Peers back Policy Exchange proposal to update treason laws

On the first day back after Parliamentary recess, Policy Exchange’s proposal to update the Law of Treason was raised by two former ministers as the House of Lords debated the Government’s latest Counter Terrorism Bill.

Former Defence and Northern Ireland Secretary Rt Hon Lord King noted: ‘One interesting suggestion has been promoted by Policy Exchange to meet the challenge of those who are betraying our country and are going out to fight and kill our forces. Australia and New Zealand have already taken action against people who are aiding the enemy by adapting the ancient law of treason to give a penalty of life imprisonment for people in that situation.’

Later in the debate, former Justice Minister Lord Faulks QC added ‘I also commend the recent Policy Exchange publication, Aiding the Enemy: How and Why to Restore the Law of Treason. Its authors include two Members of Parliament, one Labour and one Conservative, and it has a foreword by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge. It provides a compelling case for the return to the statute book of a modern law of treason—the 1351 statute is plainly no longer fit for purpose.’

Before the debate, head of Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project Professor Richard Ekins set out why an update to treason laws was needed to protect the UK from those that join terrorist groups or hostile nations. Click here to read his article.

Davidson and Darling

Japan’s PM Shinzō Abe confirms Policy Exchange research

Japan would welcome Britain to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal “with open arms”, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe told the Financial Times. His remarks confirm Policy Exchange’s recent findings in Trading Tigers, which argued that “UK membership would be attractive to Japan in view of the substantial Japanese investment flows to the UK and the addition of a sizeable market.”

Alexander Downer, Policy Exchange’s Chair and a former Australian Foreign Minister, said: “I warmly welcome Prime Minister Abe’s positive message on the UK joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. Japan is the biggest member by a long way of the CP-TPP and other members are also likely to welcome the UK’s membership, as Australia has. There are not going to be any problems, as long as the UK signs up to the rules of membership.”

Read the research paper, by Dr Geoff Raby, Head of Trade Policy, and Warwick Lightfoot, Head of Economics, here.

Sajid Javid praises Policy Exchange’s ‘hugely important’ work

Speaking at Policy Exchange’s annual reception at Conservative Party Conference, the Home Secretary said: “If I think about the policies regarding all the different roles I’ve had in Government – in every different role I’ve had there’s always been something from Policy Exchange that has helped us shape policy and have a real impact.

“Even now for me the work you are doing on counter-extremism, the work that’s been done on immigration, especially post-Windrush on what lessons we can learn, but also more broadly in politics the work you’ve done on being more civil in politics – you’re raising the tone of politics which I think is hugely important.” Watch the video of that event and more here.

Policy Exchange wins prize as best UK think on Energy and Environment issues

At the prestigious annual Prospect Think Tank of the Year Awards, Policy Exchange has won best UK think tank in the Energy and Environment category.

The unit’s research has ranged from the role of future nuclear modular reactors to cleaning up vehicle emissions in Britain’s cities. The judges recognised that our work paid “particular attention to the economic drivers behind environmental policy”. Just this week the Unit published a major new report setting how the UK can reduce carbon emissions and make UK heavy industry more competitive through an economy-wide carbon tax.

The work and convening power of Policy Exchange’s Britain in the World unit was also recognised at the awards, with the visit by US Defense Secretary James Mattis thought particularly notable.

Prime Minister delivers keynote remarks at Policy Exchange Summer Reception

Highlighting Policy Exchange’s place as the leading think tank of modernisation, she praised its latest report on tackling the housing crisis.

The Prime Minister paid tribute to Policy Exchange’s successful track record of policy innovation, saying “can I give a sincere thanks to Policy Exchange for everything that you’ve been doing because its 16 years now that you’ve been making the case for a modern compassionate reforming conservatism. And if we just look at some of the ideas you’ve brought forward – free schools, police and crime commissioners – you’ve actually championed some of the defining policies of the last decade…  I’m really interested in the report you’ve brought out today. I’ve long said that design quality is, I think, actually one of the keys to new housing, and can I just say that it’s important you carry on because there’s a real battle of ideas today because, let’s face it, the world is changing fast.”

Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Environment Secretary calls for new approach to capitalism in speech at Policy Exchange

In a wide ranging speech at Policy Exchange this morning, Environment Secretary Michael Gove challenged think tanks and politicians to tackle today’s economic problems, saying that “while capitalism has brought both growth and progress in the past, it is not delivering now.” He called for a new approach which “should place the importance of protecting, enhancing and growing natural capital at its heart”. Mr Gove also paid tribute to Policy Exchange’s work across a range of issues, saying that “the practical solutions Policy Exchange has developed have been implemented in Government and have made a profound difference for the better”.

Fuelling the Future

Scotland and North East England offer the best opportunities for successful hydrogen production hubs, while investment in cost-effective hydrogen production technologies – such as electrolysis – would open up export opportunities and address both the Industrial and Clean Growth strategies, according to the new report from Policy Exchange’s award-winning energy team, with a Foreword from the first elected Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen.

The Border Audit

Brexit and the ending of free movement, the persistent problem of illegal immigration and the need to avoid any repeat of the Windrush scandal, have combined to put some kind of national identity system right back on the political agenda. One option would be to roll out the ID management system now being developed for the 3.6m EU citizens to everyone. The border should also be a higher priority for future public investment, according to a new report by Policy Exchange’s Head of Demography, Immigration and Integration David Goodhart, The Border Audit: A post-Windrush review.

Trading Tigers

Brexit offers the opportunity to join free trade deals with fast growing economies like members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – but only if the UK is free to make commitments on both goods and services, argues a new essay by Policy Exchange’s Head of Trade Policy Geoff Raby and Head of Economics Warwick Lightfoot.

The ‘end of austerity’ and what should come next

Policy Exchange’s Warwick Lightfoot – a former Special Adviser to three Chancellors – says the Prime Minister’s announcement that ‘austerity’ is ending is good politics. But increased public spending doesn’t always mean better public sector productivity, he warns.

Policy Exchange at the Big Tent Ideas Festival 2018

Policy Exchange hosted four events in the Politics tent at the Big Ideas Festival, looking at some of today’s most contentious issues. A top range of speakers debated how to raise the tone of public discourse; building a new national consensus; beating NIMBYism by building beautiful homes; and using great thinkers and leaders of the past to solve today’s problems.

Policy Exchange welcomes Hon James Mattis

Policy Exchange was delighted to welcome Hon James Mattis, US Secretary of Defense, to our offices. Secretary Mattis discussed the current global situation, a situation which includes the threats posed by North Korea and a Russia seeking to challenge the territorial integrity of its neighbours. He also spoke of the enduring importance of the UK–US Alliance and of Britain’s continued moral voice on the world stage, as Policy Exchange argued for in The Cost of Doing Nothing. He also praised Policy Exchange’s record of thought leadership in making the case for a Global Britain’s continued commitment to NATO.


  • Wednesday, 27 June, 2018
    11:00 - 12:30

At a time of growing international instability, the Five Eyes intelligence arrangements (which brings the UK together with the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand) is of vital important to the security of Britain and its allies. While questions are being raised over the long-term future of NATO, Five Eyes represents another crucial pillar of our national security – mitigating threats from hostile states, terrorism, and other non state actors. Why does the continuation of the Five Eyes matter and what can be done to support and enhance it for the challenges ahead?


  • Thursday, 21 June, 2018
    10:00 - 11:30

The UK Climate Change Act went through Parliament 10 years ago with cross-party support – marking a political consensus on climate action that has continued ever since and serving as an international template. Former Labour Energy Secretary Ed Miliband, Conservative Energy Minister Claire Perry, Liberal Democrat energy spokesperson Baroness Featherstone and Climate Change Committee CEO Chris Stark were joined by a packed audience to consider how successive governments have tackled the issue and how to get to net zero carbon emissions.


  • Thursday, 7 June, 2018
    9:00 - 11:00

In his only public appearance on his UK visit, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was interviewed by William Shawcross at Policy Exchange. Deeming the Iran nuclear deal ‘defunct’, the Prime Minister said that a realignment was taking place in the Middle East, with relations improving between Israel and Sunni nations. He also had words of praise for Presidents Trump and Obama.

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