BUSINESS LEADERS have urged the new Government to set out clear plans in its first 100 days to secure the country’s economic recovery.
The call from the CBI comes as David Cameron sets about appointing his new Cabinet and drafting a Queen’s speech to set the tone for the Conservatives’ term in office.
After securing an unexpected overall majority in the General Election, the Prime Minister has already announced a series of key Ministerial appointments.
Former Education Secretary Michael Gove has returned to the top of government as Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor.
Mr Cameron confirmed he will replace Chris Grayling, who becomes Leader of the House of Commons. The Prime Minister also confirmed Nicky Morgan in her post as Education Secretary, in what is being described as a “huge vote of confidence” in her performance. She took over after Mr Gove was demoted to Chief Whip in a reshuffle last summer.
Last week Mr Cameron announced that George Osborne was remaining as Chancellor, while Theresa May and Philip Hammond would remain as Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary. Several key posts are still unfilled, including those previously held by Liberal Democrats in the coalition cabinet such as Treasury Secretary and Business Secretary.
Business leaders are urging the new administration to act fast. The CBI’s Deputy director general, Katja Hall, said: “With one of the most unpredictable elections in living memory now behind us, the new Government must get into its stride quickly. It should set out clear plans for the next parliament within the first 100 days, and have a laser-like focus on delivery. The Prime Minister should prioritise building on the progress made to get the deficit down, finding more innovative ways to deliver public services and backing the final decision from the Airports Commission so we get diggers in the ground by 2020.
“Business will take an active role in arguing the case for the UK to remain inside a reformed EU, and it will be vital for the Government to set the bar for that reform at a level which is both ambitious and achievable.”
Although Mr Cameron secured a victory for his party he will be working with a much smaller majority than that of the coalition.
This has led to speculation that the Prime Minister could face a repeat of the party’s internal struggles over Europe which hamstrung John Major – especially as Mr Cameron is seeking a renegotiation of the UK’s relationship with Brussels to put to an in/out referendum by 2017.
However, Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis, a prominent Eurosceptic, praised the Prime Minister for quickly meeting with the chair of the influential 1922 committee, Graham Brady, in a bid to smooth relations with backbenchers.
Mr Davis, who ten years ago lost a leadership race against Mr Cameron, said: “I don’t think we will repeat the Major days for three reasons. One: We have done it before and we know what it feels like. Two: People have got the option of talking to him more than before. And three: If they don’t like the outcome they can actually campaign against it in the referendum.”
He suggested the priority for MPs from the negotiations would be securing an effective opt-out for the UK from measures considered against the national interest, rather than over immigration.
George Galloway has said he is starting legal proceedings to have the Bradford West by-election result set aside. He was defeated by Labour’s Naz Shah.