Tell us about yourself and your organisation
I was Director of Communications for the successful Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 EU referendum. I also spent time in Whitehall, firstly as a Special Advisor to Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond and then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. Before the Referendum, I spent several years as Director of External Affairs at the British Bankers Association. My business partner, Ameet Gill was David Cameron’s Chief Speechwriter and Director of Strategy in No 10, playing a leading role in the Remain campaign. Following the referendum we came together to set up Hanbury Strategy to utilise our experience on national campaigns, advising Cabinet ministers, Prime Ministers and CEOs to provide political analysis and strategic advice to help those navigating these interesting but uncertain times of great change. We help manage all aspects of communication to help clients build winning campaigns that can shape public opinion. Our employees include people who have operated at high levels in both major parties on several national campaigns, including both sides of the 2017 General Election.
What is the biggest risk and opportunity in relation to Brexit from a small business perspective?
It won’t surprise you to hear that I am an optimist about Brexit, I think that it will give us more control over our destiny as we will be able to vote for the people who actually make our laws and respond more flexibly to the huge changes that are happening across the globe right now. I think the vote was always more genuinely about democracy and politics than about economics. I think that in 20 years’ time people will look back and say that the huge economic disruption that was predicted simply did not come to pass.
Where do you think political risk should rank on a list of business priorities?
I think that the last few years have shown us just how important political risk is for business, not just in the UK but globally. We are in a time of immense change. In this country there is not only the impact of Brexit for businesses to consider but also the prospect of a possible Jeremy Corbyn government which would likely be another massive break from the status-quo that has governed our politics for some time. In Europe, we see the rise of parties in Italy that threaten to shake the status-quo and in America we see the administration of Donald Trump having a direct impact on businesses at the moment through his introduction of trade tariffs. It is, therefore quite clear that political risk should certainly be near the top if not at the top of any firm’s priorities.
How do you think Brexit will impact employment law?
Whilst our departure from the EU will grant power to alter employment law to any government of the day, it is highly unlikely to see significant changes occuring in the short term. The Prime Minister has pledged to maintain and enhance workers rights after Brexit. Whilst there are some free-marketeer Tory MPs who would ideally like to deregulate, it is unlikely that there would currently be a majority in the House of Commons to dramatically alter employment law as it stands.
Who do you think will be the next Prime Minister?
If the Prime Minister departs earlier than expected then we need a strong leader who can deliver a proper settlement that heals the wounds of the referendum and allows this country to move on to a brighter future outside the EU. Who that will be is genuinely anyone’s guess right now!