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’,

Time for political game-playing over the Irish border to stop

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.

Dean and the Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson

Policy Exchange hosts Defence Secretary’s first keynote speech

Policy Exchange was delighted to host Defence Secretary Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE for his first keynote speech, held at Rolls Royce’s site near Bristol. The Defence Secretary condemned Russia’s “atrocious” actions in Salisbury and committed to a modernising defence programme because “soft power only works because hard power stands behind it”.  Read the full text and watch the video here.

Completing the Revolution: Delivering on the promise of the 2014 National Curriculum

High-quality textbooks and teaching methods are needed to ensure children from all backgrounds receive the rigorous education they deserve. According this new Policy Exchange report, inadequate materials for teaching the National Curriculum are holding back pupils in England and increasing teacher workload. Working in collaboration with respected institutions like the British Museum, the Government should support the creation and take-up of world-leading curriculum materials. The report’s author John Blake – Policy Exchange’s Head of Education & Social Reform and a former teacher – discussed its recommendations on Radio 4’s Today programme and wrote on the same topic for the TES.

Foreign Secretary sets out vision for Brexit at Policy Exchange

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.

Rachel Reeves MP: Throwing a new light on loneliness

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.

Foreign Policy and National Security in the New Parliament

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.

Global Britain, Global Challenges: How to make aid more effective

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”.

After Brexit: Will Ireland be next to exit?

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”.

Democracy and Brexit

Reflecting on the Foreign Secretary’s speech at Policy Exchange last week, Director of Research and Strategy Rupert Oldham-Reid summarises the speech.

Policy Exchange hosts a speech by the Hon Peter Dutton MP, Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

Policy Exchange was delighted to welcome the Hon Peter Dutton MP, Australia’s immigration minister, who reflected on the need for a carefully managed migration system in order to maintain public support for continuing new arrivals. A packed audience heard how the Australian government’s approach has tackled people trafficking while also ensuring Australia has the skilled migrants it needs and maintaining a generous settlement programme for refugees.

Policy Exchange holds inaugural event of new Housing and Urban Regeneration Unit — ‘The New Politics of Housing’

Policy Exchange held the inaugural event of its new Housing and Urban Regeneration Unit — ‘The New Politics of Housing’. The focus was on what needs to change now given the unexpected election result and the tragedy at Grenfell Tower. We were joined by former No 10 Head of Policy John Godfrey, Spectator Editor Fraser Nelson, former DCLG housing leader Terrie Alafat and developer Philip Barnes and the event was chaired by Richard Blakeway, Policy Exchange’s Chief Housing Adviser and former Deputy Mayor of London for housing.

  • Wednesday, 13 September, 2017
    18:00 - 19:30

Education improvement is a key objective of policy makers and educationalists around the world. To address this need Tim Oates CBE, Cambridge Assessment’s Director of Assessment Research and Development, has led research into and now written A Cambridge Approach to Improving Education – using international insights to manage complexity where he sets out his findings and guiding principles for policy makers. He addressed Policy Exchange, the UK’s most influential think tank on education in the past 15 years, to outline his findings and further the debate on how best to improve education here, and around the world. His talk was followed by a response from UCL’s Dr John Jerrim.



Policy Exchange, 6th Floor, 8 – 10 Great George St, Westminster, London, SW1P 3AE, United Kingdom

  • Tuesday, 12 September, 2017
    8:30 - 10:30

Policy Exchange hosted top experts from industry and Parliament for a debate on the future of Britain’s electricity system and the potential role of small modular nuclear reactors in meeting our energy needs. Rachel Reeves MP (Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee) introduced our distinguished panel of speakers including Rt Hon Lord Howell of Guildford (former Secretary of State for Energy), Harry Holt (President of Rolls-Royce Nuclear) and Dr Jenifer Baxter (Head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers). Lord Howell’s comments on the opportunities Brexit presents for nuclear research were covered by the Telegraph.



Policy Exchange, 6th Floor, 8 – 10 Great George St, Westminster, London, SW1P 3AE, United Kingdom

  • Thursday, 7 September, 2017
    18:00 - 19:30

A discussion with John Godfrey (Former Director of Policy at No 10), Fraser Nelson (Editor of the Spectator), Terrie Alafat (The Chartered Institute of Housing), Phillip Barnes (Barratt Developments Plc), and Susan Emmett (Head of Policy Exchange’s Housing Unit).



Lecture Theatre, Institute of Mechanical Engineers, One Birdcage Walk, Westminster, London, SW1H 9JJ, United Kingdom

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