Clifford Chance has become what is believed to be the first law firm to draw up a guide for its clients on what life under a Labour government might be like.
Entitled New Labour, New Government? it has been compiled by the firm's public policy group headed by Richard Thomas, who was appointed from the Office of Fair Trading in April 1992. “We have been following Labour policy for about three years now and have been sending out circulars on the Queen's speech,” he said. “Our clients expect us to keep them informed on politics.”
Thomas said he had been getting a growing number of inquiries from clients about how Labour's policies may affect long-term investments they were making, such as under PFI schemes, as it appeared increasingly likely Labour would be elected.
The pamphlet implies a Labour government is very likely but warns: “It would be a grave mistake to assume that a Labour victory is a foregone conclusion. “
On the development of Tony Blair's New Labour it cautions: “Although New Labour now recognises what can be achieved by market forces, the tendency to intervene is likely to be markedly stronger than under the Conservatives.”
Thomas claimed that, in the areas of competition policy, and the regulation of utilities, broadcast and telecommunications media, and pensions, clients could expect significant changes to the current situation.
He also said the effect of Labour's planned freedom of information legislation and incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into the UK's constitution could not be under-estimated.