March 20, 2020
In this paper, which is the revised text of his recent lecture for Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, John Larkin QC reflects on the state of the United Kingdom’s constitution. The paper discusses an aspect of an important provision of the European Convention on Human Rights — the procedural obligations under the Article 2 provision on the right to life, and its implications for how policy on the legacy of the Northern Ireland Troubles is to be made.
March 8, 2020
The startling revelation that the Labour Party is threatening to expel Trevor Phillips on grounds of ‘racism’ and ‘Islamophobia’ will be received in different ways. On the one hand, it looks like an act of folly from a party leadership whose power has been waning since the general election. Alongside this, this regrettable case is significant for the extent to which it underlines the nature of the ‘Islamophobia’ definition that has been adopted by a number of political parties and civil society groups over the last year – with Labour being one of those leading the way when the party adopted the definition in March 2019.
February 24, 2020
In 2014 Policy Exchange published the seminal report Watching the Watchmen: The future of school inspections in England. While Ofsted today is a much stronger, higher performing and robust organisation than it was in 2014, there is no public body so perfect that it cannot benefit from external scrutiny.
February 23, 2020
Universities in the UK are not yet in crisis – but they could be if they continue down their current path. In this report, based on over 50 interviews with vice-chancellors, chairs of council and other senior leaders, we set out the steps that university leaders must take if they are to put their institutions on a robust footing and regain the trust of the nation.
February 8, 2020
The Supreme Court’s prorogation judgment, Miller/Cherry, was contrary to the settled law of the constitution. This paper, which complements and completes an earlier critique, refutes attempts to deny the judgment’s revolutionary character, attempts that cannot be squared with key facts about prorogation in the run-up to the Bill of Rights 1689, with Erskine May’s Law and Practice of Parliamentary, and with the primary 20th century textbook on the law of the constitution. The paper details the factual misjudgements and injustices at the heart of the Supreme Court’s judgment, and confirms the wisdom of the law of non-justiciability that the judgment casts aside.
January 28, 2020
A UK Advanced Research Projects Agency could have a transformative impact on technological innovation in the UK – but the Government must embrace failure if it is to be a success. Learning lessons from the US, ministers must tear up the rule book of research funding bureaucracy and recognise that the majority of projects will not achieve their objectives, but that those that do will be will be transformational. The key to success will be allowing empowered and highly expert project managers to drive forward projects and allocate funding to the best people and projects wherever they can be found.
January 27, 2020
The planning system has little relevance to the country’s 21st century liberalised economy and society facing continuous change. It increases the costs of housing, living and doing business. Although the planning system has regularly been tinkered with in the past few decades, its fundamental principles are the same as when it was established in 1947 as part of a government program to establish a command-and-control economy.
To remain a competitive economy and to address the country’s housing shortage, the planning system is in urgent need of wholesale reform. This report puts forwards a blueprint for doing that.
Did the United Kingdom’s constitution work as it should have done in the process to leave the European Union? In essence, yes, says Sir Stephen Laws, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and a former First Parliamentary Counsel. He says the Government should resist invitations to undertake a programme of comprehensive constitutional reform, but it should be willing to consider limited changes to address weaknesses in our constitutional arrangements exposed by the Brexit process. In the Foreword, Rt Hon Lord Hague of Richmond says this “thoughtful and clear-sighted paper is a welcome warning about the dangers that [a written constitution] would bring, while making a constructive case for some necessary change”.
January 14, 2020
Why do 1.23 million people lack access to a bank account? What can be done to help the 10 million people who rely on non-standard credit? How can the Government ensure that everybody gets access to debt and financial advice?
This report, by Benjamin Barnard and Jos Henson Gric, shows how innovations in Financial Technology can improve access to banking, credit, insurance and debt advice services. It shows how the Government can encourage the one of the UK’s most innovative sectors to improve the lives of the poorest in society, particularly those on Universal Credit.
January 12, 2020
Prisons exist to keep the public safe yet in recent years the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service has shown that they are not capable of properly managing the most dangerous offenders. This paper, by Richard Walton – a former Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command – argues that it is time for the Home Secretary, and the Home Office, to supervise prisons as they did until 2007. The Ministry of Justice as it is currently configured should be abolished, with a new Lord Chancellor’s Department replacing it to work solely on courts and justice policy, at the same time enshrining in law and practice the independence of the judiciary.
December 29, 2019
The Government should use the opportunity of the stability created by the election result to reform the civil service to make it more democratically accountable and better able to deliver on the mandate of the government of the day. Better decision making, streamlined processes and improved accountability will lead to improved policy making and legislation, more effective delivery and improved public services, benefiting every part of the UK.
December 28, 2019
The rise of judicial power in the UK in recent years is a striking change in our constitutional arrangements – in how we are governed – a change that threatens good government, parliamentary democracy, and the rule of law. The expansion of judicial power is a function both of Parliament’s decision to confer new powers on courts, most notably by enacting the Human Rights Act 1998, and of the changing ways in which many judges, lawyers and scholars now understand the idea of judicial power. Prof Richard Ekins argues that Parliament is responsible for maintaining the balance of the constitution and should restate limits on judicial power, restoring the political constitution and the common law tradition.
December 17, 2019
Following an election that was as much about the NHS as it was about Brexit, recruiting more doctors and nurses should be one of the Government’s top priorities, according to new polling conducted for Policy Exchange, which shows that:
42% of voters cited a shortage of doctors and nurses as one of their three biggest concerns for the NHS and 61% want investment in these professionals prioritised by the Conservatives.
December 15, 2019
Boris Johnson should “seize the moment” and make “quick wins” in a number of key policy areas during his first 100 days to “reform public services and reshape the inner workings of government”, says John Howard, the former Australian Prime Minister in the Foreword to a new Policy Exchange report. The paper offers a blueprint for the new Government to implement some of its key manifesto pledges and other ideas during its first 100 days in office.
December 1, 2019
Increasing tree cover in the UK is a matter of land use policy.
This simple fact is often forgotten amid a rush to re-forest Britain through multiple schemes and interventions. This seemingly overlooks the fact that silviculture – the art and science of growing trees – is just one subset of land management.
In the last 25 years, several government-backed new forests have been established or proposed, from the mid-1990s National Forest to the most recent ‘Northern Forest’, which is to stretch across the North East and North West of England. Though laudable and important (we propose a project of our own in this report), these schemes alone are not sufficient to address more fundamental barriers to tree planting, many of which are the direct results of public subsidies for a particular model of farming.
November 12, 2019
Many of the most valued and important frontline public sector workers like police officers, teachers, NHS staff and firefighters are struggling to live in or near the community they serve. They often face acute housing affordability challenges which force them to commute from ever further away, particularly in the rental sector and particularly in London and the South East.
In this report we argue the Key Worker Housing initiative should be revitalised as part of reforms to Affordable Housing policy. The Government should announce a new policy programme to increase the stock of homes available to Key Workers struggling with housing costs and update the Key Worker eligibility criteria.
November 11, 2019
New YouGov polling carried out for Policy Exchange shows the extent to which women, who have been identified as critical voters at this general election, worry about the impact of social care on their families and careers. As the major parties finalise their manifestoes, the polling shows that:
• One in five (21%) women aged 35-55 have helped care for someone with long-term needs and nearly half (43%) of women in this group, know a close family member who has done this
• 64% are worried about the effect that losing their home and other assets would have on their family If they required care in later life
• 65% feel that the care system is too complicated too understand
• 53% worry about the impact on their career if they were needed to take care of a relative
Universities should be places of open debate, where ideas can be debated freely. Recent events, however, have revealed a chilling effect, with high profile campaigns to sack academics and fewer than four out of ten Leave-supporting students feeling able to share their views in class. Our polling reveals that a solid core of 30% of students are consistently in favour of free speech: this report presents policy recommendations for universities, for government and for civil society to ensure academic freedom can thrive in our universities.
November 10, 2019
Policy Exchange’s latest paper on lawfare, endorsed by General David Petraeus, sets out new measures on how the next Government must protect our soldiers from the assault of lawfare. The paper recommends that the next government should:
October 27, 2019
McDonnellomics: How Labour’s economic agenda would transform the UK is the most thorough examination so far of the Shadow Chancellor’s policy approach and inspiration, rooted in a 1970s Bennite socialist political tradition. Based on a wide-ranging analysis of Labour’s published plans, academic papers and interviews, it finds that McDonnellomics would represent the biggest shift in UK economic policy since the advent of Thatcherism. Even after a short period under a Labour government with John McDonnell as Chancellor, the paper concludes, the British economy would be less resistant to shocks, with a more concentrated and volatile tax base, less flexible labour market and lower investor confidence.
October 24, 2019
Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, if the government loses a vote of no confidence (VONC), there are 14 days in which either the incumbent government or a new government appointed by the Queen may attempt to win a vote of confidence. Otherwise, the Act requires the dissolution of Parliament and an early election.
October 15, 2019
In this new paper for Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, Professor Martin Loughlin of the LSE outlines the failings he perceives in the Supreme Court’s recent prorogation judgment. The paper is framed as the judgment on appeal by an imaginary higher court, which helps to isolate and highlight the Supreme Court’s missteps, central amongst which is its inattention the significance of the Crown in our constitutional scheme and its history. The paper opens with an introduction summarising where and why the Supreme Court went wrong.
October 9, 2019
In his first speech as Prime Minister on domestic policy, Boris Johnson said that his Government will, “emphasise the need, the duty, to build beautiful homes that people actually want to live in, and being sensitive to local concerns.”
As the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission enters its second phase – a final report is due by the end of the year – we are publishing this essay collection to provide new and practical ideas for building more beautiful homes and places. The collection brings together thinkers from law, finance, energy and environment, architecture, property, planning and housing.
October 7, 2019
The parliamentary authorities have taken the view that because the Supreme Court has quashed the prorogation of Parliament, everything else done by the Royal Commission in the morning of 10 September has been quashed as well. Accordingly, both the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Lord Speaker have indicated that Royal Assent for the Restoration and Renewal Bill would need to be signified again. This paper argues that the Speakers have wrongly understood the Supreme Court’s judgment in this respect.
September 28, 2019
The Supreme Court’s judgment in Miller/Cherry  UKSC 41 holds that Parliamentary sovereignty needs to be judicially protected against the power of the Government to prorogue Parliament. But the Judgment itself undercuts the genuine sovereignty of Parliament by evading a statutory prohibition – art. 9 of the Bill of Rights 1689 – on judicial questioning of proceedings in Parliament.This was wholly unjustified by law.
September 16, 2019
This paper addresses the question of whether the Supreme Court should rule that the Government’s advice to Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful. It argues that the prerogative power to prorogue Parliament is not subject to judicial control. Proroguing Parliament does not flout parliamentary sovereignty; the exercise of the prerogative should be challenged by political action not litigation.
September 9, 2019
With the rhetoric inside the House of Commons ratcheted up to fever pitch this week, it is hardly surprising that protest outside Parliament became equally as chaotic and disruptive.
The policy of Her Majesty’s Government is to leave on 31 October and not to apply for an extension; the House of Commons does not support this policy, which is the central policy of this Government, but the House has nonetheless held back from formally withdrawing its confidence in the Government
September 5, 2019
IPSO’s Guidance for Reporting on Islam and Muslims
September 2, 2019
The Fixed-term Parliaments Act and the next election