Under David Cameron, Downing Street regularly briefed a big speech on Sunday, saw it made on Monday, and gained follow-up coverage on Tuesday. Wednesday saw Prime Minister’s Questions. Cameron would thus dominate the political news, if there was nothing more headline-grabbing going on, for the early part of the week. Then on Thursday, he might broadcast for local radio. On Friday, there could be a regional visit. Job done.
This plan worked well for him until the long EU referendum campaign ended it. So no wonder Theresa May plans to revive it and run with it during the early part of the year. A speech on mental health is due later this month. Then one is planned on broken markets. The industrial strategy will also be unveiled. There may be a housing speech in February.
The Prime Minister doesn’t want her Government to be defined by leaving the EU, and must thus fill each non-Brexit minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run. If the Supreme Court upholds the High Court’s ruling mid-January, Parliament’s permission will be required before Article 50 is moved, and MPs and peers are likely to be presented with a Bill to vote on.
If so, May will doubtless get the go-ahead sooner or later, but the to-and-fro in the Commons and Lords – timetable, amendments, guillotines, votes and all – will be noisy, and likely to drown out much of the rest of what the Government is doing. So she must make hay while the sun shines, or more likely does not, during the first half of the first month of this New Year.