Conservative Party Conference 2022

Sunday 2nd October 14:30 – 15:30

The Future of Human Rights Law Reform

Questions about how or whether to reform human rights law continues to be a source of political and legal controversy. The Government has now withdrawn the Bill of Rights Bill, which was to have replaced the Human Rights Act 1998. It remains to be seen whether new legislation will be brought forward in its place, and what shape such legislation will take, including in relation to difficult questions about immigration and asylum. Possible changes to domestic human rights law are connected also to the merits of membership of the European Convention on Human Rights, which remain hotly disputed, not least in light of the European Court of Human Rights’s recent intervention in relation to deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda. This panel event will discuss the case for human rights law reform and the obstacles to and practicalities of reform, taking into account domestic legislation, international law, and related parliamentary dynamics. 


Speakers Include: 
  • Rt Hon Brandon Lewis CBE MP, Secretary of State for Justice, Lord High Chancellor

  • Simon Murray, Barrister
    Rt Hon Lord Faulks KC, Chairman, Independent Press Standards Organisation

  • Richard Ekins, Head of Judicial Power Project, Policy Exchange
    Lord Godson, Director, Policy Exchange (Chair)

Sunday 2nd October 18:00 – 18:45 

Seizing Opportunities

The Mayor’s Role in Attracting Investment from Housing to the Commonwealth Games 

Andy Street is one of the most successful Mayors in the UK today. From shepherding through a flagship brownfield regeneration fund to delivering the Commonwealth Games, the West Midlands has benefitted from strong leadership and vision. In particular, the Commonwealth Games showed a modern, dynamic city and a vibrant country full of opportunity. How can Mayors best use their powers to deliver investment and growth? How can the legacy of the Commonwealth Games be harnessed to deliver more opportunities and long-term prosperity? What can Mayors bring to the table in discussions about Investment Zones?

Monday 3rd October 09:00 – 10:00 

Will Age Be the Key Electoral Dividing Line at the next Election? 


In recent years, traditional determinants of voting behaviour, including class, place and income have become less accurate predictors. From the Brexit referendum to the 2019 General Election, age was a more precise determinant of how people voted. But will age remain the key determinant at the next General Election? And what policies does the Conservative Party need to retain the votes of both young and older voters?


Speakers Include: 
  • Caroline Abrahams CBE, Charity Director, Age UK
  • Neil O’Brien OBE MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Health and Social Care
  • Kelly Beaver MBE, Chief Executive (UK and Ireland), Ipsos
  • David Goodhart,Head of Demography, Immigration & Integration, Policy Exchange (Chair)
Monday 3rd October 10:15 – 11:15 

On the Side of the Patient

What are the Conservative Party’s plans to improve the NHS?

From the steps of Downing Street, the new Prime Minister pledged to “put our health service on a firm footing,” with the NHS listed as one of three priorities. The recent publication of ‘Our Plan for Patients’ indicated that access to services will be the focus, alongside using new technology and tools to reduce bureaucracy and improve approaches to care.

With the scale of the challenge growing with record waiting times and significant vacancies across the workforce, does the Conservative Party have the new ideas and delivery plan to give voters confidence as we look toward the general election?


Speakers Include: 
  • Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Minister of State at the Department for Health and Social Care 
  • Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive, Versus Arthritis  
  • David Hare, Chief Executive, Independent Healthcare Providers Network  
  • Prof Neil Mortensen FRCS, President, Royal College of Surgeons of England  
  • Chris Smyth, Whitehall Editor, The Times 
  • Robert Ede (Chair), Head of Health and Social Care, Policy Exchange 
Monday 3rd October 11:30 – 12:30 

The Future of Transport

The great decarbonisation journey

The previous Government set an ambition to be a world-leader in green transport, rapidly cutting emissions from our roads, railways, seas and skies by 2050. The recent Transport Decarbonisation Plan sets out a high-level plan for how we will use our vehicles, trains, ships and planes differently. But decarbonisation is not just a technocratic process. It offers a unique opportunity to think out of the box to cut the cost of living, create cutting edge British technology and grow the UK economy. Delivering on this opportunity will require a more ambitious set of actions from the new government that addresses some difficult questions. How the shift towards cleaner vehicles, electrification of the rail network and more sustainable aviation will change how people interact with the transport system and keep travel affordable? How should we approach transport regulation in a way that spreads economic opportunity across the country and creates a fairer society? This panel event will look at some of these key questions and debate what more we need to see over the coming years to deliver a radical transformation of our transport system.


Speakers Include: 
  • Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP, Minister of State (Transport)
  • Peter Flinn MBA, Former President, Institution of Mechancial Engineers
  • Andrew Gilligan, Former Special Adviser to the Prime Minister
  • Nicholas Hellen, Transport Editor, Sunday Times
  • Josh Buckland, Senior Fellow, Policy Exchange (Chair)
Monday 3rd October 12:45 – 13:45

The Placemaking, Pride & Productivity

How Places Can Unlock Levelling Up

Places and placemaking have now become key political tools in delivering the Government’s flagship levelling-up agenda. Placemaking’s contribution to creating sustainable communities and its ability to integrate infrastructure into the built environment is already well established. But levelling up has raised its profile further by identifying it as a key determinant of the UK’s economic recalibration. But how exactly can placemaking drive productivity? And how is it possible to craft a national placemaking framework for a process which by its very nature must respond to unique local contexts and put local pride, community and identity first?

Themes will include:

  • What exactly defines placemaking?
  • What makes some places good and some places bad?
  • What role does infrastructure play in placemaking? What is the relationship (if any) between placemaking and productivity?
  • How is it possible to deliver the individuality that makes places unique within a centralised government policy framework?
  • What roles does local/regional/devolved government have to play?
  • Examples of good and bad placemaking precedents.

Speakers Include: 
  • Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Former Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities 
  • Cllr Abi Brown, Corporate Resources, Strategy & Partnerships portfolio, Stoke-on-Trent City Council  
  • Ben Derbyshire, Chair, HTA Design LLP, and Former President, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)  
  • Jonathan Moore, Head of Project, Programme and Cost Management (PPC), North of England, AECOM  
  • Ike Ijeh, Head of Housing, Architecture & Urban Space, Policy Exchange
  • Seb Payne, Whitehall Editor, Financial Times (Chair)  
Monday 3rd October 14:00 – 15:00 

The UK’s Integrated Review in light of the Russia Ukraine War

The Ukraine War has upended international order and demonstrated the real possibility of territorial aggression, conquest, and military expansionism in the modern age. Britain is a global power. Revisionist actors abound beyond Europe—in the Middle East and Asia, conflict also looks probable. Similarly, the Ukraine War provides a brief, and invaluable, glimpse of the future of conflict, with its integration of long-range fires, unmanned vehicles, and advanced tracking capabilities alongside traditional heavy weapons. The Integrated Review was a valuable starting point for discussing the international system and Britain’s role in it. This panel will ask, in light of the Ukraine War, what modifications and evolutions in our conception of Britain’s role are necessary?


Speakers Include: 
  • Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, Secretary of State for Defence  
  • General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. (USMC. Ret.), Former Commander, US Central Command  
  • Hon Alexander Downer AC, Former Australian Foreign Minister and Chair of Trustees, Policy Exchange 
  • Nick Chaffey, Chief Executive (U.K., Europe and Middle East), Northrop Grumman  
  • Marko Mihkelson, Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee, Estonian Parliament  
  • Sophia Gaston, Senior Fellow, Policy Exchange  
  • Lord Godson, Director, Policy Exchange (Chair) 
Monday 3rd October 17:00 – 17:45 

Are we Losing the War on Woke?

In recent years concepts that had been largely confirmed to campuses have exploded out into wider society. From ‘white privilege’ to ‘micro-aggressions’, ‘cultural appropriation’ to ‘decolonisation, new boundaries are being placed upon what is deemed acceptable to say and do, how we view our history and how our society should be organised. Debates over whether a person’s self-perceived gender should take precedence over their sex, and controversial new interpretations of long-understood concepts such as racism – into a matter of structural power, rather than individual discrimination– are transforming the public and private sector.

Government Ministers have repeatedly railed against ‘woke’ – but have they done anything meaningful about it? Supporters might point to the new Ministerial veto that has prevented monuments being taken down, the publication of the landmark Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities or the introduction of impartiality guidance in schools. Naysayers might cite the unwillingness to tackle the root cause of underlying legislation, such as the increasingly broadly-interpreted Public Sector Equality Duty, and argue that with hundreds of public bodies members of Stonewall’s controversial Diversity Champions scheme, over 100,000 ‘non-crime hate incidents’ being recorded by the police and ‘decolonisation’ initiatives present in most universities and museums, Government action has been a fig-leaf at best. This panel event, featuring evidence from a new poll by Professor Eric Kaufmann, will debate whether or not the Government really is winning the ‘war on woke’ – and, if not, what more is needed.

Speakers Include: 
  • Dr Tony Sewell CBE, Chair, Commission on Race & Ethnic Disparities
  • Miriam Cates MP, Education Committee
  • Eric Kaufmann, Senior Fellow, Policy Exchange
  • Mercy Muroki, Commissioner, Commission on Race & Ethnic Disparities
  • Iain Mansfield, Director of Research and Head of Education and Science, Policy Exchange (Chair)
Monday 3rd October 18:15 – 20:00 

Policy Exchange Conference Drinks Reception

By invitation only

Tuesday 4th October 8:15 – 9:15 

Government Reimagined

What needs to be done to reform Government for the 21st Century? 

Comprehensive modernisation of government can no longer be treated as a worthy but non-essential pursuit, of secondary importance to the day-to-day problems facing the country. This panel will consider how to improve Civil Service recruitment, training and skills and how to reform the structures of Government so that they are equipped for the 21st Century? What can be done to enhance accountability for delivery and leadership of reform? Does the SCS (Senior Civil Service) have the leadership capability and specialist experience to run departments to meet the demands of this new century? What can be done to improve data standards and data- sharing across Whitehall?


Speakers Include: 
  • Baroness Finn, Former Deputy Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister 
  • Tony Diver, Whitehall Correspondent, The Telegraph 
  • Dame Patricia Hodgson DBE, Deputy Chair of Trustees, Policy Exchange  
  • Richard Lum, Partner, Newton 
  • Benjamin Barnard, Head of Government and Politics, Policy Exchange (Chair)
Tuesday 4th October 9:30 – 10:30 

Starting at Home

Boosting the Domestic Investment landscape

The UK is one of the most popular destinations for foreign direct investment. However, the UK relies heavily on institutional investors from other countries to invest in long-term, productive assets in the UK market. What steps can the government take to encourage more home-grown investment? How can the UK unlock pools of capital in insurance and pension funds? How can markets be better harnessed here at home? This event will focus on how the Government’s plans for financial sector regulatory reform interacts with its ambitions for domestic and regional growth.

Speakers Include: 
  • Andrew Griffith MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury & City Minister
  • Mike Eakins, Chief Investment Officer, Phoenix Group
  • Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist, Confederation of British Industry
  • Lord Frost of Allenton CMG, Senior Fellow, Policy Exchange (Chair)
Tuesday 4th October 11:15 – 12:15

Trade and the Indo-Pacific tilt

The Indo-Pacific is central to the UK’s global trading and diplomatic ambitions. Negotiations on a new trade agreement with India and UK accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) are well advanced. How can Government ensure that UK exporters make the most of these new opportunities? How should the UK use these new relationships to further wider economic and political interests in the region? 


Speakers Include: 
  • Rt Hon Kemi Badenoch MP, Secretary of State for International Trade 
  • Hon Alexander Downer AC, Former Australian Foreign Minister and Chair of Trustees, Policy Exchange
  • Shevaun Haviland, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce  
  • Aileen Keyes, Head of International Public Policy, Diageo 
  • Lord Bilimoria, Former President of CBI
  • Stephen Booth, Head of Britain in the World, Policy Exchange (Chair)
Tuesday 4th October 13:00 – 14:00

Are good jobs the secret to good health?

The interrelationship between a healthy economy and a health society is well known. Yet that relationship is under strain. There are 1.3 million job vacancies in the UK. The same number of people aged 50-64 cannot work for health-related reasons. Sickness-related absence costs the UK economy around £15bn a year. In this panel event, delivered in partnership with the Health Foundation, we will consider the opportunities to strengthen the employment market, including making it more accessible and supportive for those with long term conditions. We’ll also explore the different levers the Government has at its disposal, alongside the role of employers and civil society in building a thriving, healthy job market.


Speakers Include: 
  • Victoria Prentis MP, Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions
  • Jo Bibby, Director of Health, The Health Foundation
  • Jordan Cummins, Programme Director for Health, Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
  • Sarah O’Connor, Columnist and Associate Editor, Financial Times
  • Robert Ede, Head of Health and Social Care, Policy Exchange (Chair)
Tuesday 4th October 14:15 – 15:15

Time to Disrupt

How can the Government support the Digital Economy?

Policy makers have a tremendous opportunity to harness the power of disruptive and emerging technology to transform the UK’s productive potential. To do so will improve our quality of life, aid our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and increase consumer choice. However, rapid technological advances and changing consumer and business habits present the challenge of how to regulate new sectors and products without discouraging investment or hampering productivity. This event will explore how to ensure the UK is equipped to thrive in the digital economy of the future.


Speakers Include: 
  • Benjamin Barnard (Chair), Head of Government, Politics and Technology Policy, Policy Exchange 
  • Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
  • Ed Stringer, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange
  • Oliver Lewis, Former Deputy Chief Brexit Negotiator
  • Katie O’Donovan, Google
  • Matt Warman MP, Member of Parliament for Boston and Skegness
Tuesday 4th October 15:30 – 16:30

The Future of British Nuclear

Delivering 24GW by 2050

The UK is on the verge of a nuclear renaissance – how can we seize the moment?

As Europe faces a disastrous energy crisis this winter, the reliability, security, and independence provided by nuclear power in the UK is more valuable than ever.

Hinkley Point C well underway, and Sizewell C is ready to pick up the baton; Britain’s nuclear future looks bright. With largescale nuclear being built, the enormous potential of advanced nuclear innovation and government commitment via Great British Nuclear, all the buildings blocks are being put in place to realise our goal of 24GW of nuclear capacity by 2050.

This panel will focus on the opportunities that could be realised through a national commitment to nuclear power as a cornerstone of a strategy for reaching Net Zero, including job creation, regional development, and energy security. Our panel of industry leaders will consider the practical steps we must take today to secure this proud British industry for the next generation.

Join us to learn what it will it take for Britain to finance, permit, construct and export the energy solutions of the future.


Speakers Include: 
  • Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy  
  • Mark Hartley, Technical Director, Hinkley Point C  
  • Julia Pyke, Director of Financing, Sizewell C   
  • Tom Samson, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls Royce SMR   
  • Alex Simakov, Senior Research Fellow for Energy, Policy Exchange (Chair)
Tuesday 4th October 17.00 – 18.00

Cheap, Clean & Green

The future of British energy? 

Last November, the Prime Minister’s “Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution” established a pathway for achieving Net Zero by 2050 through a renewed commitment to renewables, nuclear power, biofuels and clean hydrogen.

One year later, Vladimir Putin’s brutal assault on Ukraine and weaponization of energy exports has sent natural gas prices to record highs and the U.K. is facing an unprecedented energy crisis that threatens to push millions of families and businesses into fuel poverty.

What does this mean for Britain’s climate transition and the road to Net Zero? Is decarbonization compatible with energy security? And how can we reduce our dependence on fossil fuels over the near and long term?


Speakers Include: 
  • Nusrat Ghani MP, Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 
  • David Blackman, Policy Correspondent, Utility Week  
  • Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor  
  • Clare Jackson, Chief Executive, Hydrogen UK 
  • Angie Needle, Strategy Director, Cadent  
  • Alex Simakov, Senior Research Fellow for Energy, Policy Exchange (Chair)
Tuesday 4th October 18:15 – 19:15

Creating Healthy Places

How can the Conservatives improve health across England? 

The Conservative Party has made Levelling Up a centrepiece of its programme. When it comes to health, it is easy to see why. Variations in the quality of care received and overall health outcomes are pronounced. Coastal communities often struggle to access their GP and experience a higher burden of preventable ill health. Yet urban communities face specific challenges too, whether these relate to higher waiting times for planned care in some cities, or worse air quality. In London nearly a quarter of children are considered obese – far ahead of the average in England.

So how we close the gaps in health between different places? From the role of employers to schools, alongside the NHS and Government, we’ll explore the steps and actions required – and debate how progress can be demonstrated in the next two years.


Speakers Include: 
  • Dr Caroline Johnson MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health and Social Care  
  • Baroness Cavendish of Little Venice, Columnist, Financial Times; Former Head, No 10 Policy Unit  
  • James Cracknell OBE, Double Olympic Gold Medallist 
  • Kieron Boyle, Chief Executive, Impact on Urban Health 
  • Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive, British Heart Foundation  
  • Robert Ede (Chair), Head of Health and Social Care, Policy Exchange 

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