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What ‘May’ happen next  

Few of us thought we would have a new prime minister in less than three weeks, when we went to bed on June 23rd this year, not to mention be facing what will be the long process of coming out of the EU…

A lot has happened in the weeks since the country voted Brexit but, at last, we are looking at some stability as Theresa May steps up. Faced with the unenviable task of protecting us from the storms that have arisen since that fateful vote count in June, Ms May has a lot of work to do in the days, weeks and months ahead.

Alasdair Reisner, chief executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, quoted in Construction Manager *, sums up the general feeling: “A priority for UK industry is a stable government and economy… It is now time for the government to get back to the day job of running the country… There are major decisions to be made now on large infrastructure projects – it is time for our new prime minister to show that the UK is open for business again.”

Theresa May should give us the firm direction that is needed going forward. Although she voted to remain, she has made it clear that there will be no attempt for Britain to remain in the EU and has promised that she will provide the necessary leadership through Brexit negotiations and make those negotiations successful.

She takes office with the promise to provide a positive vision for the country that works for everyone and not just for the few. We needed to know what (and who) was going to happen next in the wake of Cameron’s resignation and, following on from all the in-fighting, the announcement that the next PM is in place is something of a relief.

So, what comes next?

As an industry, we will certainly need some clarity and reassurance in relation to some of those bigger projects referenced above as well as to initiatives such as the Northern powerhouse. When it comes to the latter, efforts to attract foreign investment must step up a gear if the vision that was initially promised is to be fulfilled.

Theresa May is reputed to be something of a pragmatist, with a strong work ethic and a diligent approach. She has an established track record and a steely resolve – all qualities that she will need when brokering our withdrawal from the EU and minimizing the fall-out that could follow. Will our industry prosper under her government? That, of course, remains to be seen.


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