Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
09 Jun 2017

General Election 2017: The reactions

09 Jun 2017 • by Changeboard Team

It wasn't supposed to be like this. Six weeks ago, when Theresa May stood at the door of 10 Downing Street and declared a snap general election (despite promising seven times that she wouldn't), the commentariat were convinced a heady victory was round the corner for the Prime Minister. 

But on the morning of the 9th June 2017, it would seem that the electorate have rejected May and have once again, astounded the pollsters, journalists and the established political class. Is it a retaliation to a 'Hard Brexit'? A refusal to accept the u-turns of the incumbent government? Or has the young vote finally mobilised itself in its support of the much maligned Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn?

As always, the picture isn't very clear. What we do know is that businesses, institutions and talking heads are commenting, asking questions and in some cases, delivering answers on how this result will affect the climate in Britain. We have compiled some of the reaction here, and will continue to update throughout the day.

Carolyn Fairbank, CBI director-general

“This is a serious moment for the UK economy. The priority must be for politicians to get their house in order and form a functioning government, reassure the markets and protect our resilient economy.

“Politicians must act responsibly, putting the interests of the country first and showing the world that the UK remains a safe destination for business. It’s time to put the economy back to the top of the agenda.

“For the next Government, the need and opportunity to deliver an open, competitive and fair post-Brexit economy that works for everyone across all our nations and regions has never been more important.

“This can only be achieved if the next government doesn’t put the brakes on business, remains open to the world and sets out a pro-enterprise vision.

“Firms will support the UK develop our inclusive, innovative and open economy. More than ever, the new Government must work together with business to make the most of the opportunities ahead. Firms can provide the evidence, ideas and solutions from the shop, office and factory floor to secure our future prosperity.” 

Peter Cheese, CEO, CIPD

“This election was called to provide the next government with a strong mandate to take us through Brexit but this morning we face yet more uncertainty. In order for the economy to remain resilient it’s vital that we have a working government that brings the UK the stability it needs at this crucial time.

“Brexit negotiations are high on the agenda and how these now move forwards will be a critical area of discussion. However, there is of course a much wider agenda that we need the new government to deliver on as was clear through the public debates. A key focus must be on addressing workplace issues through a much more human lens. By focusing on improving transparency in business, protecting and raising awareness of rights for workers and boosting investment in skills, we can hope to ensure that work can be a force for good, regardless of how, when and where people work. We look forward to working with the new government once it has been officially formed, to address these issues and ensure the UK is in a strong position to be a high-skills, high-value economy.”

Stephen Martin, director general of the Institute of Directors

“This is a serious moment for the UK economy. The priority must be for politicians to get their house in order and form a functioning government, reassure the markets and protect our resilient economy.

“Politicians must act responsibly, putting the interests of the country first and showing the world that the UK remains a safe destination for business. It’s time to put the economy back to the top of the agenda.

“For the next Government, the need and opportunity to deliver an open, competitive and fair post-Brexit economy that works for everyone across all our nations and regions has never been more important.

“This can only be achieved if the next government doesn’t put the brakes on business, remains open to the world and sets out a pro-enterprise vision.

“Firms will support the UK develop our inclusive, innovative and open economy. More than ever, the new Government must work together with business to make the most of the opportunities ahead. Firms can provide the evidence, ideas and solutions from the shop, office and factory floor to secure our future prosperity.” 

Alain de Botton, philosopher and author

Alan Price, Employment Law and HR Director of Peninsula

The election was called by Theresa May to provide her with a greater Conservative majority to ensure her mandate for negotiating Brexit was robust. The democratic voters, however, appear to have rallied against this and the election will result in a hung Parliament where the Conservatives are the biggest party with no overall majority. Peninsula has received hundreds of calls this morning from worried business owners asking what does this mean for their business in regards to their employees.

One of the most concerning aspects of the election for employers is likely to be what this means for the UK leaving the EU. Some experts are saying that it is now likely a “softer” Brexit will be carried out as the Conservatives campaigned on the basis of a “hard Brexit” and the public did not provide them with the support to carry this out. With some key Conservatives against leaving the single market, and the EU ready to negotiate, there are suggestions that Brexit will be delayed or postponed.