The Centre Right Newsletter (2)


Welcome to the second edition of The Centre Right Newsletter.

It has been an eventful few weeks in British politics, with a Cabinet reshuffle, the Supreme Court finding the Government’s Rwandan asylum policy unlawful and an Autumn Statement in which Jeremy Hunt announced some significant tax cuts.

On the reshuffle, the sacking of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary was a welcome and necessary move after various incendiary and ill-judged interventions on various matters.  The return of David Cameron was unexpected but, at least in my opinion, it is also a welcome one given his experience and international profile.

Whether this will see a change in political strategy from the Government towards a more liberal centre right position remains to be seen.  The issue of illegal immigration has become more contentious following the Supreme Court judgment and some Conservatives are pushing for the UK to override the European Convention on Human Rights and other legal rights on the matter.  I wrote about it for ConservativeHome. There were also letters in The Times on this topic from Dominic Grieve, Robert Buckland and me.  How the Government responds to the Rwanda judgment is a very significant point for anyone who believes that centre right politics should be about maintaining the rule of law (an argument made very eloquently by Dominic in The Case for the Centre Right).

On the Autumn Statement, Jeremy Hunt set out over a hundred supply side measures to help the economy grow. Higher than expected inflation has helped boost tax receipts which he has used to cut national insurance and make the full expensing regime permanent.  Inflation also increases pressures on public spending but he has not announced anything on that.

There is plenty of speculation that there may be more tax cuts to be announced in the spring.  This may happen but he will need the public finances to do better than the OBR currently expects, especially as he will have to find the money to cancel the fuel duty rise scheduled for April.

There is a problem, however, with expectations running ahead of reality.  The same point applies to immigration policy.  Under pressure from the Tory right, Ministers can be tempted to make big promises on cutting taxes or immigration, only to find that reality makes this very hard to deliver.  This leads to a sense of betrayal, more anger, more political pressure and then another ill-considered promise.  And so the cycle begins again.


Finally, a couple of events to flag. The first is at Queen Mary University on 5 December when Andrew Cooper and I will be talking about the book, being interviewed by Professor Tim Bale. Get your ticket here.

The second is on 11 January in Gerrards Cross where Dominic Grieve and I will be talking about the book. Get your ticket here.

Do come along to one of the events. Or both if you are really keen.


Best wishes,

David Gauke