|Type||Liberal Conservative Think tank|
Bright Blue is an independent think tank and pressure group advocating for liberal conservative ideas and policies, based in the United Kingdom. Founded in 2014 by British entrepreneur Ryan Shorthouse, Bright Blue aims to "defend and champion liberal, open, democratic and meritocratic values, institutions and policies." Bright Blue is a membership-based think tank, with membership open to anyone who identifies as a liberal conservative.
The Daily Telegraph has described the organisation as "the modernising wing of the Tory party" and the ConservativeHome website has described it as "a deep intellectual gene pool for the Conservative Party's future". In 2018, the Evening Standard noted that Bright Blue "has managed to set the party’s agenda on a number of issues". In 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, it was shortlisted for both UK Social Policy Think Tank of The Year and UK Environment & Energy Think Tank of The Year in the annual Prospect awards.
Bright Blue covers five main research themes in its work, including energy and environment policy; human rights and discrimination; integrated Britain; social reform; and ageing society.
Its first publication was the book Tory Modernisation 2.0 published in 2013. Tory Modernisation 2.0 is described as recommending "policies and a vision that the Conservative Party should adopt to improve society and the economy, to win in 2015, and beyond". The book contains contributions from various conservative intellectuals and members of parliament, including Matthew d'Ancona, Francis Maude and David Willetts.
In April 2014, Bright Blue published its second book, The Modernisers’ Manifesto. The book outlined how the Conservative Party can demonstrate credibility and fresh ideas to convince the electorate that they need a second term in government to make Britain "a fairer nation with a stronger economy and high-quality public services". The book contained contributions from a range of high-profile opinion formers and policy makers such as Liam Fox, Andrew Mitchell, Zac Goldsmith, Laura Sandys, Nick Hurd, George Freeman, Isabel Hardman, Matthew Parris and Ian Birrell.
Bright Blue has seen a number of policies adopted by the UK Government. In 2019, the think-tank successfully campaigned for the introduction of a low-carbon obligation on gas suppliers. The government has also recently embraced other Bright Blue policy suggestions including making the breach of a Domestic Abuse Protection Order (DAPO) a criminal offence; extending Tier 5 Youth Mobility visas to more countries; increasing the period of time international students can stay in the UK on a Tier 4 visa after their course has completed; the ONS asking a voluntary question about gender identity in the Census from 2021; the appointment reforming rural payments after Britain leaves the EU Common Agricultural Policy, the cutting of Stamp Duty for nearly all first-time buyers, and an increase in the salary threshold for the repayment of student loan.
Bright Blue regularly publishes original research reports and academic articles.
It also manages a weekly updated blog, Centre Write, which started in May 2014. The blog promotes articles submitted by its community of liberal conservative thinkers.
Bright Blue publishes the quarterly magazine Centre Write. Each edition seeks to explore different themes and issues that the United Kingdom is currently facing. It features contributions from leading academics, politicians, commentators, and thinkers.
Bright Blue launched a new podcast, Heads Apart?, in February 2019. The podcast aims to cut through superficial political analysis in order to bring viewers a thoughtful discussion of major political and cultural issues. Each episode brings together two commentators with different views on a prominent issue to engage in a respectful, thoughtful and detailed discussion.
The Board of Directors is made up of Sarah Sands (Chair), Ryan Shorthouse (Director), Rachel Johnson, Alexandra Jezeph, Diane Banks, Phil Clarke and Richard Mabey. It currently has three Associate Fellows: Helen Jackson, Kieron O'Hara and Michael Johnson. It has a list of nearly 200 Parliamentary supporters, and an independent Advisory Council from different political and professional backgrounds - including multiple Conservative parliamentarians such as such as Michael Gove, Matt Hancock, Nicky Morgan, Damian Green, and Penny Mordaunt.
Bright Blue is a not-for-profit company that is funded by a range of organisations. It acknowledges its sponsoring partners in all reports and advertising materials. The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Lloyds Bank Foundation, and Oak Foundation are some such organisations. Bright Blue has been a given an C grade for funding transparency by Who Funds You?
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