Speaking at the first such cross-party event in Westminster, General David Petraeus, former Commander, US Central Command, tells a packed Policy Exchange audience that expansion of European Human Rights law “is having a chilling effect on recruiting, retention & overall morale of British armed forces”. Watch the video here.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
London needs to build 66,000 new homes a year. But with the population projected to grow by 70,000 a year up to 10.5 million by 2041, London also needs schools, shops, amenities and space for tens of thousands of new jobs. To prepare for and accommodate such levels of growth we must make the very best use of land in the capital. Yet despite the Mayoral drive to increase densities in London, too much space is wasted across the city on sites currently occupied by single-storey big box retail and industrial sheds. In this report we argue for the redevelopment of “Boxland” into genuinely mixed use neighbourhoods where people want to live.
The Irish border is not the insoluble obstacle to Brexit negotiations that it has been made out to be and the UK can leave the single market and customs union while preserving a frictionless border in Ireland. This can be achieved by the use of new technology and in the context of a Free Trade Agreement between the UK and EU, in an arrangement that goes beyond the Customs Partnership and in no way threatens the Good Friday Agreement.
Can the UK lead the world in the development and production of batteries for electric cars? This is the stated aim of the government’s support programme for the battery sector. Yet, in the light of the current state of the UK battery sector and the strength of international competition, world leadership in car batteries is almost certainly unattainable. If the demand for electric cars grows as fast as many forecasters expect, investment in battery production should be financed by the private sector, argues Sir Geoffrey Owen, Policy Exchange’s Head of Industrial Policy and a former editor of the Financial Times, in a new paper Batteries for Electric Cars: A case study in industrial strategy.
Policy Exchange’s Economics Research Fellow, Jan Zeber, looks at the EU Commission’s multi-billion euro fine of Google and asks if it really reflects the best way to protect consumers.
Policy Exchange’s Head of Economics Warwick Lightfoot – former Special Adviser to three Chancellors – assesses the Government’s Brexit White Paper and finds room for improvement.
Policy Exchange’s senior defence fellow, Gabriel Elefteriu, reflects on the Government’s decision to build a spaceport in Scotland. He argues the decision is an important step on on the UK’s journey to become a leader in space industry.
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.
Writing for the Evening Standard, Policy Exchange’s Co-Head of Security and Extremism Hannah Stuart challenges suggestions by new terrorism watchdog Max Hill QC that IS fighters returning from Syria are “naive” and should be “reintegrated”. Are they really “disillusioned”, she asks — or, as the caliphate crumbles, are these IS fighters merely running out of options?” Stuart argues that we have the legal armoury we need to deal these fighters, but that we need to use it more effectively. She also warns Max Hill QC against meeting Islamist groups who crave the legitimacy such meetings bestow.
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