Policy Exchange at Conservative Party Conference 2020

Saturday 3rd October, 11.00 – 12.00

Fuelling the future:

Hydrogen’s role in supporting the low-carbon economy

Hydrogen has huge potential as a low-carbon fuel of the future, as explored in Policy Exchange’s 2018 paper, Fuelling the Future. Investment in hydrogen could be instrumental in kick starting a Green Recovery and in Levelling Up industrial areas of the UK. This panel will discuss the potential for hydrogen in the UK economy, including what steps the Government should take now to ensure that the UK captures the maximum benefits of this emerging low-carbon fuel.

Speakers Include: 
  • Sir Philip

Saturday 3rd October, 12.15 – 13.15

What do we want from the Civil Service?

Whitehall reform is obviously high on the political agenda but it is important to return to first principles and ask: what sort of Civil Service do we want? This panel will discuss issues of reform such as the ethos, accountability and neutrality of the Civil Service.

Speakers Include: 
  • Stephen Booth
Saturday 3rd October, 14.30 – 15.30

Tech for Growth:

Upscaling the UK’s Digital and Data Infrastructure for a post-pandemic world

One of the many challenges facing the UK after COVID is how to invest in the future of Digital and Data innovation. This panel will discuss topics such as the recently launched National Data Strategy, the Government’s commitment to UK coverage of gigabit-capable broadband, and how digital infrastructure can drive productivity and create jobs.

Speakers Include: 
  • Robert
Monday 4th October 2021, 15:00 – 16:00

Book launch of ‘Broken Heartlands’, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP in-conversation with Sebastian Payne

Historically, the red wall formed the backbone of Labour’s vote in the Midlands and the North of England but, during the 2019 general election, it dramatically turned Conservative for the first time in living memory, redrawing the electoral map in the process. ‘Broken Heartlands’ explores this fundamental upheaval of the British political landscape.



Speakers Include: 
  • Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
  • Sebastian Payne, Whitehall Editor, Financial Times
Monday 4th October 2021, 16:30 – 17:30

Government Reimagined: What Needs to be Done to Reform Government for the 21st Century?

The success of every policy initiative depends upon the capacity and capabilities of government itself. The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic provides both the opportunity and the imperative to re-evaluate the processes, organisational design, structure and culture of government. This panel will discuss how to approach reform of government.

Sponsored by Palantir


Speakers Include:
  • Benjamin Barnard, Head of Technology Policy, Policy Exchange (Chair)
  • Dame Patricia Hodgson, Deputy Chair, Policy Exchange
  • Rt Hon Lord Maude of Horsham, former Minister of State for Trade and Investment
  • Rt Hon Baroness Morgan of Cotes, former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
  • Louis Mosley, Head, Palantir UK 
Monday 4th October 2021, 18:00 – 19:00

In conversation with new Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid and Fraser Nelson

Charting a path out of a global pandemic, tackling waiting lists and delivering major reforms to social care are just three of the items in the new Secretary of State’s in-tray. Delivering improvements to the health and social care systems will be vital over the next few years so what is his vision for the years ahead? Policy Exchange is pleased to host Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP in conversation with the Spectator’s Fraser Nelson.


Speakers Include: 
  • Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
  • Fraser Nelson, Editor, The Spectator (Chair)
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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