Theresa May and her many consultations

Theresa May has promised consultations on all manner of issue

Theresa May does love a good green paper

Monday, May 22, 2017

Theresa May has promised a consultation on a controversial policy outlined in the Conservative Party manifesto. 

This follows a major storm over her plans to reform social care if the Tories are re-elected, which would have forced pensioners with assets of £100,000 or more to pay for their care.

The plans brought a torrent of criticism, and May has now attempted to mollify her critics by saying there will be a consultation on a cap about the policy. 

But critics might suggest the Prime Minister is pulling the 'consultation' trick rather too often. She's promising to consult the public on all manner of issues - and people would be forgiven for thinking this is just a sop, an empty promise to get the critics off her back.

Indeed, we've totted up all the 'consultations' May has promised. If you're in the focus group business, a Tory election victory sounds like manna from heaven.

1. Consultation on social care

The phrase 'dementia tax' will have got the Tory spin doctors wincing, so it's no surprise that the Prime Minister has backtracked on her incendiary social care policy.

Tory supporters will hail this as a considerate, constructive approach, but it was really the only avenue May had left. 

2. Consultation on Scottish independence

As an attempt to placate the SNP and to head off their attempts to secure a second independence referendum, Theresa May promised Scotland would get more devolved powers after Brexit. These powers would be proferred after a wider consultation with the devolved governments on where repatriated powers should be held.

This will require a particularly complicated consultation, mainly because this is an area which is completely unprecedented. 

3. Consultation on industrial strategy

Earlier in January, the Prime Minister held a consultation on her industrial strategy. 

This was apparently received positively, and is likely to be the first of many, for Brexit will be an overarching factor.

4. Consultation on corporate governance

The government also launched a green paper (a consultative document, in other words) on corporate governance earlier this year, focusing on executive pay, stakeholder engagement and extending current regulations.

Many news outlets, such as the right-wing Spectator, criticised the document for its lack of impact.

5. Consultation on third runway at Heathrow

The Prime Minister was heavily consulted on whether to expand Heathrow or Gatwick Airport. 

In the end, Heathrow was chosen - much to the fury of campaign groups and several MPs in the House of Commons.

6. Consultation on domestic violence law

In February, the Prime Minister promised to hold a consultation on a new domestic violence law. 

The law is planned to increase the penalities and prosecutions for people who commit domestic violence. It is intended to eradicate a postcode lottery in how victims were treated by police forces.

The fact that Labour continues to enjoy greater support than the Tories among young women suggests May's approach may not have had the desired effect.