2016 events

Members' Reception with Ruth Davidson 

This year, the Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party - Ruth Davidson MSP - was our guest speaker. 

Our photographs can be found here

Date: Monday 28th November 2016, 19:00 - late.   

Venue: The Skyloft, Altitude, Millbank Tower, 30 Millbank, SW1P 4RS 


New Think Forum: Britain's Role in Europe: 

This Think Forum will bring together politicians, international relations specialists, lawyers, economists, industrialists and others to examine how to further the UK’s and the EU/EFTA’s mutual interests in free trade, and to undertake that examination in the broader context of the UK’s place in Europe politically, culturally and socially, as well as economically. Post-Brexit, how can the UK play a positive role in building an economically successful, diverse and entrepreneurial Europe that stands for freedom and opportunity, and is a force for good in the wider world?

Our two guest speakers are:

Sunder Katwala - the director of British Future. He has previously worked as a journalist. He was general secretary of the Fabian Society thinktank from 2003 to 2011, and was previously a leader writer and internet editor at the Observer, a research director of the Foreign Policy Centre and commissioning editor for politics and economics at the publisher Macmillan.

Dr Paul Copeland - a senior lecturer in Public Policy at Queen Mary University of London and director for the Centre of European Research at Queen Mary. Paul’s research focuses on the political economy of European integration, particularly with respect to the EU’s competence in employment and social policy. He is regularly invited to provide expert opinion on these matters by the House of Lords, the European Parliament and the European Commission.

To get a flavour for the new think forum and its aims, you can read this article from Centre Write which was been written to coincide with the launch of the Europe forum

Date: Monday 21st November 2016, 19.00 - 20.30.

Venue: Morpeth Arms (upstairs), 58 Millbank, London, SW1P 4RW


Energy and Climate Change Forum: 

Bright Blue’s Forums provide an opportunity to discuss politics and policy in an informal and interactive environment. 

Date: Thursday 27th October 2016, 19.00 - 20.30.

Venue: Morpeth Arms (upstairs), 58 Millbank, London, SW1P 4RW


Education Forum: New Prime Minister, new policies?  

Bright Blue’s Forums provide an opportunity to discuss politics and policy in an informal and interactive environment. 

Join us for informal drinks and chat on the Government's recent education announcements; from lifting the ban on grammar schools to private school reform. The forum will be chaired by Chris Hayes. Please note that October's education forum will be held in the Two Chairmen near St James's Park, not the Two Chairmen on Trafalgar Square.

Date: Tuesday 25th October 2016, 19.00 - 20.30.

Venue: Two Chairmen Pub, 39 Dartmouth St, London SW1H 9BP 


Drink Tank with Ben Howlett MP

Our Drink Tanks are a chance to meet, network, chat, have a beer and share ideas.

Our guest speaker for this Drink Tank is Ben Howlett MP. Ben was elected Member of Parliament for Bath in 2015. He currently sits on the Women and Equalities Select Committee and the Petitions Select Committee. He was formerly the National Chairman of Conservative Future in 2010, and prior to becoming an MP was one of the youngest councillors in his home town of Harwich. 

Date: Wednesday 12th October 2016, 19.00 - 20.30.

Venue: Morpeth Arms (upstairs), 58 Millbank, London, SW1P 4RW


The future of London essay collection launch

Our latest essay collection sets out to answer the question of what London will look like in 2050. To remain a thriving and successful city, improving opportunities for all of its citizens, it must be innovative – a step ahead of rival cities in in business, culture, education, governance and more.

The essay collection includes contributions from a number of high-profile decision makers and opinion formers, including the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP (Foreign Secretary), Justine Roberts (Co-Founder, Mumsnet), the Rt Hon Alan Milburn (Chair, Social Mobility Commission), Sir Terry Farrell (Architect), Professor Tony Travers (Director, LSE London), and more.

Date: Monday 12th September 2016, 12.30 - 14:00

Venue: Livery Hall, Guildhall, 71 Basinghall Street, London EC2V 7HH

Click here to download the report as a .pdf


Energy and Climate Change Forum

Bright Blue’s Forums are spaces for those on the centre-right to come together to chat about politics and discuss policy.

For this Energy & Climate Change Forum we will be joined by Professor Leif Wenar, of King's College London.

Date: Wednesday 3rd August 2016, 19.00 - 20:30

Venue: Morpeth Arms (upstairs), 58 Millbank, London, SW1P 4RW


Education forum: Boosting social mobility

Bright Blue’s Forums provide an opportunity to discuss politics and policy in an informal and interactive environment.

For this Education Forum, we welcome Mark Blundell OBE from Onside Youth. We will be discussing the importance of youth work, informal education and other approaches to boosting social mobility. 

Date: Monday 18th July 2016, 19.00 - 20:30

Venue: Morpeth Arms (upstairs), 58 Millbank, London, SW1P 4RW


Drink Tank with Tom Tugendhat MP

Our Drink Tanks are a chance to meet, network, chat, have a beer and share ideas.

Our guest speaker for this Drink Tank is Tom Tugendhat MP. Tom was elected Member of Parliament for Tonbridge and Malling in 2015 and is a Member of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee. A former journalist, management consultant and energy analyst, he joined the Army Reserve and served on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Date: Wednesday 13th July 2016, 19.00 - 21.00.

Venue: Morpeth Arms (upstairs), 58 Millbank, London, SW1P 4RW


'Security of supply after coal': Report launch with Rt Hon Lord Greg Barker

In November 2015, the Government announced that it would phase out coal from the UK energy mix by the mid-2020s and that new gas-fired power stations would replace the retiring coal plant. Bright Blue's new report examines whether the UK will be able to successfully phase out coal in this time frame and how much additional new gas-generating capacity will be required to guarantee security of supply. It also makes a number of policy recommendations about how the Government can minimise the stress on the energy system during the transition.

Speakers include: 

The Rt Hon Lord Gregory Barker of Battle, Former Energy and Climate Change Minister
Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent, The Guardian (invited)
Ben Caldecott, Associate Fellow, Bright Blue
Ben Irons, Director, Aurora Energy Research
Ryan Shorthouse, Director, Bright Blue (Chair)

Date: Tuesday 7th June 2016, 13.30 - 14:30

Venue: Committee Room 10, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA


Drink Tank with Johnny Mercer MP

Our Drink Tanks are a chance to meet, network, chat, have a beer and share ideas.

For our second Drink Tank of 2016, we welcome Johnny Mercer MP as the guest speaker. Johnny is the MP Plymouth Moor View, winning the marginal seat from Labour in the 2015 General Election. Prior to becoming an MP, Johnny rose to the rank of Captain in the 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, where he served in military campaigns in Afghanistan. Johnny's main missions in parliament are improving the provision of mental health treatment and reforming the way veterans are treated.

Date: Wednesday 12th April 2016, 19.00 - 21.00.

Venue: Morpeth Arms (Upstairs), 58 Millbank, London, SW1P 4RW


Conservatism and human rights conference

To launch our Conservatism and human rights essay collection, Bright Blue is hosting an agenda-setting half-day conference with a keynote speech from the Former Attorney General, The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP.

Contributors to our essay collection and speakers at our conference include:

-    Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC (Former Foreign Secretary)

-    Trevor Phillips OBE (Former Chair, Equalities & Human Rights Commission)

-    Justin Forsyth (Former CEO, Save the Children)

-    The Rt Hon Maria Miller MP (Chair, Women & Equalities Select Committee)

-    Sir Professor Paul Collier (Professor of Economics & Public Policy, University of Oxford)

-    Crispin Blunt MP (Chair, Foreign Affairs Select Committee)

-    Timothy Stanley (Columnist, The Daily Telegraph)

Date: Tuesday March 22nd 2016, 08.45 - 13.30

Venue: The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH


The future of apprenticeships with The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP

Bright Blue are hosting a public panel discussion on "The future of apprenticeships", featuring the Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, as a key speaker. 

Britain needs a strong vocational skills base in order to boost productivity, strengthen employment outcomes, and remain internationally competitive. Apprenticeships are vital for building a highly skilled workforce. Between 2009/10 and 2013/14 the number of apprenticeship starts rose dramatically and the Government has now set a target of 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020. Focusing on the quantity of apprenticeships however, is not sufficient. Quality is also vitally important and must be a focus for policymakers.

Date: Wednesday March 23rd 2016, 14.00 - 15.00

Venue: The Thatcher Room, Portcullis House, Bridge Street, London, SW1A 2LW


Standing Alone? Self-employment report launch with John Glen MP

Bright Blue is launching its new report Standing alone? Self-employment for those on low income. Rises in the number of individuals self-employed since 2008 have been accompanied by sharp falls in earnings. With average earnings from self-employment now well below average earnings for employees, understanding the experiences and challenges facing self-employed individuals on low income is vital.

This report offers new evidence on these experiences and challenges and makes a number of innovative policy recommendations to support this group more effectively.


John Glen MP, PPS to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

David Nash, Senior Policy Adviser, Federation of Small Businesses

Katy O'Malley, Senior Policy Researcher, Citizens Advice

David Kirkby, Senior Research Fellow, Bright Blue

Tom Clark, Chief Leader Writer, The Guardian, (Chair) (Invited)

Date: Tuesday 23rd February 2016, 14.15 - 15.30.

Venue: Committee Room 11, Palace of Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA

Kindly supported by: 



Drink Tank with George Freeman MP

For our first Drink Tank of 2016, we welcome George Freeman MP as the guest speaker. George is the Minister for Life Sciences and Member of Parliament for Mid Norfolk. He was formerly PPS to the Minister for Climate Change and Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture. George is a member of Bright Blue's Advisory Board.

The event will be chaired by Ian Birrell. Ian is a leading columnist and foreign correspondent. He worked for David Cameron as a speechwriter during the 2010 General Election and is former Deputy Editor of The Independent. Ian is also a member of Bright Blue's Advisory Board.

Date: Monday 1st February 2016, 19:00 - 21:00.

Venue: Morpeth Arms, 58 Millbank, London, SW1P 4RW


Keynote speech with The Rt Hon. Oliver Letwin MP on 'Opportunity for all'

Oliver Letwin is the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, with responsibility for leading the Cabinet Office. Elected Member of Parliament for West Dorset in 1997, Oliver was Minister for Government Policy under the Coalition Government. He has also served as the Shadow Home Secretary and as the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. 

Date: Thursday 21st January 2016, 19:00 - 21:00.

Venue: Guildhall, 71 Basinghall Street London EC2V 7HH GB


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