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Bright Blue
Formation2014; 8 years ago (2014)
TypeLiberal Conservative Think tank
Sarah Sands
Ryan Shorthouse

Bright Blue is an independent think tank and pressure group advocating for liberal conservative[1] ideas and policies, based in the United Kingdom. Founded in 2014 by British entrepreneur Ryan Shorthouse,[2] Bright Blue aims to "defend and champion liberal, open, democratic and meritocratic values, institutions and policies."[3] 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"[4] and the ConservativeHome website has described it as "a deep intellectual gene pool for the Conservative Party's future".[5] In 2018, the Evening Standard[6] 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.[7][8][9][10]


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.[11]

Its first publication was the book Tory Modernisation 2.0[12][13][14] 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,[15] including Matthew d'Ancona, Francis Maude and David Willetts.

In April 2014, Bright Blue published its second book, The Modernisers’ Manifesto.[16][17] 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.[18][19] 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;[20] increasing the period of time international students can stay in the UK on a Tier 4 visa after their course has completed;[21] the ONS asking a voluntary question about gender identity in the Census from 2021;[22] the appointment reforming rural payments after Britain leaves the EU Common Agricultural Policy,[23] the cutting of Stamp Duty for nearly all first-time buyers,[24] and an increase in the salary threshold for the repayment of student loan.[25]


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.

Episodes include:


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,[70] and an independent Advisory Council[71] 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.[72] 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?[73]

See also


  1. ^ "Meet The New Conservative Think-Tanks Hoping To Reboot The Tories". HuffPost UK. 2018-05-24. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  2. ^ "The new Tory reformers looking to conquer the centre ground". Evening Standard. 2018-11-28. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  3. ^ "About". Bright Blue. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  4. ^ Dominiczak, Peter (10 January 2013). "Conservatives should be the party of the low paid, minister says". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  5. ^ Hoskin, Peter (9 January 2013). "What the Tory modernisers did next". Conservative Home. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  6. ^ Balls, Katy (28 November 2018). "The new Tory reformers looking to conquer the centre ground". Evening Standard. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Think Tank Awards 2016". Prospect.
  8. ^ Team, Prospect. "Think Tank Awards 2017: Who won?".
  9. ^ Team, Prospect. "Think Tank Awards 2018: the full shortlist".
  10. ^ Dean, Alex. "Think Tank Awards 2019—the full results". Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  11. ^ "Research".
  12. ^ "Tory Modernisation 2.0" (PDF).
  13. ^ Shorthouse, Ryan (2012-10-06). "Conservative modernisation: it's time for version 2.0". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  14. ^ "Reviewed: Tory Modernisation 2.0 ed. Ryan Shorthouse & Guy Stagg". Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  15. ^ "Parliamentary Supporters". Bright Blue.
  16. ^ "The Modernisers Manifesto" (PDF).
  17. ^ "Tory think-tank pushes for easing of cannabis laws to be cornerstone". The Independent. 2014-04-28. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  18. ^ "Think tank calls for low carbon gas obligation". 2019-02-15. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  19. ^ "Fiddling the margins or a powerful signal? The green economy reacts to the Spring Statement". Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  20. ^ Hedges, Birketts LLP-Clare; Leggett, Janice. "Employment and Immigration Law Update - Changes to Immigration Rules | Lexology". Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  21. ^ editor, Richard Adams Education (2019-09-10). "UK work visas for foreign graduates to be extended to two years". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-10-24. ((cite news)): |last= has generic name (help)
  22. ^ "2021 Census topic research update: December 2018 - Office for National Statistics". Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  23. ^ "What's behind Theresa May's new love of the environment? This might be the answer". The Independent. 2018-01-20. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  24. ^ "The new Tory reformers looking to conquer the centre ground". Evening Standard. 2018-11-28. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  25. ^ Stewart, Heather (2017-09-10). "Thinktank warns Tories not to cut interest rates on student loans". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  26. ^ "Under stress? The experiences of benefit claimants during the pandemic".
  27. ^ "Green money: a plan to reform UK carbon pricing" (PDF).
  28. ^ "Nature positive? Public attitudes towards the natural environment" (PDF).
  29. ^ "Benefit to all? Financial experience of Universal Credit claimants during the pandemic".
  30. ^ "Home truths: options for reforming residential property taxes in England" (PDF).
  31. ^ "Increasingly precarious? Young adults during the pandemic".
  32. ^ "Shaky foundations".
  33. ^ "Toward Green Export Finance? Investigating the views of UK exporting firms towards UKEF".
  34. ^ "Driving uptake: maturing the market for battery electric vehicles" (PDF).
  35. ^ "Widening chasms".
  36. ^ "A better reward? Public attitudes to citizenship".
  37. ^ "Going greener? Public attitudes to net zero" (PDF).
  38. ^ "Delivering net zero: Building Britain's resilient recovery" (PDF).
  39. ^ "Separate support? Attitudes to social security in Scotland" (PDF).
  40. ^ "Global green giant? A policy story" (PDF).
  41. ^ "Framing the future: a new pensions commission" (PDF).
  42. ^ "Distant neighbours? Understanding and measuring social integration in England".
  43. ^ "Anvar Sarygulov: Here's how the Government can improve Universal Credit". Conservative Home. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  44. ^ Shorthouse, Ryan. "Helping Hand? Improving Universal Credit" (PDF).
  45. ^ "Government should pay compensation for UC errors, says think think". Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  46. ^ Shorthouse, Ryan. "Pressure in the Pipeline: Decarbonising the UK's gas" (PDF).
  47. ^ "Spring Statement 2019: Philip Hammond's speech". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  48. ^ "UK gas must be 'completely' decarbonised by 2050, says think-tank". Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  49. ^ "Emission impossible? Air pollution, national governance and the transport sector" (PDF).
  50. ^ "Emission impossible? Air pollution, national governance, and the transport sector". Energy and environment. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  51. ^ "Emission impossible? We need to increase national accountability for air pollution". 2019-08-23. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  52. ^ "Raise fuel duty and VED for diesels to tackle pollution, says think tank". Fleet World. 2019-08-12. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  53. ^ Blue, Bright (2019-07-18). "Sam Lampier: Distant neighbours?". Bright Blue. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  54. ^ "Clearing the air: Reducing air pollution in the West Midlands" (PDF).
  55. ^ Walker, Jonathan (2018-10-25). "Birmingham clean air zone 'should extend across West Midlands'". birminghammail. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  56. ^ "Conservation Nation" (PDF).
  57. ^ "Conservation Nation: Bright Blue calls for conservation to be made cross-departmental priority". 2018-09-03. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  58. ^ "Saving global nature: greening UK Official Development Assistance" (PDF).
  59. ^ "Hotting up: Strengthening the Climate Change Act ten years on" (PDF).
  60. ^ "Burning Injustices" (PDF).
  61. ^ (2018-11-21). "Penny Mordaunt to unveil Tory pitch to working-class women". Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  62. ^ "Saving for the future: extending the consensus on workplace pensions" (PDF).
  63. ^ "Individual identity: Understanding how conservatives think about human rights and discrimination" (PDF).
  64. ^ "A greener, more pleasant land: a new market-based commissioning scheme for rural payments" (PDF).
  65. ^ "What's behind Theresa May's new love of the environment? This might be the answer". The Independent. 2018-01-20. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  66. ^ "Fighting for freedom? The historic and future relationship between conservatism and human rights" (PDF).
  67. ^ correspondent, Jamie Grierson Home affairs (2018-06-11). "UK should allow more working holiday visas, says Tory thinktank". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  68. ^ "Britain Breaking Barriers" (PDF).
  69. ^ "Green conservatives? Understanding what conservatives think about the environment" (PDF).
  70. ^ "Parliamentary Supporters".
  71. ^ "Advisory council".
  72. ^ "Bright Blue | Who Funds You?". Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  73. ^ "Bright Blue | Who Funds You?". Retrieved 2019-07-07.