Brexit and beyond: A crucial week in Forward Planning

It’s going to be some week in politics (again) and Forward Planner – used by the national media, government departments and many more – has it covered.

Monday’s Queen’s Speech sets out Boris Johnson’s new programme for government, despite all the controversy over proroguing Parliament, while later in the evening Jeremy Corbyn presents his alternative vision at a Labour rally in Westminster. The SNP are also setting out their stall, with Nicola Sturgeon giving a keynote speech on Tuesday to the party’s annual conference in Aberdeen.

All this preludes the long-awaited two-day EU Summit in Brussels, starting on Thursday, where the Prime Minister will present his final proposal for an agreement on Brexit.

Expect to see some serious political clamour at the ‘business end’ of the gathering on Friday, being just one day before the UK’s own Brexit deadline, as recently imposed by the House of Commons.

Under this new 19 October cut-off, Johnson is supposed to extend Brexit from 31st of this month to the end of January 2020 if he fails to secure a deal in time. Cue impassioned pleas for him to do so this weekend during Parliament’s first Saturday sitting in 37 years. Yards away from the green benches, the People’s Vote campaign holds a major demonstration calling for a second referendum, following a noon procession across central London.

Looking back on previous listings, it’s worth seeing how Forward Planner has scoped the news agenda of late (not least on Brexit) and crucially how this might have contributed to final press, broadcast and online coverage. How better to assess that than with media monitoring and analysis.

Not only did Forward Planning help to set out advance information on Boris Johnson’s Berlin summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last weekend, it also gave some vital details on the PM’s meeting with Irish premier Leo Varadkar on Thursday, not to mention Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay’s dialogue with EU negotiator Michel Barnier the following day – and all well ahead of time.

Kantar’s Brexit Digest (Sign up here) provides a useful monitoring insight on eventual pick-up:

Looking further ahead this month, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, who are key supporters of the Conservative government and vocal critics of the ‘backstop’ proposal for the Irish border, holds what is set to be a significant annual conference in Belfast on 26 October. An expected highlight is DUP Leader Arlene Foster’s keynote speech – delivered just five days before the UK is due to leave the European Union.

As shown, 31 October heralds not only the key date for Brexit but also a significant leadership change in Brussels. Jean-Claude Juncker stands down on Halloween to make way for German politician.

Ursula von der Leyen who will preside over the 13th European Commission. In doing so she also becomes the first ever female leader in the EU’s top job.

Needless to say, Forward Planning should expect to see some new interest over the coming months from political stakeholders and anyone else who needs a clear view on what promises to be a pivotal period ahead.


Richard Nottingham is the News & Politics Editor (Forward Planning Services) at Kantar. Listings displayed are selected from Kantar’s 12-month forward news and events calendar that also includes reports, results, legislation, surveys, launches, awards, conferences and other key dates in current affairs, business, and entertainment and lifestyle. Find out more.

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