Policy Exchange hosted a major conference considering the future of the Union, with keynote speeches from Ruth Davidson, Michael Gove, Arlene Foster, Brandon Lewis, Alistair Darling, Jim Murphy and Theresa Villiers. In bringing together speakers from different parties, different nations and opposite sides of the Brexit debate, we demonstrated that unionism can be the bridge between the different elements in our divided society. We also published The State of the Union, a new paper by Professor Arthur Aughey of Ulster University, in which he says that the United Kingdom is a remarkably enduring constitutional arrangement and a surprisingly cohesive national state.
The Evening Standard strongly urged the Mayor of London to read Policy Exchange’s latest report Better Brownfield, for ideas to tackle London’s housing crisis. 1,220 sites across London covering 43 Hyde Parks can between them accommodate between 250,000 and 300,000 new homes alongside workplaces, according to new analysis carried out by Create Streets for Policy Exchange. The Evening Standard strongly endorsed the report, saying “What’s smart about the report, published by think-tank Policy Exchange, is that it tries to defuse the battle over planning that makes building new homes so hard. It’s good to see a centre-Right body face the challenge of shaping London, as the Manhattan Institute does in New York.” The editorial concluded: “London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, likes to say that he’s making housing a priority. But we’re still waiting for action. He should read this report and get going.”
Policy Exchange has launched a major new unit dedicated to London and Londoners – to be headed by Liam Booth-Smith, who joins the Policy Exchange team. Liveable London will champion new ideas to make London a better place to live and work. Accompanying the launch, Policy Exchange released a major new report – endorsed by the Evening Standard – setting out how 250,000 new homes could be built in the capital.
As the Government deals with the Russian threat, former Prime Minister David Cameron reminds us of another: Islamism
Speaking at a Policy Exchange conference in Washington DC, former Prime Minister David Cameron warned of the continuing threat to the West posed by Islamism. Paul Goodman observed on ConservativeHome that no other UK think tank has ‘the reach to bring together 50 or so experts, wonks, and diplomats in America’s capital for an event like this’.
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, set out his vision for a liberal Brexit in a speech given at Policy Exchange. Mr Johnson urged Remainers and Leavers to unite behind the opportunities that leaving the EU affords. He said that there is a case for future regulatory divergence from the EU: “We would be mad to go through this process of extrication from the EU, and not to take advantage of the economic freedoms it will bring.” In many areas, however, such as security co-operation and cultural exchange, there would continue to be high levels of engagement.
With 9 million people reporting that they are always or often lonely, as a society have we structured loneliness into our lives? Loneliness can be triggered by moments of transition that can happen to us all: the birth of a child, retirement, relationship breakdown, being a newcomer to this country, returning from serving in our armed forces, starting university, moving home, bereavement. The places where we came together – like churches, pubs and the workplace – have changed out of all recognition. Many of our connections have been turned into transactions. Rachel Reeves MP, Co-Chair of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, set out what the Commission has learned and gave her thoughts on how we can create a less lonely world. Neil O’Brien OBE MP responded, with the discussion chaired by Daily Mirror Columnist Ros Wynne-Jones.
In a new report published last week, Policy Exchange stresses the vital role of Parliament in shaping debates about Britain’s place in the world, and urges the building of greater cross-party consensus on foreign policy. It stresses the role of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Select Committee in the context of a hung Parliament. The report was published alongside a new database of MPs’ voting records on key issues of national security since 2010, as well as their constituency positions on Brexit — the most detailed resource of its kind ever created. In a Foreword to the report, Tom Tugendhat MP, the new Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee said, ‘Policy Exchange is at the forefront of new thinking about national security and the UK’s place in the world’. The report was covered in The Daily Mail.
Policy Exchange today publishes ‘Global Britain, Global Challenges: How to make aid more effective’. The report makes a strong case for the importance of overseas aid and supports the Government’s commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of national income on aid. The report has a foreword by Scottish Conservative leader Rt Hon Ruth Davidson, MSP; she wrote for The Times today about why “Looking forward, a global Britain should both maintain its world-leading aid budget and be a champion for free trade”.
In a flagship new report for Policy Exchange, former senior Irish Ambassador Ray Bassett argues that a failure to reach a benign compromise between the EU and the UK in Brexit negotiations risks seriously damaging the Irish economy. So far, the Irish Government has sided firmly with the EU27, but Bassett believes this may be a mistake given how intimately the Irish and British economies are connected. In the event of the UK leaving the Customs Union and the Single Market, Ireland may be forced to follow suit, potentially even seeking its own “Irexit”.
Following the publication of Sir Noel Malcolm’s Human Rights and Political Wrongs, Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project has published five responses to his book by eminent legal and philosophical scholars. The short commentaries by Baroness O’Neill, Lord Phillips, John Finnis, John Tasioulas and Guglielmo Verdirame interrogate and complement Sir Noel’s work.
Policy Exchange’s Senior Fellow on EU Affairs Ray Bassett – himself a former senior Irish diplomat – argues that ‘any hard border in the Irish Sea and North/South would hurt Ireland a lot more than it would Britain’ and that Ireland’s interests are more aligned with the UK than EU. Consequently, he says Dublin should drop its efforts to keep Northern Ireland in the Customs Union.
Warwick Lightfoot – Policy Exchange Director of Research & Head of Economics and Social Policy – spoke to BBC Radio Wiltshire about Police and Crime Commissioners. Although first elected in 2012, the idea to create the posts was in fact proposed by Policy Exchange in our very first report, ‘Going local: Who should run Britain’s police?’, published nine years earlier in 2003.
John Blake – Policy Exchange Head of Education and Social Reform – responds to the recent GCSE reforms, which have been introduced this year for English and Maths exams. He spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live (listen below) about the new 1-9 grading system, as well as writing pieces for the Spectator, Telegraph, Times Education Supplement (TES), the I, Reaction and the Sunday Times.
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- Monday, 26 June, 2017
11:45 - 13:00
Policy Exchange was delighted to host a talk by former New Scotland Yard Chief Officer Mak Chishty on the need for a new national strategy to combat violent extremism.
- Tuesday, 20 June, 2017
12:15 - 13:30
Policy Exchange was delighted to host a talk by Peter Cove on his strategy for ending poverty in the USA
- Friday, 26 May, 2017
9:15 - 10:30
Policy Exchange were delighted to host the launch of Professor Gilles Kepel’s new book Terror in France: The Rise of Jihad in the West