Conservative Party Conference

30/09/2018 - 03/10/2018

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