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Bright Blue, the independent think tank for liberal conservatism, has today announced the launch of its new Community, bringing together a number of MPs and Peers, as well as Bright Blue staff, fellows and members, to work intensely with Bright Blue on shaping and promoting liberal conservative policies in 2024 and beyond.

 

Bright Blue’s Community is a collection of like-minded people inside and outside Parliament who will work closely with Bright Blue to shape and promote liberal conservative policies to influence the manifestos of the 2024 general election and beyond. 

The Community is launched alongside the appointment of 8 new associate fellows – young talented thinkers and campaigners who are the future of the UK centre-right. Bright Blue is appointing a new Executive Director in the New Year to work with our Executive Chair, Ryan Shorthouse, to strengthen Bright Blue’s leadership.

The Community sits alongside Bright Blue’s 220 Parliamentary Supporters and our around 1,000 members.

Bright Blue’s Community seeks to ensure the centre-right in the UK prioritises liberal, meritocratic, institutionalist and internationalist policies that foster economic, environmental and social responsibility. 

Bright Blue’s Community seeks to make the centre-right focus on 8 key principles in its policymaking: pro-market rather than free-market; optimistic about human potential, technological progress and the future of our society; evidence-led rather than ideological in tacking problems; defending and reforming longstanding institutions; better rewarding economic and social contribution; tackling social, economic and intergenerational injustices; celebrating open and integrated societies; and thwarting climate change and biodiversity decline.

Ryan Shorthouse, Executive Chair of Bright Blue, commented:

“The centre-right in UK politics needs reviving. Bright Blue is bringing together a community of people inside and outside parliament who want a flourishing liberal, meritocratic, pro-market, internationalist and institutionalist centre-right in the UK in the years ahead. 

“A centre-right that is economically, socially and environmentally responsible – and does more to attract and support younger people – is one that in the years ahead can win the hearts and minds of the public, and can change the country for the better.”

Current members of the Bright Blue Community include:

  1. The Rt Hon. Sir Robert Buckland MP
  2. The Rt Hon. Damian Green MP
  3. The Rt Hon. Dame Caroline Dinenage MP
  4. Dr Lisa Cameron MP
  5. Lord Ed Vaizey
  6. John Penrose MP
  7. Damian Collins MP
  8. John Stevenson MP
  9. The Rt Hon. Alun Cairns MP
  10. Stephen Hammond MP
  11. Chris Clarkson MP
  12. The Rt Hon. Chloe Smith MP
  13. Flick Drummond MP 
  14. Alexander Stafford MP
  15. Peter Aldous MP
  16. Simon Fell MP
  17. Ben Everitt MP
  18. David Simmonds MP
  19. Selaine Saxby MP
  20. Bob Blackman MP
  21. Jane Hunt MP
  22. Sally-Ann Hart MP
  23. Matt Warman MP
  24. Baroness Nicky Morgan
  25. Mark Garnier MP
Co-Head of Social Policy The Rt Hon Sir Robert Buckland MP, former Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, commented:

“One Nation Conservatism is all about supporting the individual as a member of a greater society. That means the Government has a responsibility to look after vulnerable people, and with responsibility comes challenges. We have a strained judicial system, disabled and neurodiverse people facing social isolation, a seemingly intractable immigration crisis, hardship brought on by the increased cost of living and an economic malaise left in the wake of a global pandemic and a war in Europe.

“In seeking to address these issues, policymakers must think hard about how attention and resources are being applied to empower and support those who bear the brunt of the challenges of 2023 and beyond. 

“To that end, I am thrilled to assume the role of Head of Social Policy in the Bright Blue Community – a vibrant group of thinkers who share a commitment to liberal conservative ideals, and who will strive to advance a set of policies that achieve progress for our country while ensuring vulnerable people are not left behind.”

Co-Head of Economic and Employment Policy John Penrose MP, the former UK Anti-Corruption Champion and Co-Chair of the Inclusive Growth APPG, commented:

“Bright Blue is a doughty champion of liberal conservatism, so I’m delighted to be part of their thought-leadership group. A combination of Artificial Intelligence, distance working and global increases in the supply of educated middle-class graduates from developing nations will mean huge changes for millions of employers and their staff, and disrupt the service industries which underpin the UK’s economy. How we work will inevitably look different as a result of these changes, and Bright Blue will be a great forum to generate new ideas to help British workers and the UK’s economy emerge as winners as the world adjusts to these seismic shifts.”

Head of Education Policy Flick Drummond MP, Member of the Education Select Committee, commented:

“Equal opportunities are a fundamental aspiration for any country. The cornerstone of achieving this is education. A strong educational foundation is essential to offer each child the chance to prosper and pave the way for a brighter future. It is the gateway to higher-paying careers, amplifies social mobility and serves as the bedrock of national prosperity.

“I am glad to be joining the Bright Blue Community as Head of Education, a role from which I will continue to push for innovative and bold liberal conservative solutions to the challenges facing our education system. Bright Blue has shown a commendable commitment to fostering an environment where every child can thrive. I am excited to play a role in progressing these ideals as part of a dedicated group striving to empower all.”

Co-Head of Energy and Environment Policy Alexander Stafford MP, Member of the Energy Security and Net Zero Select Committee, commented:

At a time when for the UK public, environmental and energy concerns stand out as some of the most urgent issues, it is of paramount importance that we continue to advocate for pragmatic, yet bold, policies that will shape a greener and more sustainable Britain – one that restores our place as international torchbearers for energy security and environmental sustainability. I am excited to join the Bright Blue Community as Co-Head of Environment and Energy Policy, a position from which I will continue to advocate for policy that will allow the UK to build back greener. I am confident that the Bright Blue Community of MPs will hold a pivotal role in the years ahead, and I am looking forward to driving positive change not only in the realm of environmental policy, but also across a range of economic and social issues.”

Co-Head of Energy and Environment Policy Peter Aldous MP, Chair of the British Offshore Oil and Gas Industry APPG and Vice-Chair of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy APPG, commented:

“The public remains deeply concerned about climate change and recognises the ongoing need for green measures that are fair and which support them. In our journey towards achieving a net-zero future, it is vital to have advocates championing a liberal conservative vision for a greener tomorrow. I am delighted to join the Bright Blue Community as Co-Head of Environment and Energy Policy, where I will promote climate-friendly and practical policies that will benefit all and will create exciting new job opportunities. 

“The Bright Blue Community will be a group of ardent advocates for societal improvement, not limited to environmental and energy matters but extending to economic and social policy. Together, we are working towards a fairer and more prosperous Britain.”

Head of Housing Policy Ben Everitt MP, Member of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee, commented:

“I’m very pleased to join Bright Blue, heading the Housing Community. Housing is so important for our future and either enables or supports nearly every other aspect of public policy.

I want to bring my years of knowledge gained in politics and the private sector, and my experience cultivating industry leader’s voices as Chair of the APPG for Housing Market and Housing Delivery, to champion vital policy research and help shape the Conservative Party’s long term strategy.”

Bob Blackman MP, Member of Parliament for Harrow East, commented:

“Liberal conservatism is all about being optimistic about human potential. Currently, not enough people have the opportunities to go as far as their hard work deserves. The Conservative Party needs a fresh vision and bold solutions to tackle pressing challenges: homelessness, youth empowerment, and technological advancements, to name but a few. Bright Blue’s leadership in solving these challenges through ideas that value and reward both economic and social contributions will advance our country’s prosperity and our Party’s future.”

Selaine Saxby MP, Member of Parliament for North Devon, commented:

“In today’s dynamic but volatile politics, it is crucial to have a united community to champion liberal conservatism. By fostering a commitment to liberal values, the Conservative Party can forge a direction that aligns not only with public expectations from their leaders but also with the nation’s requirements amidst numerous challenges—be they political, economic, or social. I look forward to joining Bright Blue’s group and am sure that, together, we will be able to make the decisions that take the country and Party forward.”

Dr Lisa Cameron MP, Member of Parliament for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, commented:

“Amidst growing voices from both extremes that stoke divides, we need ideas from the centre-right that bring people together, equip them to take control of their lives, make the most of the opportunities presented to them, and spread affluence equitably across all four nations. Bright Blue’s new group will be of great benefit to our politics by charting a course for the future of the Conservative Party and the country.”

The Rt Hon. Dame Caroline Dinenage MP, Member of Parliament for Gosport, commented:

“It is vital we demonstrate the benefits of the centre ground through a compassionate and pragmatic conservatism that champions fairness and opportunity for all the country’s citizens. Bringing together like-minded liberal conservatives will represent a huge asset to our political landscape and I am confident that Bright Blue’s new initiative will champion these voices in a way that is both constructive and empowering.”

David Simmonds MP, Member of Parliament for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, commented:

“I truly believe that our nation and democracy are best served by Liberal, One Nation values. At every level of Government, elected officials should look to these principles to ensure a promising future for both the country and the Conservative Party. Instead of putting the most vulnerable at a disadvantage, our policies and laws should actively secure the rights and opportunities for all, spanning policy areas, from housing to immigration. Our political landscape is calling for a positive shift, and I’m confident that this group of MPs and Peers has the capability to deliver this change.”

Chris Clarkson MP, Member of Parliament for Heywood and Middleton, commented:

“New ideas are needed to constantly revitalise the Conservative Party and ensure our core principles stay relevant to our society. These must stem from liberal values, emphasising economic and social responsibility whilst ensuring a safety net for those who need it most. Our Party has always been one that champions equality of opportunity and this should always be our North Star. Bright Blue’s open, progressive-conservative principles foster this legacy for the next generation, enabling those who can take up the advantages of our society, without leaving behind those who cannot.”

The Rt Hon. Chloe Smith MP, Member of Parliament for Norwich North, commented:

“Bright Blue are energetic and ambitious in articulating good ideas and providing the evidence and connections that help liberal Conservatism to win important arguments in the public service.”

Simon Fell MP, Member of Parliament for Barrow and Furness, commented:

“Elections are won in the centre ground, and after a divisive few years, the people of Britain are craving a calmer, more pragmatic, politics that speaks with compassion rather than defining itself against others. Conservatism is about creating the ladder of opportunity, gearing the state to give everyone, no matter their background or geography, a fair chance. I look forward to working with Bright Blue on their new project, helping shape the new ideas we need to challenge and refresh our approach to delivering for the British people.”

 

ENDS

Notes to editors

To arrange an interview with a Bright Blue spokesperson or for further media enquiries, please contact Emily Taylor at emily@brightblue.org.uk or 07841 419316. 

  • Bright Blue is the independent think tank and pressure group for liberal conservatism.
  • Our advisory council can be found here. We also have 220 parliamentary supporters. Members of our advisory council, the Bright Blue Community and our parliamentary supporters do not necessarily endorse all our policy recommendations.
  • Bright Blue is appointing a new Executive Director in the New Year to work with our Executive Chair, Ryan Shorthouse, to strengthen Bright Blue’s leadership.
  • Bright Blue’s new Associate Fellows include: David Thomas, John Oxley, Dr Rakib Ehsan, Isabella Wallersteiner, James Cowling, Joseph Tetlow, Max Anderson and Phoebe Arslanagić-Little.