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School of Politics and International Relations

The virus is changing politics, but there are opportunities as well as risks


In this article for The Times, Professor Tim Bale from Queen Mary University of London, says it's too early to tell what the long-term impact of coronavirus on UK politics will be, but that we can at least make some educated guesses about the short-to-medium-term opportunities and threats it presents to the Conservative government and to its Labour opposition. Bale comments that the  Brexit referendum and last year's general election proved Boris Johnson is a phenomenally gifted campaigner, but doubts have remained regarding his ability to actually run the country. His response to Covid-19 could therefore provide him with the chance to prove his critics wrong. Bale also suggests an opportunity for the Conservatives to convince people that the NHS is safe in their hands, following cuts over the last decade. However, this could also run the risk of highlighting how little the Conservatives have spent on NHS over the years. For Labour, Professor Bale comments that very few voters may be listening to what the party has to say at this precise time, which comes just after a change in leadership. Nevertheless, the crisis could also present Labour with an opportunity to distance itself from being a disjointed party plagued with in-fighting. 

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