Introducing the Institute for Free Trade: A New Pro-Brexit Thinktank tied to the UK’s Climate Science Denier Network

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Daniel Hannan

A new thinktank pushing “the moral case for open commerce” that has close ties to a network of climate science deniers instrumental in pushing for Brexit is due to be launched by foreign secretary Boris Johnson inside the Foreign Office today.

The Institute for Free Trade (IFT) “sees Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union as a unique opportunity to revitalise the world trading system”, according to its website.

The IFT is based at 57 Tufton Street, sharing an office with the anti-renewables thinktank the Centre for Policy Studies, and next door to many of the organisations DeSmog UK previously revealed to be at the heart of a UK climate science denial network in 55 Tufton Street.

The IFT's president is Tory MEP Daniel Hannan who last year spoke at an event hosted by US thinktank the Heritage Foundation, which is known for opposing climate action and environmental regulations and was at the heart of Donald Trump's transition team in the weeks before he became president.

At the event, Hannan said “spoiled millennials” and “global regulation” imposed by NGOs stand in the way of agreeing a bilateral US-UK trade deal. DeSmog UK has previously mapped the strong links between the UK’s pro-Brexit figures and US climate science deniers.

The Heritage Foundation has links to trade secretary Liam Fox, who is also due to speak at the IFT’s launch tonight. The Heritage Foundation also hosted an event at the Conservative Party Conference last year with another Tufton St resident, the Taxpayers Alliance.

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott is on the IFT’s ‘international advisory panel’. Abbott was famous for his pro-coal mining policies during his time in government, and is due to deliver the annual lecture of the UK’s most climate science denial thinktank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Alan Halsall, the deptuy chairman of another 55 Tufton Street resident Business for Britain, is also on the IFT’s ‘executive board’.

Updated 27/09/2017: A reference to the IFT's other director was removed.

Main image credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

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