The dust is settling in Westminster and across the country. Instead of the expected emphatic victory for the Conservative party, the election has resulted in the Conservatives losing their majority in a hung Parliament. While still the UK’s largest party, the Conservatives fell eight seats short of winning the required 326 seats for an overall majority.

At lunchtime today Theresa May announced her intention to form a government with support from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

May

Theresa May addressing the country outside Downing St at lunchtime (photo from the Sun).

Despite the reduced majority for the Conservatives and the fact that the election has not delivered a Parliamentary majority for a clear way forward on Brexit, both the main parties (as well as the DUP) were clear in the campaign and in their manifestos on the desire to turn the UK into the most innovative country in the world. The DUP manifesto can be accessed in full here and the previous BIA analysis of the other manifestos can be found here.

The UK life sciences sector is key to taking the UK’s outstanding science base and translating it into economic jobs and growth. Measures to support this goal should attract broad support in the new Parliament.

Getting the highly complex and technical issues associated with Brexit right is the key priority for our sector. We will continue to make our members’ expertise available to ministers and officials in the coming weeks and months. Early agreement on key issues like the regulation of medicines, the regime to enable non-UK nationals to work and contribute to the UK life science ecosystem, trade, finance support, market and intellectual property rules, will be the best way to ensure speedy and continuing global inward investment into the UK and EU. It will also be in the best interest of patients who require access to innovative healthcare.

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The Guardian’s breakdown of how each constituency voted can be found here.

Who is in and who is out?

Several Ministers have lost their seats and it is unclear at the time of writing what Ministerial line-up May will look to put in place. However, those leaving and joining Parliament include:

  • Nicola Blackwood, Under-Secretary of Health, lost her seat in Oxford West and Abingdon to Liberal Democrat challenger Layla Moran by 816 votes;
  • Conservative Ben Howlett, chair of the APPG on Rare, Genetic and Undiagnosed Conditions, lost his seat to the Liberal Democrat’s Wera Hobhouse by 5,694 votes. This will mean that a new Chair will be appointed once the APPGs reform as Parliament begins;
  • Ben Gummer, previously a junior health minister, Cabinet Office Minister and one of the key authors of the 2017 Manifesto lost his seat to Labour’s Sandy Martin by 831 votes;
  • Jane Ellison, Financial Secretary to the Treasury and previously a health minister, lost her seat in Battersea to Labour’s Marsha De Cordova by 2,416 votes;
  • David Mowat, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, lost his seat in Warrington South by 2,549 votes;
  • Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, who served as Business, Innovation and Skills Secretary from 2010-15, won back his seat in Twickenham by 9,762 votes. However, the Liberal Democrats lose Nick Clegg, former leader of the Liberal Democrats and former deputy PM as his seat was won by Labour’s Jared O’Mara with a majority of 2,125.

The BIA will publish an updated Guide to Government once the new Ministerial line-up has been announced. The guide will explain who’s who in the new government and their relevance to the life sciences, so keep an eye on our blog and our other communications over the coming days and weeks.

In the lead up to the election, we also published two blogs (here and here) where we looked at potential life sciences champions in the next Parliament. Here is how they got on in the election:

Cambridge – Dr Julian Huppert

 

Liberal Democrat Huppert lost against Labour’s incumbent Daniel Zeichner with 16,371 votes to Zeichner’s 29,032. Zeichner has been a strong advocate for the life sciences sector as the Cambridge MP since 2015.
Oxford East – Anneliese Dodds

 

 

Labour’s Dodds, an MEP for South East England, won as expected a strong majority. She said that she would use her “contacts across Europe to protect trade and scientific links which are so important to the local economy”. Dodds has already met the BIA at the recent CEO and Investor Forum.
Chelmsford – Vicky Ford

 

 

 

Conservative Ford is also joining domestic politics having been an MEP since 2009. A supporter of science and research, she has met with pharma companies in Brussels to discuss the importance of UK patients’ participation in cross border clinical trials and ensuring undue delays to regulatory approvals are avoided for advanced medicines.
Edinburgh South – Jim Eadie

 

SNP’s Eadie, who previously was the head of the medicines industry trade body ABPI, did not manage to unseat Labour MP Ian Murray.
Harborough – Neil O’Brien

 

 

Conservative O’Brien maintains the large inherited majority in Harborough. He has most recently worked as a Special Adviser on Industrial Strategy and the Northern Powerhouse to the PM.

We are looking forward to engaging with these new and returning MPs throughout the new Parliament.

What’s next?                             

It is still early days and much remains to be seen. At the time of writing we still anticipate that the Speaker will be elected on Tuesday June 13 and that MPs will be sworn in throughout the week.

The Queen’s Speech is still currently scheduled to take place on Monday June 19, the same day as Brexit negotiations are due to commence.

Ministerial appointments will be confirmed over the coming days and Parliamentary appointments such as the election of Select Committee Chairs will follow, likely in early July. The Committees themselves are unlikely to start any work until the autumn.

As developments occur we will continue to update you on that information through Newscast, our blog, member mailings and on our social media channels.

We will also be hosting a webinar next Thursday 15 June at 4pm that will look at both the impact of the General Election alongside our regular Brexit update. Please register here.

We are also hosting our annual Parliament Day on July 6, where CEOs can meet with new and returning MPs, ministers and civil servants. The event is an excellent opportunity to shape the agenda of the new parliament and government on issues such as Brexit, the Industrial Strategy, and economic growth. The day is concluded by our Summer Reception, where BIA members and non-members alike have an opportunity to network with fellow industry professionals and policy-makers at the IET Savoy Place. You can register for the Summer Reception here.