Key developments for UK BioPharma: General Election 2019

The UK went to the polls yesterday in an election dubbed as one of the most important in decades. The result of the election is clear today; the country will be governed by the Conservatives with a strong majority in the House of Commons.

Until the final day it was unclear what this election, the third in 5 years, would deliver.

The Conservative Party, which has held power since 2010, will now enjoy a comfortable majority of 80 seats and has clear breathing space to govern. Labour will remain in opposition with 203 seats.

This result has various implications for the life sciences industry. The Conservative Party’s pledges, as outlined in its manifesto, now have a good chance of being implemented over the course of the Conservative Government. The Conservative manifesto said:

“We will develop new treatments for serious diseases. We will extend the successful Cancer Drugs Fund into an Innovative Medicines Fund so that doctors can use the most advanced, life-saving treatments for conditions such as cancer or autoimmune disease, or for children with other rare diseases. If you or a loved one is unlucky enough to fall ill, we’ll ensure you have access to the best available medicines. We will also improve the early diagnosis and treatment of all major conditions.”

As well as a new Government, the election has also seen a large intake of new MPs. This includes those who, from their previous careers and positions, are anticipated to take a keen interest in health policy issues:

  • Dr Luke Evans, Con, Bosworth; GP
  • Feryal Clark, Lab, Enfield North; Council cabinet member for health and social care
  • Rachel Hopkins, Lab, Luton South; Council cabinet executive member for public health
  • Sarah Atherton, Con, Wrexham; District Nurse and social worker
  • Dr Kieran Mullan, Con, Crewe and Nantwich; A&E doctor
  • Dr Ben Spencer, Con, Runnymede and Weybridge; Doctor specialising in mental health
  • Marc Longhi, Con, Dudley North; Council cabinet member for public health
  • Dr James Davies, Con, Vale of Clywd, GP

In the new Parliament, the Health and Social Care Select Committee will also have a significant shake-up. Former Chair of the Committee Dr Sarah Wollaston, and Committee members Luciana Berger and Dr Paul Williams have all lost their seats. The election of Chairs and appointments to Select Committees are expected to take place in the New Year.

The Labour Party’s position on access to medicines and other health policy issues will now likely be dictated by a new leader to be chosen next year. This follows Jeremy Corbyn’s statement that he will not lead the party at another general election.

Member of Labour’s shadow health team, Paula Sheriff, was also defeated as well as Liz McInnes, a former biochemist who took an interest in health issues.

MAP will continue to update its policy engagement pages on MAP Online as Government Ministers, Shadow Spokespeople, Select Committee members and Officers of All Party Parliamentary Groups are announced.

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Published on 13. December 2019 in News, News UK