2025. Effectively mirroring a recent recommendation from a Committee on Climate Change report (CCC), the Government will require ‘world leading’ standards of energy efficiency in new builds alongside low-carbon heat systems such as heat pumps. However, this stopped short of banning new gas grid connections as suggested by the CCC.

The second was the announcement of encouraging more green gas into the grid to decarbonise heat. This is often overlooked, but with over 80% of our heating coming from gas sources and heat being the largest source of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, green gas will be essential to minimise disruption in reducing the environmental impact of our heat systems.

Such announcements will ignite debate on the low carbon heating systems that will be heating our homes in the next decade, whether it be heat-pumps, biomass boilers or solar powered water heaters. Given a mixture of these solutions will be needed, how the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) seeks to incentivise these, whilst maintaining a level playing field, will be something to keep an eye on in the coming months. Much of the sector will therefore be looking towards how the Government plans to replace the Renewable Heat Incentive, with its funding due to run its course by 2021.

These announcements of course foreshadow the arrival of a new Energy White Paper set to be published in the summer. BEIS Secretary Greg Clark MP, when announcing a new White Paper last year, boldly claimed the ‘energy trilemma’ was over and that low carbon energy could cut consumer bills rather than add to them.

While the Spring Statement effectively gave a sneak-peek as to how the Government expects to tackle decarbonisation, we are still left waiting to see how the Government expects costs to drop as well. Time will tell once further details are released, but for now, the Spring Statement offers enough food for thought for the energy sector.

Can we have a more global approach to tech regulation, please?

By Luke Seaman, Head of Technology

For Big Techs, regulation is the new normal. From ‘digital taxes’, to stricter data rules, emerging ‘tech regulators’ and even calls in the US for the likes of Facebook to be broken up, the world’s Big Techs are being bound by more and more rules. In keeping with this trend, this week’s Spring Statement saw the UK Government throw its weight behind yet more oversight for the sector. This time the regulatory spotlight has focussed in on competition and the extent to which the emergence of ‘digital monopolies’ can bring about negative outcomes for the users of those digital marketplaces.

The UK Government’s latest foray into the world of tech regulation follows a six-month review by the Digital Competition Expert Panel, led by Barack Obama’s former Chief Economist, Professor Jason Furman. In their report, Unlocking digital competition, published on Wednesday (13 March 2019), the panel put forward a number of recommendations aimed at creating new approaches towards competition and data policy for digital marketplaces. If fully adopted, the panel’s recommendations would mean that, in the future, UK authorities would have a greater say over how tech giants, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft gain dominance in their sectors, which is typically done by buying up the competition. Since 2005, Facebook has acquired over 66 competitors and future would- be competitors to a tune of over $23 billion. In this instance, Facebook’s ability to see off the competition before it threatens its own market share has helped to entrench the tech giant, affording it undeniable power within the social media space. With Facebook under increasing scrutiny for its treatment of user data, most notable in the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, many are left wondering whether greater competition in the sector would have prevented such abuses.

For this reason, the ambitions of the panel’s report are welcomed, and the Government should be applauded for their attempts to make the UK regulatory model fit for a digital age. However, the issue with these recommendations and others like them is that they are being developed in National Silos rather than as pan-Global solutions.

Big Techs are by their very nature international organisations with their services not (typically) bound by borders, save the restrictions placed on the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in China. As a result, our regulatory solutions need to reflect the sector’s internationalism. However, the individual approaches emerging from the likes of France, Germany, Britain and the US suggest this is not the direction of travel.

The Big Techs are themselves concerned by the potential flaws of individual National approaches. Google, who like other tech firms are broadly supportive of the move away from ‘self-regulation’ to more formal oversight, have urged policy makers to converge around ‘common rules of the road’ when it comes to global tech regulation. The request is a logical one and examples from the financial services sector, which following the 2007 financial crash introduced more comprehensive international regulatory coordination, demonstrate it is the most effective way of ensuring robust oversight of a sector. Tech firms, who are now some of the biggest spenders of policy lobbying in Europe and the US, are pushing this message with decisionmakers. However, to gain traction such global coordination will require greater political will.

None of this should downplay the merits of the Chancellor’s announcement this week and the UK’s approach through the Furman review and other initiatives like the digital services tax are a step in the right direction. However, to truly grapple with the issues of tech regulation, the UK should do more to help foster a coordinated global approach.

Housing: Steady amidst the chaos

By Raj Mandair

Amidst the Brexit chaos, Chancellor Phillip Hammond feels that he can give himself and the Government a pat on the back for their achievements on housing. Last year, housing delivery exceeded 220,000 additional homes. The proportion of first-time buyers is above 50 per cent thanks to both Help to Buy and the abolition of Stamp Duty for those looking to get their first step on the housing ladder. Despite reports about property developer Persimmon’s plentiful profits on the back of Help to Buy, there seems to be no suggestion of a u-turn or immediate review on this policy.

However, the Chancellor has seemed to ‘re-invented’ two policies.

One is the eye-catching creation of a £3 billion Affordable Homes Guarantee that will support the delivery of 30,000 homes. This is very similar to the Affordable Homes Guarantee programme, which was scrapped in 2015. Housing associations’ borrowing will be underwritten to enable them borrowing at less than 3 per cent.

The second is the energy efficiency targets for new homes. The Chancellor declared the introduction of a Future Homes Standard by 2025 in a bid to make all new-build homes ‘future-proofed with low-carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency’. Again, the announcement appears very similar to Gordon Brown’s pledge for a zero-carbon homes policy standard – and what happened with that? Well it was scrapped it in 2015 by the Conservatives, just one year before it came into force.

Yesterday, Housing Secretary James Brokenshire responded to the Letwin Review which was delivered alongside the Autumn Budget. The review argued that we could build quicker if we increased the diversity in the type and tenure of homes. Although Brokenshire announced that there will be additional planning guidance on housing diversification, it was hardly a warm embrace, as he was keen to emphasise that the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) ‘has already embedded a requirement for a greater mix of housing’. More importantly, the prospect of giving Councils stronger powers to capture land value uplift firmly remains a prospect for Government due to scepticism from the housebuilding industry.

Nevertheless, the Chancellor delivered a positive statement for London where he announced £250 million of funding for the Housing Infrastructure Fund for Old Oak Common, finally taking it out of jeopardy after its dispute with Cargiant. The funding will be used to assemble land, design and build vital infrastructure and new link roads allowing development of homes and businesses at Old Oak North, close to the new transport ‘Superhub’ where the HS2 and the Elizabeth Line will meet.

The most interesting announcement from yesterday is the update on permitted development rights. The Government will take forward a permitted development right to extend upwards certain existing buildings in commercial and residential use to deliver additional homes. It is expected that upward extensions will be covered by regulation in the autumn.

I would give the Spring Statement a C+. However, the real test is if we ever manage to build 300,000 per year.

Hammond promises he will get Britain moving – If Parliament moves to support a Brexit deal

Philip Hammond’s central message in his Spring Statement was the bright economic future for the UK, if a Brexit deal is agreed.  He said that if a deal passes the Government will start the spending review this summer and it would be announced at the Autumn Budget.

A constant sub-message in the Chancellor’s speech was that if Parliament were to agree to a deal, the Government would be able to turn its attention to delivering investment in domestic priorities.

There was a focus on investments in projects in the North and the Midlands. He namechecked the Northern Powerhouse Rail project, a plan to transform rail services across the North of England with new infrastructure and enhanced services. He said that Transport for the North’s business plan will be reviewed as part of the spending review.

For the Midlands, the Chancellor announced that Sir John Peace will oversee the development of plans for the proposed new HS2 station at Toton. Ensuring that the site delivers the maximum economic benefit to the area. This will include considering the case for a Development Corporation.

The Chancellor reiterated the Government’s commitment to publishing a comprehensive National Infrastructure Strategy setting out the Government’s priorities for economic infrastructure and responding to recommendations in the National Infrastructure Commission’s National Infrastructure Assessment. This will help to provide more clarity about the infrastructure pipeline and the Government’s investment priorities.

There was a focus on sustainability in the statement. Hammond announced a call for evidence on offsetting transport emissions, which will consider whether travel providers such as airlines should be forced to offer carbon offsets delivering “genuinely additional offsets” to avoid double counting issues.

Private finance has played an important role in the delivery of a range of transport infrastructure. Since Hammond announced the end of the use of PFI at the autumn budget, there has been uncertainty about the future role of private sector finance and concerns about impact that this would have on the delivery of the UK’s infrastructure pipeline.

The launch of the Infrastructure Finance Review will be welcomed across the sector. The consultation makes it clear that private sector investment will continue to play a significant role in the delivery of transport and other infrastructure.  It highlighted that of the £600 billion infrastructure pipeline over the next decade, half of the finance will have to come from the private sector.  The review makes it clear that the Government is open to a range of different ideas for how the private sector can support infrastructure delivery and there will not be a one size fits all replacement to the current PFI and PFI2 structures.

A key principle will be ensuring that benefits brought by private finance outweigh the additional cost to the taxpayer of using private capital.  This is likely to lead to more of a project by project approach to developing financing solutions and sharing risk and reward between the public and private sectors.

The Government sees significant potential for the UK to take a lead in the development of connected and autonomous vehicles. The Spring Statement included an announcement that the Government will publish a new Future of Mobility Urban Strategy putting the UK at the forefront of mobility, and responding to the significant changes taking place in transport technology – such as the growth in electric vehicles, the development of self-driving vehicles and advances in data and internet connectivity.

There was also some more detail about the allocation of funding from the Transforming Cities Fund, first announced in 2017, which will invest £60 million in new infrastructure, such as bus stations and cycle lanes.

The Chancellor announced that the Government will come forward with its response to the review of the new Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) and vehicle taxes within the coming months.  The WLPT is a new EU led standard of measuring emissions from vehicles based on real world conditions and data from real world driving data, rather than theoretical models.

Whilst very technical, the impact on vehicle car tax, through vehicle excise duty and company car tax could be significant with some models potentially seeing significant increase in tax.  Fleet operators and manufactures will be anxiously waiting further details on the outcome of the review.

Often criticised as being too negative, the Chancellor seemed to be positively brimming with enthusiasm about the UK’s potential if parliament agrees to a deal.  We will see if over the coming days and weeks whether Parliament provides the Chancellor the opportunity to deliver on his promises of new investment.

Research Manager

Cicero Group’s Research team are looking to recruit a Research Manager to support its rapidly expanding client base. The selected candidate will join a creative and motivated group of research, communications and marketing professionals working across a wide-range of projects and clients.

Responsibilities:

  • Communicating with clients to understand and document the business objectives of research, communications and marketing projects
  • Account management, isolating upsell opportunities, writing proposals, requesting feedback and looking to continually build stronger relationships with existing clients
  • Oversight of project management to ensure timely delivery of high-quality deliverables across several client projects. Building and delivering end to end project plans for a range of products.
  • Creating high-level written content across a range of tones and contexts to support research, communications and marketing projects. Using primary and secondary data to form a clear narrative.
  • Some responsibility for the oversight management of other team members

Skills and Experience Requirements:

  • 5 years’ experience in the marketing or communications industry
  • 1 to 3 years of written content creation experience – likely in an agency or think tank
  • 1 to 3 years of financial services experience
  • Excellent copywriting skills
  • Ideally experience of working in marketing/communications research
  • Strong verbal communication abilities
  • Strong analytical and data visualisation skills
  • Very proficient with Word, Excel and PowerPoint – and demonstrates a high degree of creativity, care and attention to detail in all outputs
  • Preferably some experience in managing other team members

The ideal candidate will be:

  • Personable – fits into a team environment with ease and has the confidence to contribute to the team across all aspects of the role.
  • A team player – understands their role in supporting the research team and takes ownership of their responsibilities.
  • Self-motivated and proactive.
  • A good listener – able to take direction from senior colleagues and implement it across the wider team.
  • Meticulous – shows a keen eye for detail and holds high-standards across all deliverables.

Benefits

  • Competitive Salary and benefits including; Employer pension contribution, private medical insurance, life assurance, Individual CPD training budget, Flexible benefits programme including; dental insurance, annual health assessment, technology loans, cycle scheme, tastecard, shopping discounts
  • Employee volunteering days
  • Free weekly Friday drinks at 4.30pm
  • Free fruit in the office
  • Fundraising and pro bono opportunities
  • On-site yoga classes
  • Social events

Please email Parisa Namazi to apply for this position.

The State of the Labour Party?

By Tom Frackowiak, Executive Director, Cicero Group

For the last six months there has been a strong appetite from businesses that I speak to on a regular to basis to understand more about Labour, its policies, and the impact of a Labour Government.

The political uncertainty caused by the ongoing paralysis created by Brexit and the 2017 General Election result make the calculation of a Labour Government a reasonable assumption.

But what would be the impact of a Labour Government?

In his 2018 party conference speech, Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell stated, “The greater the mess we inherit, the more radical we have to be; the greater the need for change, the greater the opportunity we have to create that change and we will”.

On the surface of it, the Labour policy platform reflects this bold approach. Some of the most eye catching of Labour’s policies include:

  • Replacing the ‘dysfunctional’ water system with a network of regional, publicly-owned water companies;
  • Establishing a new National Investment Bank and a network of regional development banks;
  • Looking to bring the railways back into public ownership;
  • The introduction of an “Inclusive Ownership Fund for all UK companies in the UK, through the transfer of at least 1 per cent of their ownership into a fund for employees;
  • Increasing corporation tax and introducing a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT); and
  • Ending free movement of people.

Other wider reviews commissioned by McDonnell and his team, led by Graham Turner and Prem Sikka, include recommendations to insert a new productivity target in the Bank of England’s remit and more radically overhaul the structures of business regulation, with more input from “citizens and societal stakeholders.”

With many of these policies the devil will be in detail, before we can understand the full impact, but much of this programme causes nervousness within business. I often hear talk of a ‘worst-case’ scenario, a disorderly Brexit, followed by a Corbyn Government.

You can argue the rights and wrongs of this view, but coupled with Jeremy Corbyn’s personal views on foreign policy and issues such as nuclear disarmament, then a Corbyn led Labour Government will attempt to implement a radically different domestic and international policy programme than undertaken by any previous UK Government of the last 40 years, and arguably far longer.

Labour’s Struggles

So how close is Labour to power?

In the current political context, it would be foolish to rule out Labour’s chances of forming the next Government. Paradoxically there is also the very real threat that Labour is heading towards an existential crisis that not only undermines Corbyn’s chances of getting hold of the keys to No.10, but also threatens the existence of the Labour party in its current form.

The Brexit process has tested the parameters of both the Conservative and Labour parties, breaking down the ability of either party to coalesce around a unified position on the Withdrawal Agreement, even before we get into negotiations on a free trade deal with the EU27.

Since Labour’s and Jeremy Corbyn’s strong personal performance in the 2017 General Election, the Government and Conservatives’ own fractures on Brexit have been an open goal for Labour, bringing a truce to hostilities within the party. However, this relative harmony has unravelled since the Labour party conference of 2018, as splits between the leadership around Corbyn and the Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer MP on how hard to push for a second referendum have filtered out across the Parliamentary party, Labour movement and wider membership.

These divisions within Labour have been blown wide open by the inability of the party and in particular Jeremy Corbyn to deal with ongoing allegations of anti-Semitism, which has resulted in nine MPs  leaving the party in recent weeks, all of whom have cited antisemitic abuse and threats as at least part of the cause. It has also caused considerable damage to the Labour brand, with the ignominy of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, ironically established by a Labour Government, announcing it is considering an investigation into the Labour Party on anti-Semitism.

The implications of both Brexit and anti-Semitism on the Labour party have been dramatic. The formation of The Independent Group (TIG) in a blitz of media headlines has resulted in eight Labour MPs resigning from the party to join the new group, with potentially of more resignations to come, and provides a political vehicle for disenchanted Labour members and voters who feel the party hasn’t done enough to halt Brexit. This is reflected in political polling – with all the caveats around poling – which indicates that presently TIG will have a bigger detrimental impact on the Labour vote, despite former Conservative MPs Heidi Allen, Ana Soubry and Sarah Wollaston having also joined the group.

Perhaps more significantly, and  not as widely reported, is the creation by Deputy leader Tom Watson MP of an internal group within Labour to represent the social democratic wing of the party. This has created a strong powerbase within the Labour party for Tom Watson and other disaffected Labour MPs, and we are already seeing them directly challenge the Labour leadership, particularly on anti-Semitism. It is unclear at this stage what the exact intentions of this group are, but it has the potential to create a party within a party, or worse still for Labour, be used as a vehicle for a larger schism.

In all this, the political danger for Labour is that the Conservative party is able to rally behind a new leader – and this is by no means certain – if a Withdrawal Agreement is achieved with the EU27, which will only highlight the divisions within Labour to an electorate which is tired and  angry with politicians of all persuasions, but especially those who appear more interested in squabbling among themselves than dealing with the huge issues facing the country, from Brexit to knife crime and climate change to welfare.

The Court of Corbyn

With all of this in mind, and a Labour Government being elected still a real possibility, we at Cicero will be looking in depth at the party, its policies and plans for government in the coming months and beyond.

One of the most common bits of feedback we receive is that organisations struggle to identify and understand who key people are around the Labour leadership and so we have produced an updated ‘Court of Corbyn’ organogram which depicts who are the key advisers and party officials around Jeremy Corbyn and his most influential Shadow Cabinet members.

You can view this here.

This will be just the first in a series of upcoming events and publications focussing specifically on the Labour Party so please get in touch if you would like to receive our Labour analysis or discuss what a Labour government could mean for your organisation.

Get in Touch

Tom Frackowiak

Executive Director, London

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