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Conservative Party Conference

Sunday 30th September 2018 – Wednesday 3rd October 2018

    The Centre for Policy Studies has a long history of attending Conservative Party Conference, and our presence at 2018's conference in Birmingham was bigger than ever before. 

    We had a large, dedicated and prominent events space within the secure zone where we hosted a vast array of fringe events, including receptions, panel discussions and one-on-ones. Ideas were discussed, policy reviewed and views exchanged across a variety of policy areas including housing, business, tax and welfare.

    We had a fantastic line up of speakers, including prominent politicians and experienced business people, each of whom brought unrivaled insight and expertise to each of our discussions. 

    This page details the topics and list of speakers we hosted across the event. For a more detailed overview of the events and photographs, click below. 


    In Detail



    In Detail



    In Detail




    The Future of Conservatism: In Conversation with the Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP


    Robert Colvile, Director of the Centre for Policy Studies, and Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP, former Secretary of State for International Development, look ahead at the 2018 Conference and discuss the challenges facing the Government and the Conservative Party.


    Living Within Our Means: An Agenda for Public Spending Savings presented by the Rt. Hon. Liz Truss MP


    Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, leads a discussion about how to bring down public spending. Bring your best ideas. 


    New Generation Reception with the Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP


    Join 2015 and 2017 MPs, Spads, Downing Street advisers as well as senior ministers and media commentators in a celebration of the Conservative Party’s bright new thinkers. This event is invitation only. 



    The Future of UK Financial Services after Brexit. In partnership with the City of London Corporation


    Robert Colvile (Chair), Director – CPS

    John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury

    Catherine McGuinness, Chairman of Policy and Resources Committee – City of London Corporation

    A roundtable discussion of the future of the UK's financial services sector post-Brexit. This event is invite-only


    The Morality of Work


    Rachel Wolf (Chair), Head of Welfare – CPS

    James Bartholomew, Author – The Welfare of Nations

    Alex Burghart MP

    Matt Warman MP

    Rachel Wolf presents new research on how attitudes to welfare are changing and how a ‘something for something’ system is key to winning back trust with the electorate - followed by a discussion on how to create a truly contributory welfare system.


    CapX: Adam Smith – Crusader for Capitalism? In Conversation with Jesse Norman MP


    Lord Finkelstein of Pinner OBE (Chair)

    Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport

    Oliver Wiseman, Editor – CapX

    What did Adam Smith really believe, and what would he would make of modern capitalism’s crisis of confidence?

    The Best Years of Our Lives? Mental Health at University


    Introduction from Helen Whately MP, Conservative Party Vice-Chair for Women

    Professor Dame Janet Beer, President – Universities UK (Chair)

    Sam Gyimah MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation

    Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor – University of Buckingham

    Meg Zeenat Wamithi – Student and Founder, My Mind Matters Too

    Studying at university should be a time of excitement, discovery and fellowship. But many students experience anxiety and depression. What can be done by the government, universities and students?


    The Politics of Age

    13.20 – 14.15

    Emma Barr (Chair), Head of Communications – CPS 

    Andrew Bowie MP

    Tom Pursglove MP, Vice-Chair for Youth – Conservative Party

    Ben Bradley MP

    Tom Harwood, Former NUS Presidential Candidate

    The issue of inter-generational (un)fairness challenges all parties and politicians. How can Conservatives best deliver opportunity and security for young people?


    The Future of Capitalism. Centre for Policy Studies and CapX


    Robert Colvile (Chair), Director – CPS

    Chris Skidmore MP, Vice-Chair for Policy – Conservative Party

    Fredrik Erixon, European Centre for International Political Economy

    Rishi Sunak MP, Minister for Local Government

    Matt Singh, Founder - Number Cruncher Analytics

    Rachel Cunliffe, Comment and Features Editor - City A.M.

    Capitalism has proved itself to be the most effective means of distributing wealth and creating opportunity for all. But the global financial crisis has damaged capitalism’s reputation for efficiency and fairness, and created a new anti-market narrative which is being exploited by populists and the left.

    From Rent to Own: How Can We Bring Back Mass Home Ownership?


    Alex Morton (Chair), Head of Policy – CPS

    Graham Edwards, Executive Chairman – Telereal Trillium

    Kit Malthouse MP, Minister of State for Housing

    Eddie Hughes MP

    Ray Rafiq-Omar, Managing Director - Unmortgage

    Home ownership used to be part of the British dream. Is it still possible?


    The NHS: What's the Plan? CPS in partnership with the National Pharmacy Association


    Laura Donnelly (Chair), Health Editor – The Telegraph

    Niall Dickson CBE, Chief Executive – NHS Confederation

    Nick Kaye, Board Member – NPA

    Robert Colvile, Director – CPS

    Alan Mak MP

    NHS leaders have been asked to set out a 10-year strategy for its future. But what would a better health service actually look like? And what can be done today?



    What’s Stopping Women from Stepping Up? In partnership with Women2Win


    Baroness Jenkin of Kennington (Chair), Co-Chair – Women2Win

    Victoria Atkins MP, Minister for Women

    Emma Barr, Head of Communications – CPS

    Cllr Joy Morrissey, Shortlisted Conservative Candidate for London Mayor

    Molly Samuel-Leport MBE, 7 times World Karate Champion and previous PPC for Walthamstow

    Four out of five Tory MPs are men. Are women deterred by the abuse, the process, or do they just need to be asked?

    A Rebalancing Act: UK Prosperity After Brexit. In partnership with the Politics and Economics Research Trust


    Nick King (Chair), Head of Business – CPS

    Andy Street, Mayor – West Midlands Combined Authority

    Ben Houchen, Mayor – Tees Valley Combined Authority

    James Palmer, Mayor – Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

    Catherine McGuinness - Chairman, Policy and Resources Committee, City of London 

    Neil O'Brien MP

    The UK contains Northern Europe’s richest region (Inner London), and 9 of its 10 poorest regions. Addressing this should be a priority for UK and devolved government.   

    CapX: What Does Global Britain Mean?


    Oliver Wiseman (Chair), Editor – CapX

    Lord O’Neill of Gatley, Former Commercial Secretary to the Treasury

    Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, Former Commercial Secretary to the Treasury

    Bob Seely MP

    Our rules-based system is under threat from trade wars and great power rivalry. Will Brexit prompt the UK to adopt a more global role as a champion of free trade and liberalism, or plunge it into irrelevance? In the age of uncertainty, who are our true friends?


    Is Privatisation Dead?


    Tom Clougherty (Chair), Head of Tax – CPS

    Dr Tony Ballance, Director, Strategy and Regulation – Severn Trent

    John Penrose MP

    Rt. Hon. John Redwood MP

    Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is committed to re-nationalising the UK’s railways, water, energy networks and Royal Mail. Opinion polls suggest these policies have growing appeal to voters. Does privatisation have a future?


    Today’s Millennials, Tomorrow’s Conservatives?


    Rachel Sylvester (Chair), Columnist – The Times

    Emma Barr, Head of Communications – CPS

    Sam Gyimah MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation

    Guy Opperman MP

    The older you get, the more likely you are to vote Conservative, right? But polls suggest that most young people rule out ever voting Tory. Can Conservative ideas endure? What can Conservatives do to start building a meaningful relationship with young people?

    Turning UK SMEs into Global Champions

    14.00 – 15.00

    Nick King (Chair), Head of Business – CPS

    Robert Jenrick MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury

    Sahar Hashemi, Entrepreneur and Author

    Chris Hulatt, Founder – Octopus

    Sarah Windrum, CEO and Co-Founder – The Emerald Group

    High Growth Small Businesses (HGSBs) are important wealth and job creators for the UK. What can the Government do to help them scale into world beaters?


    In Conversation with Sir Graham Brady MP

    15.15 – 16.00

    Robert Colvile, Director – CPS

    Sir Graham Brady MP, Chairman – 1922 Committee


    Older, Independent and Active: How to House an Ageing Population. In conjunction with members of Retirement Housebuilder’s Group


    Alex Morton (Chair), Head of Policy – CPS

    Rt. Hon. Damian Green MP

    John Slaughter, Director of External Affairs - Home Builder's Federation

    Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader – Warwickshire County Council

    Andrew Burgess, Group Land and Planning Director - Churchill Retirement Living

    1 in 4 of us will be over 65 in the next twenty years, so how does the type and location of our housing stock best serve the needs and ambitions of an older generation?


    Will We Ever Cut Taxes Again?


    Tom Clougherty (Chair), Head of Tax – CPS

    Rt. Hon. Mel Stride MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury

    Kate Andrews, Associate Director – Institute of Economic Affairs

    Sam Dumitriu, Research Director - The Entrepreneur's Network

    John O’Connell, Chief Executive – The Taxpayers’ Alliance

    Today’s politicians seem more likely to make the case for more government spending than lowering taxes. But as we leave the EU, the UK needs to make itself even more competitive. Is it time to make the case for supply side reforms?


    In Conversation with the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP


    Robert Colvile, Director – CPS

    Rt. Hon. Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care