Bright Blue
Formation2014; 10 years ago (2014)
TypePublic policy think tank
Legal statusNon-profit company
Around 1,000
Executive chair
Ryan Shorthouse

Bright Blue is an independent centre-right think tank and pressure group with a mission statement of defending and improving liberal society, based in the United Kingdom. Founded in 2014 by British thinker Ryan Shorthouse,[1] Bright Blue aims to "defend and champion liberal, open, democratic and meritocratic values, institutions and policies."[2] Bright Blue is a membership-based think tank, with membership open to anyone who identifies as a liberal conservative. It publishes political research, recommends and vets public policy, and hosts political events.

The Daily Telegraph has described the organisation as "the modernising wing of the Tory party"[3] and the ConservativeHome website has described it as "a deep intellectual gene pool for the Conservative Party's future."[4] In 2018, the Evening Standard[5] 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.[6][7][8][9] It was the first centre-right organisation to call for the UK to adopt a legal net zero emissions target.[10]

The think tank describes its guiding ideas as: optimism about human potential; evidence not ideology; pro-market not free-market; social justice; rewarding contribution; individual success and communal responsibility; open and integrated societies; the importance of institutions; positive about politics; and powerful citizens.[11]

Bright Blue hosts its own online newspaper, Centre Write, which focuses on giving a platform to up-and-coming political commentators.


Bright Blue covers four main research themes in its work, including tax and employment, energy and environment, social policy, and education.[12] Since its establishment, the think tank published over 100 reports.[13]

Some of the most recent Bright Blue publications include an essay collection on helping people on lower incomes to acquire assets, A wealth of opportunities; a detailed report on the state and advantages of democratic business in the UK, Mind your business?, and a report examining the adequacy, accessibility and fairness of the UK’s social security system, Building up.[14] The latter received extensive media coverage, especially in light of its call for the introduction of a state minimum income.[15]


The think tank has worked extensively with multiple various intellectuals and members of parliament,[16] including Matthew d'Ancona, Francis Maude, Sajid Javid, Tom Tugendhat, Robert Buckland, David Willetts, Liam Fox, Andrew Mitchell, Zac Goldsmith, Laura Sandys, Nick Hurd, George Freeman, Isabel Hardman, Matthew Parris, or Ian Birrell. Michael Gove has described Bright Blue as "the source of radical and exciting ideas that have shaped Government" and Lucy Frazer has called Bright Blue's work "pioneering."

Many of Bright Blue's projects also involve collaboration with partner organisations, such as other think tanks, pressure groups and universities. For instance, it has worked with the left-wing think tank Fabian Society to call for and design a new pensions commission for the UK,[17] and it has hosted events with organisations such as UK Finance and Virgin Money.[18]


Bright Blue has seen over 70 of its policies adopted by the UK Government. Over 200 members of parliament declare themselves to be supporters of Bright Blue.[19] Of those, over 20 are members of the Bright Blue Community – a group of people that "work closely with Bright Blue to shape and promote liberal conservative policies."[20]

The think tank has had significant influence on a number of Conservative Governments, including those of David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, and Rishi Sunak.

In 2019, the think tank successfully campaigned for the introduction of a low-carbon obligation on gas suppliers.[21][22] Other recent Bright Blue policy suggestions embraced by the UK Government include making the breach of a Domestic Abuse Protection Order (DAPO) a criminal offence; extending Tier 5 Youth Mobility visas to more countries;[23] increasing the period of time international students can stay in the UK on a Tier 4 visa after their course has completed;[24] the ONS asking a voluntary question about gender identity in the Census;[25] post-Brexit rural payment reform to replace the EU Common Agricultural Policy;[26] cutting Stamp Duty for nearly all first-time buyers;[27] a new flexible lifelong loan entitlement to four years of post-18 education;[28] ending the support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas;[29] banning bottom trawling in marine protected areas;[30] including international aviation and shipping in new carbon budgets;[31] extending the Youth Mobility Visa scheme to India;[32] ensuring all new UK bilateral aid is spent in a way that does no harm to nature;[33] accelerating the phase-out of coal in the UK;[34] discretionary suspensions of the Minimum Income Floor for Universal Credit claimants;[35] making the central government vehicle fleet zero emission;[36] making the right to request flexible working a right from day one;[37] extending student loan repayment period to 40 years;[38] maintaining the telemedicine abortion service;[39] removing the ability of local authorities to charge for the disposal of DIY waste from households at waste disposal sites;[40] appointing Ofgem as the new regulator for heat networks;[41] and increasing the salary threshold for the repayment of student loans.[42] Most recent examples include also loosening planning restrictions on new onshore wind farms,[43] full expensing on capital investment for UK firms,[44] introduction of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM),[45] free childcare entitlement for children under the age of three, increasing the Universal Credit childcare cap, and paying parents on Universal Credit childcare support up-front.[46]


Bright Blue events are routinely covered by UK media, such as The Independent,[47] City A.M.,[48] or the BBC.[49] The same is true of Bright Blue research.[50] Bright Blue also often provides political commentary for UK printed and broadcast media.[51][52]


The board of directors is made up of Ryan Shorthouse (executive chair), Alexandra Jezeph, Diane Banks, Phil Clarke and Richard Mabey. It currently has fourteen associate fellows, as well as over 200 parliamentary supporters[53] and an independent advisory council[54] of figures from different political and professional backgrounds, including multiple Conservative parliamentarians such as such as Michael Gove, Nicky Morgan, Damian Green, and Penny Mordaunt.

In November 2022, Ryan Shorthouse announced that he would stand down as Director of Bright Blue and step up to chair the organisation, criticizing the Conservative government for having "failed millennials" and citing disagreements over housebuilding policies and soaring childcare costs.[55] Bright Blue is appointing a new Executive Director in 2024.[56]


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, as well as on its website.[57][58] The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Lloyds Bank Foundation, and Oak Foundation are some such organisations. In November 2022, the funding transparency website Who Funds You? gave Bright Blue a C grade (rating goes from A to E).[59]

Centre Write

Centre Write is a British online newspaper published and edited by the think tank Bright Blue. It publishes a spectrum of centre-left, centrist, and right of centre authors. Its focus is on providing a platform for up-and-coming writers to write political opinion pieces.

In the past, its printed magazine has featured contributors such as Tim Yeo, Ben Goldsmith, Suella Braverman, Priti Patel, Frances O'Grady, Chris Grayling, John Hayes, Madeleine Sumption, Paul Blomfield, Vernon Bogdanor, John Curtice, Philippe Legrain, David Blanchflower, Matt Hancock, Vicky Ford, Alan Mak, Nigel Huddleston, Steve Hilton, Paul Goodman, Ed Vaizey, Flick Drummond, Angus Maude, Justine Greening, Nicky Morgan, Douglas Carswell, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Michael Heseltine, Damian Collins, Tracey Crouch, Sam Gyimah, Tim Loughton, Roger Scruton, Nick Gibb, Kwasi Kwarteng, Dehenna Davison, Neil O'Brien, Ben Houchen, Michael Kenny, Rory Stewart, Jesse Norman, Peter Hitchens, Victoria Atkins, Susan Hall, Alicia Kearns, Matt Warman, Tobias Ellwood, Grant Shapps, and Ed Davey, amongst others.[60] In 2024, however, Centre Write stopped releasing a printed magazine in order to focus on its online publication.

See also


  1. ^ "The new Tory reformers looking to conquer the centre ground". Evening Standard. 28 November 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  2. ^ "About". Bright Blue. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  3. ^ Dominiczak, Peter (10 January 2013). "Conservatives should be the party of the low paid, minister says". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  4. ^ Hoskin, Peter (9 January 2013). "What the Tory modernisers did next". Conservative Home. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  5. ^ Balls, Katy (28 November 2018). "The new Tory reformers looking to conquer the centre ground". Evening Standard. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Think Tank Awards 2016". Prospect.
  7. ^ Team, Prospect. "Think Tank Awards 2017: Who won?".
  8. ^ Team, Prospect. "Think Tank Awards 2018: the full shortlist".
  9. ^ Dean, Alex. "Think Tank Awards 2019—the full results". Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  10. ^ Hansard, Robert (25 May 2018). "UK should adopt new G7-leading legal net zero emissions target, says Bright Blue". Bright Blue. Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  11. ^ "About". Bright Blue. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  12. ^ "Research".
  13. ^ "Library". Bright Blue. Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  14. ^ "Library". Bright Blue. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  15. ^ "Tory think tank Bright Blue calls for 'minimum income'". BBC News. 15 January 2023. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  16. ^ "Parliamentary Supporters". Bright Blue.
  17. ^ Ltd, DG Publishing. "Renewed calls for govt to set up pensions commission". Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  18. ^ "The Future of UK Finance". GOV.UK. 15 May 2024. Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  19. ^ "Parliamentary Supporters". Bright Blue. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  20. ^ "Bright Blue Community". Bright Blue. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  21. ^ "Think tank calls for low carbon gas obligation". 15 February 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Fiddling the margins or a powerful signal? The green economy reacts to the Spring Statement". Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  23. ^ Hedges, Birketts LLP-Clare; Leggett, Janice. "Employment and Immigration Law Update - Changes to Immigration Rules | Lexology". Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  24. ^ editor, Richard Adams Education (10 September 2019). "UK work visas for foreign graduates to be extended to two years". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 October 2019. ((cite news)): |last= has generic name (help)
  25. ^ "2021 Census topic research update: December 2018 - Office for National Statistics". Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  26. ^ "What's behind Theresa May's new love of the environment? This might be the answer". The Independent. 20 January 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  27. ^ "The new Tory reformers looking to conquer the centre ground". Evening Standard. 28 November 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  28. ^ "PM's skills speech: 29 September 2020". 29 September 2020. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  29. ^ "PM announces the UK will end support for fossil fuel sector overseas". 12 December 2020. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  30. ^ "Marine Management Organisation launches consultation on four of England's Marine Protected Areas". 1 February 2021. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  31. ^ "UK enshrines new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035". 20 April 2021. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  32. ^ "UK-India agree partnership to boost work visas for Indian nationals". 4 May 2021. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  33. ^ "The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review" (PDF). 1 July 2021. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  34. ^ "End to coal power brought forward to October 2024". 30 June 2021. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  35. ^ "The Universal Credit (Coronavirus) (Restoration of the Minimum Income Floor) Regulations 2021". 31 July 2021. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  36. ^ "Transport decarbonisation plan". 14 July 2021. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  37. ^ "Making flexible working the default". 23 September 2021. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  38. ^ "Higher education policy statement & reform consultation" (PDF). 6 May 2022. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  39. ^ "LORDS AMENDMENTS TO THE HEALTH AND CARE BILL" (PDF). 29 March 2022. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  40. ^ "Government announces new crackdown on fly-tipping". 11 April 2022. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  41. ^ "The Queen's Speech" (PDF). 10 May 2022. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  42. ^ Stewart, Heather (10 September 2017). "Thinktank warns Tories not to cut interest rates on student loans" (PDF). The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  43. ^ "Boost for onshore wind with government to relax planning rules". Sky News. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  44. ^ "Spring Budget 2023 – Full expensing". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  45. ^ "Factsheet: UK Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  46. ^ "Spring Budget 2023 factsheet – Labour Market Measures". GOV.UK. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  47. ^ Busby, Eleanor (16 January 2024). "Young people may be missing out because of home working, says Gillian Keegan". The Independent. Retrieved 5 June 2024.((cite news)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  48. ^ Conchie, Charlie (15 May 2024). "City minister: Pension funds need to start pumping cash into London's stock market". CityAM. Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  49. ^ "Woo youth vote or die, Matt Hancock tells Conservatives". BBC News. 19 May 2023. Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  50. ^ "Tory think tank Bright Blue calls for 'minimum income'". BBC News. 15 January 2023. Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  51. ^ Vaughan, Richard (30 May 2024). "Tories fear Sunak's 'Dunkirk' strategy will alienate young voters". Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  52. ^ "In The News Archives". Bright Blue. 3 June 2024. Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  53. ^ "Parliamentary Supporters".
  54. ^ "Advisory council".
  55. ^ "Ryan Shorthouse: I'm losing faith that our current politics can deliver for my generation. Here's a Conservative agenda for change". Conservative Home. 13 December 2022. Retrieved 20 January 2023.
  56. ^ Lampier, Sam (22 November 2022). "Bright Blue: Ryan Shorthouse to step down as CEO of Bright Blue". Bright Blue. Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  57. ^ "Our Partners". Bright Blue. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  58. ^ "Bright Blue | Who Funds You?". Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  59. ^ "Who Funds You? Bright Blue".
  60. ^ "Magazines". Bright Blue. Retrieved 7 June 2024.