The Policy Lifecycle: Tweets, Troublemakers and Traditions

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Since the 2005 election, Westminster has changed. The traditions, the green benches, and the antiquated language remain, but politics is now digital, fast-moving, and relentless. The new reality still includes a few certainties, as demonstrated by the Government’s recent announcement on cigarette packaging. Here are 12 things to think about when you’re following an issue:

  1. A big development may be slipped in under the radar… For example at 8pm, during a Wednesday evening Adjournment Debate
  2. News will be broken on Twitter – after all, everything happens on Twitter first now
  3. The opposition’s first response will be tweeted, long before they manage to put out a press statement (47 minutes, in this case)
  4. In the rush to report breaking news first, not every outlet will get their facts straight
  5. The debate will be cross-media, with comments made on the radio ending up on TV and online
  6. Politicians will take the argument out of the chamber… and even away from party politics (sometimes)
  7. Stakeholders will have their say, even if the press ignores them
  8. The media will get excited about whatever Nigel Farage says
  9. Social media makes it easier to turn armchair opposition into action
  10. An announcement of Government intent is rarely the end of the story, thanks to troublesome backbenchers
  11. In the meantime, parliamentarians will not wait patiently. Instead, they will table written or oral questions and bring it up in debates
  12. And while everyone waits for the Government to act, recalcitrant backbenchers will keep up the opposition.

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Quote of the Day

Lucy Allan explains her positive comments about the Brexit Party…

“If EU elections are held, Leave supporting voters will want to vote for Leave supporting candidates… Usual party loyalties will be eclipsed by the Leave v Remain divide. It’s good to see strong candidates in the Leave camp. However, I sincerely hope we leave the EU before these elections are held so that we can move on and not waste time and money on unnecessary EU elections.”

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