Policy Exchange

From Powerbase
Revision as of 17:30, 5 February 2010 by Tom Mills (talk | contribs) (Origins and launch)

Jump to: navigation, search

Policy Exchange is a neoconservative orientated think-tank with close ties to Conservative leader David Cameron. [1] It was launched in April 2002 by Francis Maude and Archie Norman with Nicholas Boles as its founding director.[2] It is part of the Stockholm Network. [3]

Origins and launch

Policy Exchange was established by a group of Conservative MPs who had backed Michael Portillo’s 2001 campaign in the 2001 Conservative leadership contest. Portillo, who had recently admitted having had homosexual experiences, advocated a shift towards more liberal social attitudes, whilst maintaining a commitment to right-wing economic policy. Dubbed ‘Portillistas’ by Westminster commentators, Portillo’s backers saw themselves as modernisers of an out of touch party which had put off potential voters through its negativity, xenophobia and social conservatism.

Portillo withdrew from the Conservative leadership race on the evening of 17 July 2001 and subsequently announced that he would leave politics. According to the Independent the eleven Shadow Cabinet colleagues who had backed him were subsequently dubbed ‘the living dead’ in Westminster. [4]

Only days later, one of the ‘living dead’, Archie Norman, told the Daily Telegraph’s Rachel Sylvester that he and other Portillo supporters were planning to set up a think-tank saying: ‘I came into public life to help transform the Conservative Party so it can win again, and that's what I'm still about.’ [5] On 21 July The Daily Telegraph ran a front page headline, ‘Portillo supporters to fight on’. Archie Norman was quoted as saying:

We've got hundreds of thousands of people who don't want to lose what we were creating, we've got financial support from people who wanted to invest in this as the future of the party and we would like to find a way of channelling that and harnessing it. [6]

That August the Daily Telegraph published a letter from the ‘Portillistas’ in which they said they planned to establish ‘a new forum, firmly rooted within the party, devoted to developing the ideas that will form the basis of a genuinely modern Conservative Party.’ [7] The letter was signed by Francis Maude, Archie Norman, Tim Yeo, Andrew Mackay, Peter Ainsworth, Theresa May, Edward Garnier, Peter Lilley, Damian Green, Nicholas Soames, Julie Kirkbride, Stephen Dorrell and Nicholas Gibb. [8]

In early October, a week before the Tory Party Conference, the party’s new leader Iain Duncan Smith reportedly met for private talks with Francis Maude, and the latter agreed to delay the launch of the think-tank until after the party conference. [9] The truce was cemented with an offer from the ‘Portillistas’ that Iain Duncan Smith would be appointed Honoury President of the think-tank [10] – an offer which apparently came to nothing.

The logos for 'XChance', as Policy Exchange was originally branded in 2001, and the affiliated group Conservatives for Change or 'CChange'. The two were presumably kept seperate to allow Policy Exchange to apply for charitable status as a non-partisan organisation.

Archie Norman, Francis Maude, and their allies decided to set up two seperate think-tanks as part of their modernisation project. One, XChange Ideas or simply XChange, would be rebranded as Policy Exchange a few months later. A company limited by guarantee, formed in October 2001, became XChange Ideas on 9 November 2001. A seperate company Conservatives for Change was also was set up that October, and was branded CChange. The two were presumably kept seperate to allow Policy Exchange to apply for charitable status as a non-partisan organisation. Conservatives for Change supplied the initial funding for Policy Exchange, providing a loan of £75,000. [11]

In December the group set up the websites cchange.org.uk and xchange.org.uk for people to register their interest in the projects prior to the launch of XChange or Policy Exchange's full website.

The full website <http://www.policyexchange.org.uk> was registered on 28 January 2002 and went live a few months later. [12] Policy Exchange was officially launched at the Tate Gallery in Central London on the evening of 29 April 2002. [13]

Financial Statements

Policy Exchange Financial Statements made up to 30 September 2002
Policy Exchange Financial Statements made up to 30 September 2003
Policy Exchange Financial Statements made up to 30 September 2004
Policy Exchange Financial Statements made up to 30 September 2005
Policy Exchange Financial Statements made up to 30 September 2006
Policy Exchange Financial Statements made up to 30 September 2007
Policy Exchange Financial Statements made up to 30 September 2008

External Resources

Address


Clutha House
10 Storey's Gate
London SW1P 3AY
Telephone: 020 7340 2650
Fax: 020 7222 5859
Email: info@policyexchange.org.uk

References

  1. Andy Beckett, ‘What can they be thinking?’, Guardian, 26 September 2008.
  2. Ed Vaizey, The New Breed of Policy Wonk is a Doer and a Thinker, Sunday Times, 14 July 2002.
  3. Think Tank details, Stockholm Network, accessed 7 April 2009.
  4. Andrew Grice, ‘The living dead' ponder their future after backing wrong horse in leadership contest’, Independent, 20 July 2001; p.10.
  5. Rachel Sylvester, ‘Norman still selling Portillo's dream’, Daily Telegraph, 21 July 2001.
  6. Rachel Sylvester, ‘Portillo supporters to fight on’, Daily Telegraph, 21 July 2001; p.1.
  7. Letters: Leader needs radical new advisory forum’, Daily Telegraph, 10 August 2001; p.29.
  8. ‘Letters: Leader needs radical new advisory forum’, Daily Telegraph, 10 August 2001; p.29.
  9. David Crackwell, ‘Duncan Smith in secret deal with Portillistas Tory leader agrees truce before party conference’, Sunday Telegraph, 7 October 2001
  10. Rachel Sylvester, ‘We must change to survive, say Tory webmasters’, Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2001; p.14.
  11. see Policy Exchange Financial Statements made up to 30 September 2002, p.4
  12. The first entry in the internet archive for the website is from 25 May 2002. See Internet Archive Wayback Machine, [1] [Accessed 5 February 2010.
  13. Patrick Wintour, ‘People want say in local services’, Guardian, 29 April 2002; Melissa Kite, ‘Portillo’s allies call for more mayors’, The Times, 29 April 2002