Conservative landslide election victory welcomed by print

The print industry has reacted positively to the landslide victory by the Conservatives in yesterday’s General Election.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson lead the Conservatives to an emphatic victory
Prime Minister Boris Johnson lead the Conservatives to an emphatic victory

After 649 of 650 constituencies had declared, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives had 364 seats, a Commons majority of 78 and up 47 seats on the 2017 General Election in which it failed to return a majority and saw Theresa May join forces with Northern Ireland’s DUP.

Labour fell way behind on 203, down 59 seats on 2017, the Scottish National Party 48 (up 13), Liberal Democrats 11 (down one) and DUP eight (down two), with ‘others’ on 15 (up two).

The Conservatives’ majority is its largest since 1987, when Margaret Thatcher won a third term.

In his victory speech this morning, Johnson, who is now meeting with the Queen to ask to form a new government, said: “I will make it my mission to work night and day, flat out, to prove you right in voting for me this time and to earn your support in the future. And I say to you that in this election your voice has been heard, and about time too.”

He said he would put an end to politicians’ arguments over Brexit and “get Brexit done, on time, by 31 January”, and added the government will “massively increase” its investment in the NHS.

Many of the seats in Labour’s traditional heartlands in the Midlands, the North East and Wales were won by the Conservatives, leading Jeremy Corbyn to announce that he would not fight another election as Labour leader.

Union Unite, which was backing Labour, has not commented on the result but Tweeted about the importance of being in a union.

BPIF chief executive Charles Jarrold told Printweek: “Whatever one’s view on Brexit, the uncertainty has been a real problem for the industry and we’ve seen people holding off on investment decisions and big decisions, and that isn’t in anyone’s interests.

“We are an industry which requires confidence and investment ultimately and we will at least now know that we get over the line into that transition agreement period.”

He added: “There is still work to be done in working out what the relationship with Europe is. When we look at our Outlook survey, the top Brexit concerns are all around supply chain and tariff and non-tariff barriers.

“What we would like to see is close alignment with Europe to make sure we’ve got that seamless trading capability.”

The printing industry had been largely in favour of a Conservative win, according to a recent Printweek poll of more than 500 voters, with 50% saying they would vote Conservative, followed by The Brexit Party and Liberal Democrats on 18% each, Labour on 8%, and ‘Other’ on 6%.

Industry reaction 

Charles Jarrold, BPIF

“The Conservatives are traditionally the party of business but they’ve obviously got a very broad electoral base now.

“At the detailed level they talked about reviewing business rates, at the slightly bigger level we would like to see them do everything they can to support businesses in making investment decisions. UK investment does lag behind our European peers and if we want to create the sort of country I think we all do want then investment in industry is a key part of that because that drives up productivity and living standards.

“Boris talked this morning about infrastructure and creating jobs and skills, and I completely agree with that and hope he carries that through. Skills development is a huge part of our industry and what the BPIF does for the industry.

“The pension levy works but it isn’t perfect, we don’t want to see radical change but we certainly want to see drives that support continued investment in skills as well.”

Nigel Toplis, managing director, The Bardon Group, including Kall Kwik and Recognition Express

“I think from a business point of view it’s probably a sense of relief that the Conservatives won; they are traditionally the party of business. I think having a majority is probably a good thing in the sense that we can get things done – so long as they do the right thing.

“What Boris and his team have got now is a mandate from the people, a mandate from business to get out and do things that are going to put this country in a strong position over the next five years. He can’t afford to cock it up – this is a one-time offer, because rest assured, they won’t win the next election by 70 or 80 seats because these things don’t happen very often.”

Gary White, managing director, Northside Graphics and

"From my point of view I’m just delighted Corbyn didn't get in. It will be very interesting to see if Boris can keep his promises about unfettered access for goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain. It's not a concern for us, but it is a big concern for food and agriculture and Boris is on record promising Northern Ireland business leaders there will be no additional paperwork.

“With the majority he has, he has a massive opportunity to spend his way into being extremely popular – to really make good and help disadvantaged areas. There’s no need for austerity anymore.”

Gary Peeling, chief executive, Precision Printing

Clarity at last that’s good for demand, which has been depressed. Plus, one would have been forgiven for thinking, looking at the digital social media world last night (Twitter), that Jeremy Corbyn was on for an upset.

“Let’s hope that brands wake up once again and own offline, gaining tangible results with lower costs and effort. More demand from brands and increasing costs of digital acquisition, now all we need to do is sell – but at least someone will be buying.”

Zed Sheikh, sales director, Clifton Packaging

“We are happy that the uncertainty is now over, and we can now get on with the running of our business in a productive manner and plan accordingly.

“Many people that we have been in touch with throughout this journey share the same sentiment.”

Andy Wood, chairman, Go Inspire Insight

“I think it brings a degree of clarity, it means that we shouldn’t be stuck in neutral as we have been for the last few years. [Boris] has got his mandate, so no matter what I and others think, it’s a case of ‘you’ve got your shot so you need to prove that you can make it work. I’ll get behind you until proven otherwise but you do need to prove it’.”

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