Developing Your Post – Election Public Affairs Strategy

Navigating Uncertainty:


As the 2024 Election Campaign for 4th July nears its climax, the political landscape in the UK remains a cauldron of unpredictability. Pollsters forecast a Labour landslide, but the real-life impact of issues such as the cost of living crisis, the Middle Eastern conflict in Gaza, and widespread political apathy could generate unforeseen voters’ behaviour. This uncertainty presents a significant challenge for public affairs professionals, who must prepare for a range of potential outcomes: a hung parliament, a Labour majority, a Labour minority government, an influx of independents, or a resurgence of smaller parties like Plaid Cymru and the Green Party. To navigate this complexity, public affairs strategists must develop flexible and adaptive plans that can respond to any scenario. This article offers possible approaches and suggestions for managing various election outcomes and crafting effective public affairs strategies.

Post Election Analysis – Developing Strategies for a variety of potential outcomes

According to a recent YouGov Poll, Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour is on course to win 422 seats (05.06.2024)

  1. Labour Landslide Majority

A Labour landslide would mean significant policy shifts and legislative changes. In this scenario, public affairs professionals could:

  • Engage Early with New Decision-Makers: Establish relationships with newly elected Labour MPs and key party influencers.
  • Align with Labour’s Agenda: Identify and align with Labour’s policy priorities, focusing on areas where your organization’s interests converge with the party’s platform.
  • Monitor Policy Developments: Stay ahead of proposed legislation and regulatory changes. This requires a robust monitoring system and a proactive approach to influence policy debates.
  1. A Hung Parliament

What would it mean for the country if no party wins a majority at the general election?

A hung parliament, where no party has an outright majority, leads to coalition or minority government scenarios. Strategies could include:

  • Identify Key Players in Coalition Talks: Understand which parties might form a coalition and their policy priorities. Influence key figures in these negotiations.
  • Adaptability and Flexibility: Be prepared for rapid changes in the political landscape and be ready to adjust strategies quickly.
  • Cross-Party Engagement: Build relationships across the political spectrum to ensure influence regardless of which parties are in power.
  1. A Minority Labour  Government

In a Labour minority government, Labour would need support from smaller parties or independents to pass legislation. Strategies could focus on:

  • – Build Alliances with Smaller Parties: Understand the priorities of potential coalition partners or supporting parties and find common ground.
  • – Leverage Influence on Key Issues: Focus efforts on pivotal issues where Labour might seek external support, positioning your organization as a valuable partner.
  • Strategic Communications: Use targeted communication campaigns to influence public opinion and apply pressure on key votes.
  1. Parliament with More Independents and Small Parties

Case Study: Ireland will be holding its European Parliament election on 7 June 2024 alongside local elections. The emergence of immigration as an election issue has led to a fall in support for Sinn Féin, while independent candidates look set to receive a large share of the vote.

An increase in independents and smaller party MPs, such as Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, would lead to a more fragmented parliament. Effective strategies could include:

  • Customised Engagement Plans: Develop tailored engagement strategies for a diverse range of MPs, understanding their unique priorities and motivations.
  • Coalition Building: Work on creating issue-based coalitions that bring together different political actors around shared interests.
  • Localised Approaches: Focus on regional issues and concerns, particularly where smaller parties and independents have strong local bases.

Crafting Your Post-Election Strategies

  1. Scenario Planning

Before the election results are in, public affairs teams should develop detailed scenario plans for each potential outcome. This involves:

  • Risk Assessment: Identify the risks and opportunities associated with each scenario.
  • Strategic Prioritization: Determine which policy areas will be most impacted by each outcome and prioritize accordingly.
  • Resource Allocation: Allocate resources flexibly to respond quickly to the actual election results.
  1. Rapid Response Teams

As soon as the election results are known, a rapid response team should:

  • Analyse Results: Quickly assess the new political landscape, identifying key power brokers and potential allies.
  • Adapt Strategies: Adjust pre-prepared strategies based on the actual outcome, ensuring alignment with the new government’s priorities and the balance of power in parliament.
  • Engage Media and Stakeholders: Communicate the implications of the election results to stakeholders and the media, positioning your organization as a thought leader in the new political context.
  1. Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation

The political environment is dynamic, and strategies must be continuously monitored and adapted. This includes:

  • Regular Briefings and Updates: Keep internal teams and stakeholders informed of political developments and their potential impacts.
  • Feedback Loops: Establish mechanisms for ongoing feedback and adjustments to strategies as the political situation evolves.
  • Long-Term Relationship Building: Focus on building long-term relationships with political actors, ensuring sustained influence regardless of short-term political changes.

The July 4th 2024 Election presents a complex and unpredictable challenge for public affairs professionals. By developing flexible, scenario-based strategies and maintaining a rapid response capability, organizations can effectively navigate any election outcome. Continuous engagement, monitoring, and adaptation will be key to ensuring that public affairs efforts remain effective in influencing policy and advancing organizational goals in an ever-changing political landscape.

A list of Key UK Pollsters:

  1. ComRes, retained pollster for the BBC and The Independent
  2. ICM
  3. Ipsos MORI (formerly MORI)
  4. Populus, official The Times pollster
  5. Qriously
  6. Survation, pollster to The Mail on SundayDaily MirrorDaily Record and Sky News
  7. Kantar Group
  8. YouGov