Labour Party Conference 2020

Monday 21st September, 13:00

Policing protests:

Is the balance right between the right to protest and the rule of law?

In light of wide scale disruption orchestrated by Extinction Rebellion and other movements over the last few years, Policy Exchange has been leading the debate as to where the rights of protesters end and the rights of ordinary citizens to go about their lives uninterrupted begins. The panel will discuss issues such as how protests should be policed, whether new legislation is required in light of the latest non-violent but unlawful protesting techniques and the responsibilities of political authorities to ensure people can continue to go about their daily lives.

Speakers Include: 

Monday 21st September, 15:00

Useful, Beautiful and Forever: 

Why the Left should lead again on building beautifully

Policy Exchange has recently led the call for beauty to form a core part of UK planning reform. This panel will discuss the British Left’s great tradition of championing beauty, and investigate how it could continue that tradition today, especially in the context of the current debate about creating homes.

Speakers Include: 
  • ost,
Monday 21st September, 17:00

What is Labour’s agenda for the Red Wall?

The 2019 General Election saw seats that had been Labour since their creation vote Conservative, the so-called Red Wall crumbled. Boris Johnson regularly touts these newly Conservative constituencies as an integral part of his vision for reforming the UK. This panel will discuss how Keir Starmer and the Labour party can win back the Red Wall, and what are the wider implications for the Labour movements agenda in doing so.


Speakers Include: 
  • Robert E
Tuesday 22nd September, 9:00

Labour’s strategy for China and the Indo-Pacific:

New leadership, rooted in our values and aligned with our interests

Policy Exchange is home to the international commission on the Indo-Pacific including diplomats, politicians and military and civil leaders drawn from the United Kingdom, the United States and across the Indo-Pacific. It seeks to write the blueprint for a new strategic approach to the region, examining questions of trade, diplomacy, politics, defence and security that centre on the Indo-Pacific. This panel will discuss the strategic imperatives of our relationships to China and the Indo-Pacific.


Speakers Include: 
  • Rt 
Tuesday 22nd September, 12:00

How will Labour support the UK’s post-Brexit Foreign and Defence Policy?

As the UK undergoes its greatest political transition in the past half-century important questions regarding Britain’s place in the world are being considered. There is room for distinct party-political positions as well as a chance of greater cross-party consensus on foreign and defence policy. This panel will discuss the strategic priorities of new international agreements in the wake of Brexit, the remit of the current Integrated Review, the role of the newly combined FCDO, and how we might strengthen the impact of the several multilateral international institutions of which Britain is part.

Speakers Include:
  • Benjamin
Tuesday 22nd September, 15:00

Too many graduates, too few workers: 

How should higher education adapt to a shrinking knowledge economy?

The coronavirus pandemic has taught us something we ought already to have known: that care workers, supermarket shelf-stackers, delivery drivers and cleaners are doing essential work that keeps us all alive, fed and cared for. They are now lauded as ‘key workers’, but why have they been so chronically undervalued?
In recent decades how we value work and workers has become deeply biased towards academic standards. Cognitive ability has become the gold standard of human esteem. As recently as the 1970s most people left school without qualifications, but now 40 per cent of all jobs are graduate-only. In this central struggle for status and dignity in the twenty-first century education will be at the forefront of reshaping societies priorities.

Speakers Include: 
  • Rt Hon
Tuesday 5th October 2021, 09:00 – 10:00

Following the Science: 

What Should the UK Learn from the COVID-19 Pandemic When it Comes to the Role of Science in Public Health?

Confronting Covid-19 has put science front and centre of public policy making. From developing treatments in real time, to the rapid vaccine rollout, science is leading the way. But we face many more public health challenges – from ageing to obesity. What lessons from the crisis should we learn for UK science and how it informs public health?

Sponsored by The Physiological Society


Speakers Include: 
  • Robert Ede, Head of Health and Social Care, Policy Exchange (Chair)
  • Rt Hon George Freeman MP,  Minister for Science, Research and Innovation
  • Richard Maughan, Senior Director, UK Policy and Public Affairs, Pfizer
  • Susan Mitchell, Head of Policy – Prevention, Detection and Diagnostics Alzheimer’s Research UK
  • Professor Mike Tipton, Incoming Trustee, the Physiological Society’
Tuesday 5th October 2021, 10:30 – 11:30

Rebalancing the UK:

Levelling Up the Regions

The Government has promised to “level up opportunities across all parts of the United Kingdom” and levelling up has become the biggest idea of post-Brexit politics. But reversing the country’s deep regional inequalities is a policy ambition with multiple moving parts that has proved too much for governments of the past 40 years. This key event of the conference season, which brings together the minister for levelling up and the mayor identified with the success story on the Tees, will consider some of those moving parts—infrastructure/business incentives, training/education/graduate retention, devolving power/renewed pride in place. It will consider whether levelling up requires a rethink of Britain’s current growth strategy, based around London, professional and financial services and inward investment, and its approach to social mobility currently focused on  higher education. The event will also consider the political tensions within levelling up, how the pandemic has impacted the strategy and how it should be measured to know whether any progress has been made towards the Government’s ambitious goals.

Sponsored by AECOM


Speakers Include: 
  • David Goodhart, Author and Head of Demography Unit, Policy Exchange (Chair)
  • Ben Houchen, Mayor of the Tees Valley
  • Andrew Jones, Cities Programme Leader, AECOM
  • Neil O’Brien MP OBE, Minister for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
  • Paul Ormerod, Economist and Chairman of the Rochdale Development Agency
  • Juliet Samuel, Columnist, The Telegraph
Tuesday 5th October 2021, 12:00 – 13:00

The UK’s Integrated Review in the Wake of Afghanistan

With two decades of conflict in Afghanistan drawn to a close, state on state competition represents the core geopolitical challenge to the international order. This assumption informed the Integrated Review and its approach to the role of partnerships and alliances to enhance British foreign policy and military action. How will trans-Atlantic relations evolve and is AUKUS a template for the type of multilateralism needed to meet today’s challenges?

Sponsored by Palantir

Speakers Include: 
  • Dean Godson, Director, Policy Exchange (Chair)
  • Hon Alexander Downer, Former Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Hon Stephen J. Harper, 22nd Prime Minister of Canada
  • Alicia Kearns MP, Member, Foreign Affairs Select Committee
  • Air Marshal Edward Stringer, Director General, Joint Force Deployment
  • Matt Turpin, Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution
  • Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, Secretary of State for Defence
Tuesday 5th October 2021, 13.30 – 14.30

Levelling Up the Digital Economy:

How Can we Ensure a Digital-led Recovery Post-COVID

With the UK tech start-up and scale-up ecosystem valued at $585bn, policy makers have a tremendous opportunity to harness the power of disruptive and emerging technology to transform the UK’s productive potential. This panel will discuss how Britain can maximise technology’s positive contribution for individuals, businesses and government.

Sponsored by Google


Speakers Include: 
  • Benjamin Barnard, Head of Technology Policy, Policy Exchange (Chair)
  • Chris Brannigan, Senior Fellow, Policy Exchange
  • Katie O’Donovan, Public Policy Manager, Google UK
  • Chris Philp MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital Economy
  • James Wise, Partner, Balderton Capital
Tuesday 5th October 2021, 15.00 – 16.00

The Road to Net Zero:

Decarbonising Road Transport

Transport is the number one contributor to UK emissions. The Government has recently published its Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which included a commitment to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. What more does the Government need to do to deliver the phase out and to ensure that electric vehicles are practical for drivers?

Sponsored by Climate Group

Speakers Include: 
  • Ed Birkett, Senior Research Fellow, Energy and Environment, Policy Exchange (Chair)
  • David Gold, Director of External Affairs & Policy, Royal Mail
  • Trudy Harrison MP, Minister for the Future of Transport and Decarbonisation
  • Mary D. Nichols, former Chair of the California Air Resources Board
Tuesday 5th October 2021, 16.30 – 17.30

Building Back Better:

How to Deliver High Quality Homes and Extend the Dream of Homeownership

The Government has a target of 300,000 homes to build each year, and policy commitments on quality. While building more, the housing industry will have to maintain and improve construction quality.  The panel will discuss how to build more, higher quality homes which meet both Government and public expectations.

Sponsored by NHBC



Speakers Include: 
  • Ike Ijeh, Senior Fellow, Housing & Urban Space, Policy Exchange (Chair)
  • Patrick Melia, Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council
  • Christopher Pincher MP, Minister of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
  • Lewis Sidnick, Director of Corporate & External Affairs, NHBC
  • Rosie Toogood, CEO, Legal & General Modular Homes
Tuesday 5th October 2021, 18.00 – 19.00

What Impact Will the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan Have on Extremism in the UK?

This panel will assess whether the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan gives momentum to Islamist organisations and activists in the UK? Secondly, how do we prevent the type of engagement between British extremists and the Taliban, and Britons and foreign fighters the Taliban hosts, which characterised the period 1996 – 2001.


Speakers Include: 
  • Dr Paul Stott, Head of Security and Extremism, Policy Exchange (Chair)
  • Lord Carlile of Berriew QC CBE, former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation
  • Nusrat Ghani MP, Member of Parliament for Wealden
  • Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Minister for Security and Borders
  • Fiyaz Mughal CMgr OBE FCMI, Founder and Director, Faith Matters

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