The Conservative Policy Forum: leading the work of party renewal

22nd November 2017

With the Government locked down in Brexit negotiations and the task of modernising our Party’s campaigning and membership made all the more urgent by the appearance of Momentum and a rejuvenated Labour Party, I believe now is the moment that the Conservative party must embrace radical reform.

That’s why I’ve decided to step down from my role as Chair of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board to concentrate on my role as Chair of the Conservative Policy Forum (CPF), leading the work of party renewal.

I believe we can regain the political momentum by instigating a bold programme of Conservative Party renewal, with a new team at CCHQ to oversee the intellectual, organisational and cultural renaissance of a Conservatism fit to shape and lead us through the 21st century.

After the failure of an ill-conceived election campaign, an ambitious programme of Conservative Party reform would signal real commitment to learn the lessons and restore both the low morale, and falling numbers, of our membership.  Given the deepening disconnection between the Conservative Party and the new generation of aspirational voters under 45, the new intellectual battle of ideas reshaping our political landscape, this is now urgent.

I’m very grateful for all the many messages of support since my launch of Big Tent, the Capital Ideas Foundation, and the CPF Champions; and for my commitment to a programme of bold and inspiring Conservative Renewal based on a clearer vision of a compassionate, entrepreneurial, innovative and enterprising Conservatism which takes the structural deficit crisis and Brexit as a moment to embrace bolder reform to create and spread  opportunity more widely.

There has been a surprising amount of media coverage – the vast majority positive (!) – particularly the kind Daily Telegraph Leader acknowledging my commitment to 21st Century Conservativism (see below).

There is an exciting agenda ahead for the Conservative Policy Forum over the next twelve months, as well as the Big Tent movement and Capital Ideas Foundation I launched earlier this year.

Watch this space for further news. And if you would like to find out any further information, please do let me know.

Big Tent Ideas Festival

Politics is undergoing a tectonic shift. That’s why I launched the Big Tent Ideas Festival, aiming to tackle the most difficult policy challenges we face. The Festival has now run for two years. This year we hosted our first-ever Leaders’ Summit and brought nearly 2,000 people together for the main Festival across fifty events and eight different tents, discussing ideas to reform our politics, our economy and our society.

The Big Tent Ideas Festival is part of the Capital Ideas Foundation, founded by a group of entrepreneurs to campaign for renewal in the radical centre-ground. Over the next year, we will be setting off round the country as the forum for the best new ideas in public policy. Click below and join us.

Read more:

Big Tent Ideas website

THE CASE FOR EFTA

We are in the middle of a Brexit civil war. What is clear is that the existing options will not unite our country.

Chequers has been dismissed by Brussels and is roundly rejected by the ERG. The Canada option was also not designed for the circumstances we currently face. We are a European nation already heavily reliant on the single market - wanting ideally to retain access to the single market without being in the 'political' union.

That’s why I believe ongoing membership of the European Free Trade Association is now the obvious route. It would give us off-the-shelf access to the single market, allow us to take back control of our fishing and farming industries, control free movement and let us negotiate our own trade deals.

Unless we stand up and fight for a sensible moderate Brexit, we risk enduring a #HardBrexit. There is an alternative that we can embrace now. It is time to embrace EFTA.

Publications

2nd November 2018 George Freeman: There was much to cheer in the Budget. But now we need an inspiring programme for growth | ConservativeHome


8th September 2018 Without a positive vision for British renewal, Brexit will fail | Daily Telegraph


7th September 2018 People are sick of partisan political civil wars | The Times


19th August 2018 George Freeman: It’s time to choose between a Conservative Brexit or a UKIP one | ConservativeHome


4th July 2018 The 5-year Land Supply is beginning to undermine public trust | PoliticsHome


9th May 2018 We urgently need to turn the NHS from being a barrier to technology to being a champion | The House Magazine


13th June 2018 The time to reform Britain and tackle the generational divide is now, not after Brexit | Daily Telegraph


9th May 2018 We deserve more choice than the hard left of Corbyn or hard right of Farage | The Times


8th May 2018 How to fix the burning injustice that is Britain's housing market | CAPX


18th March 2018 Conservatives need to be as economically bold as Margaret ... | FT


11th January 2018 Brexit is an electrifying moment for renewing the NHS | Politico