Delivering the Centre for Policy Studies’ Margaret Thatcher Lecture just last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: ‘Let’s recognize how special this relationship really is. Let’s tend to it; let’s expand it.’
That was why we chose the topic of Britain and America for this year’s Margaret Thatcher Conference, the CPS’s flagship event.
The conference, featuring a headline keynote speech from Ambassador Johnson – held on Tuesday 25th June 2019 at the Guildhall, in partnership with the City of London and The Telegraph – examined Britain’s relationship with America through the prism of economics, politics and security.
Our first keynote speech was delivered by the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, focusing on the case for free trade. You can read Dr Fox’s full speech on CapX, or his article in Tuesday’s Telegraph.
The first panel of the day focused on the security threats and challenges that both Britain and America face, featuring contributions from The Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP, former Secretary of State for Defence; Dr Karin von Hippel, Director-General of the Royal United Services Institute; Richard Daniel, Chief Executive and Managing Director at Raytheon; and Prof Michael Clarke, former Director-General of the RUSI.
On the second panel, an all-star cast of political commentators and thinkers discussed the root causes of the West’s current malaise – and offered a host of ideas for getting capitalism working for the many. It was chaired by Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and author Anne Applebaum, alongside Dr Ryan Streeter of the American Enterprise Institute; Allister Heath, Editor of The Sunday Telegraph; and Megan McArdle, columnist at the Washington Post.
Our third panel focused on trade and the prospect and benefits of a Free Trade Agreement between the US and UK. It featured Joseph Sternberg of the Wall Street Journal; Dr Judy Shelton, United States Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Dr Andy Palmer, President and Group CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda; and John Glen MP, City Minister.
The final discussion was an ‘In Conversation’ between Prof Niall Ferguson and George Osborne, moderated by Robert Colvile, Director of the CPS. The issues discussed, in a dazzling discussion, ranged from whether we are fighting a ‘Cold War 2’ to the prospects of a Corbyn premiership for the US-UK relationship.
In advance of the conference, Robert wrote for City AM on the enduring importance of the US-UK relationship – a sentiment endorsed by the US Ambassador on Twitter. Ambassador Johnson then closed the conference with a bravura speech in praise of the Atlantic alliance – including some pointed myth-busting about chlorinated chicken.
The dinner after the conference was addressed by the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, who drew on her time studying and working in the US, and her experience as Home Secretary, to make the case for this essential relationship. An edited version of her speech will be published on CapX, and we’ll also be running interviews with many of the speakers on the CapX podcast.
To mark the occasion, the CPS also published a new report, ‘Tipping the Balance’, authored by CPS researcher Eamonn Ives and supported by Raytheon. The report, featured in the Times and summarised by Daniel Zealander on BrexitCentral, It showed how future trade and investment can be a vital tool in driving growth in some of the country’s most deprived areas – citing success stories such as Raytheon’s own investment in Broughton, North Wales. The report, which can be read here argues that we can produce many more such success stories by employing tools such as free ports (first proposed by the CPS in a paper by Rishi Sunak MP and opportunity zones.
Thank you from the team at the CPS to all of our partners, sponsors and supporters for helping make the day such a success – and ensuring the Guildhall remained packed throughout. If anyone is interested in partnering with us on future events, such as our party conference programme, please contact [email protected].