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General election: How should an opposition prepare for government?

With a general election at most a year away, Wes Ball, Baroness Fall and Lord Macpherson discussed how opposition parties can prepare for government.

Panel on stage at the Institute for Government; Wes Ball, Baronness Fall, Joe Owen, Cath Haddon and Lord McPherson
Wes Ball, Baroness Fall, Joe Owen, Cath Haddon, and Lord Macpherson

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The next general election is – at most – one year away. If Labour wins, there will, as is almost always the case in the UK, be an overnight transition of power. A party that has spent 14 years in opposition would be instantly thrown into government.

But having focused already limited resources on election campaigning, and often lacking the knowledge and experience of being in government, how can opposition parties prepare for an overnight transition? Which issues do they need to consider ahead of a possible election win? And what challenges might arise on that first day in power?

As the Institute’s research shows, proper preparation can make the difference between success and stagnation once in office. This event, the latest in the Institute for Government’s General Election programme, discussed a new IfG report – Preparing for government: How oppositions should ready themselves for power – which sets out how to prepare for a possible transition into government.

Joining us to the discuss the report and its findings was an expert panel, including:

  • Wes Ball, former Director of the Parliamentary Labour Party
  • Baroness Fall, former Deputy Chief of Staff to David Cameron
  • Dr Catherine Haddon, Programme Director at the Institute for Government
  • Lord Macpherson, former Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury (2005–16)

The event was chaired by Joe Owen, Director of Impact at the Institute for Government.

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