Centre for Brexit Policy


Centre for Brexit Policy

Background

The Centre for Brexit Policy (CBP) is a pro-Brexit, free-market thinktank established in March 2020. The group seeks to “trigger a deep and wide debate about what Brexit should mean for the UK” and to “formulate an overarching framework for the UK that maximises the opportunities Brexit affords”, according to its website. [1]

The CBP says a “constant theme” of its work will be to promote global free trade. Longer-term, the CBP will also address policy areas including “deregulation, tax reform, national productivity, rebalancing government spending, and energy policy.” [2]

It supports a “hard” Brexit, calling for “full control over our laws, borders, seas, trade, and courts, regardless of the route taken to achieve these”. It also “expects to support ministers as they pursue a Canada-style free trade deal with Brussels.” [2]

In a launch paper (PDF), it noted its “deep understanding and close connections” with Government, Parliament and the media. [2]

The organisation brings together numerous politicians and commentators involved in other pro-Brexit groups such as Leave Means Leave and Economists for Free Trade. Prominent figures in the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the UK’s principal climate science denial group, also hold positions within the CBP, including GWPF Energy Editor, John Constable. [3]

The CBP is chaired by former Environment Secretary and Conservative MP Owen Paterson, and its directors include Labour MP Graham Stringer and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Sammy Wilson, all of whom have cast doubt on the reality or seriousness of climate change. [4]

In its launch document, the group says it takes inspiration from the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), an influential thinktank behind the economic reforms of the 1980s, co-founded by Margaret Thatcher prior to becoming Prime Minister. [2][5] 

CBP Fellow Ruth Lea is also a former Director of the CPS. [6]

The CBP was registered as a company the same week as pro-Brexit business lobby group the Foundation For Independence, chaired by John Longworth. [7]

Stance on Climate Change

The CBP has not yet issued any statements on climate change. However, it has close links to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), with several of its members holding positions within the organisation.

CBP members have also cast doubt on climate science themselves. For instance, CBP Director GWPF Trustee Graham Stringer has previously dismissed climate science as “shoddy” and said it should be regarded with scepticism. DUP MP Sammy Wilson, also a CBP Director, has described human caused climate change as a “gigantic con” [8], [9]

Funding

The CBP asks for donations from supporters on its website but it is unclear whether the group also has larger sources of funding. [10]

Annual Reports

According to Companies House, the CBP has not yet released any financial statements. [11]

Key People

Leadership

CBP chairman Owen Paterson was a founding member of the official Vote Leave campaign and gave the GWPF’s 2014 annual lecture, which was later revealed to be partly written by GWPF Advisor (and Paterson’s brother-in-law) Viscount Matt Ridley. [12], [13], [14]

Paterson also has close ties with US free-market groups that have denied mainstream climate science and lobbied against climate action, including the Heritage Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. [15], [16]

CBP Executive Director John Longworth is a former Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, having been suspended from the role in 2016 after making comments supportive of Brexit, breaching neutrality rules. [17]

He quickly resigned and went on to co-found the Leave Means Leave pro-Brexit pressure group with Richard Tice, who later became chairman of the Brexit Party, which has fielded many climate science denying political candidates. [18], [19][20]

Others listed on the CBP's “Leadership” page are: [4]

  • Graham Stringer MP – Director
  • Sammy Wilson MP – Director
  • Matthew Patten - Director
  • Edgar Miller - Senior Advisor
  • Nick Wood - Chairman of PR firm Media Intelligence Partners
  • Matthew Walsh - CEO of PR firm Media Intelligence Partners

Fellows 

John Constable, listed as an energy expert by the CBP, is Energy Editor of the Global Warming Policy Forum, the campaigning arm of the GWPF, as well as being a GWPF Advisor. [2][22][23] 

Constable is a long-standing critic of UK energy policy, opposing onshore wind farms in particular. He was previously Director of Policy and Research at the Renewable Energy Foundation, a group co-founded by TV presenter Noel Edmonds that has strongly criticised wind power. The REF is now chaired by Michael Kelly, a GWPF trustee. [24], [25][26][27], [28], [29]

Viscount Matt Ridley, listed as a science and environment expert by the CBP, is a GWPF Advisor, Conservative hereditary peer and the brother-in-law of CBP Chair Owen Paterson.[2][23], [30]

Ridley’s family estate includes a coal mine operated by the company Banks Group. Ridley was chairman of Northern Rock when the bank collapsed in 2007 and has frequently downplayed the seriousness of man-made climate change and criticised mainstream climate science. [31], [32], [33]

Ruth Lea, listed as an economics expert by the CBP is a Director and Trustee of GWPF, which she joined in 2019. Lea was Director at the Centre for Policy Studies between 2004-2007 and is involved in numerous other pro-Brexit and free-market organisations. [29], [34], [6], [2]

Patrick Minford is a Professor of Applied Economics at Cardiff Business School and chairs the pro-Brexit Economists for Free Trade group. Minford is also an Advisor to the TaxPayers’ Alliance pressure group which has campaigned against climate policies and was a close advisor to Margaret Thatcher while Prime Minister, supporting the controversial poll tax. [35], [36], [37], [38]

Others listed on the CBP's “Fellows” page are: [39]

  • Angus Dalgleish
  • Barnabas Reynolds
  • Martin Howe QC
  • Michael Burrage
  • Robert Tombs 
  • Roger Bootle 
  • Hans Maessen
  • Sir Iain Duncan Smith

Actions

March 21, 2020

The Centre for Brexit Policy officially launched in March 2020 with a paper outlining the group’s aims and objectives. The document states CBP’s intention to “provide a focus for the development of post-Brexit public policy” and ensure that Britain “fully takes back control” as it leaves the EU. It states that it will maintain a “singular” focus on Brexit, but will address related opportunities “across all policy areas”.

The group says it is aiming for the “adoption of its proposals and policies by government” and that it will be assisted by its “deep understanding and close connections” with Government, Parliament and the media. The launch was reported in The Telegraph, which said the thinktank would “keep up pressure on government” over the UK’s exit from the EU. [2][40]

Related Organisations

CBP is closely tied to the network of pro-Brexit, free-market think tanks and lobby groups based in and around 55 Tufton Street in Westminster.

Contact & Address

The Centre for Brexit Policy’s registered address is: [11]

C/O Ferguson Maidment & Co

Chartered Accountants

167 Fleet Street

London

EC4A 2EA

Social Media

Resources

  1. About us,” The Centre for Brexit Policy. Archived 29 June, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/pBvuw

  2. The Centre for Brexit Policy Launch Paper (PDF), The Centre for Brexit Policy, March 21, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog

  3. Who we are,” Global Warming Policy Forum. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/m93oU

  4. Our Leadership,” The Centre for Brexit Policy. Archived June 30, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/M2e9m

  5. About,” Centre for Policy Studies. Archived June 30, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/tOFkr

  6. Dr Ruth Lea - Bio,” The University of Greenwich. Archived June 30, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/8V97K

  7. Jill Treanor, “John Longworth’s Brexit Lobby PushThe Sunday Times, March 8, 2020. Archived pdf on file at DeSmog

  8. Tom Embury-Dennis, MP appointed to Parliament’s science committee is part of climate change denial think tank,” The Independent. Archived 29 June 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/T7Hl6

  9. Sammy Wilson: I still think man-made climate change is a con,” The Belfast Telegraph. Archived 29 June 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/hG4I6

  10. Donate,” Centre for Brexit Policy. Archived June 29, 2020. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/u5qBo

  11. Centre for Brexit Policy Limited – Company No 12497562,” Companies House. Archived June 30, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/SKjKP

  12. Why Brexit is Great for the UK and USA: Economist for Free Trade Adviser Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP’s Speech to Heritage FoundationEconomists for Free Trade. Archived June 29, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Tx9xb

  13. Owen Paterson’s speech on abandoning the 2050 climate change targets – full text,” The Spectator, October 15, 2014. Google Cache as of December 19, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/uMIeT

  14. Brendan Montague. “Sacked Paterson Turns to Broken Banker Ridley for Climate Speech Briefings,” DeSmog, October 16, 2014.

  15. Brexit at the Crossroads: Why U.S. Support for a Far-Reaching Agreement is Vital,” The Heritage Foundation, September 19, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  16. Former U.K. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson Outlines the Environmental Benefits of Brexit,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, October 13, 2017. Archived December 28, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/Lfwc4

  17. Samuel Osborne, EU Referendum: BCC boss John Longworth ‘suspended over Brexit comments,’ The Independent, March 5, 2016. Archived June 29, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/FxsDz

  18. Asa Bennett, “Nigel Farage embroiled in defection row with Brexit Party stalwart John Longworth,” The Telegraph, November 5, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  19. Albert Evans, “Brexit Party launch: Nigel Farage unveils new party, with 2018 European election candidates including Jacob Rees-Mogg’s sister,” The Independent, April 12, 2019.  Archived July 1, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/QIlyI

  20. Richard Collett-White, “Election 2019: Here Are All the Brexit Party’s Climate Science Deniers,” DeSmog, May 1, 2019

  21. Our Leadership,” The Centre for Brexit Policy. Archived June 30, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/M2e9m

  22. Who we are,” Global Warming Policy Forum. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/m93oU

  23. Academic Advisory Council,” Global Warming Policy Foundation. Archived June 30, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/BleyE

  24. John Constable, “We're not anti-wind farms - but they should be offshore,” The Guardian, January 11, 2007. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/rjjgg

  25. Turbines go-ahead for Suffolk wind farm,” National Wind Watch, July 27, 2007. Archived January 23, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/Od52q

  26. NOWAP stands for NO WIND FARM AT PARHAM,” NOWAP, March 2005. Archived October 20, 2013. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  27. Leo Hickman, “Will the real Renewable Energy Foundation please stand up?” Guardian, May 18, 2011. Archived January 13, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.md/wip/QQ2gT

  28. Paul Brown, “Edmonds joins fight against wind farms,” Guardian, July 15, 2004. Archived January 13, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.md/wip/Ob8xb

  29. Board of Trustees,” Global Warming Policy Foundation. Archived October 30, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.md/mPjWS

  30. Viscount Ridley – MPs and Lords,” UK Parliament. Archived June 30, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/26kyb

  31. Brendan Montague, “Lord Ridley: Make Mine a Large OneDeSmog, January 5, 2015.

  32. Julia Werdigier, “Northern Rock chairman quits after criticism from lawmakers,” International Herald Tribune, October 19, 2007. Archived October 21, 2007. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/8YO9g

  33. My life as a climate change lukewarmer,” The Times, January 19, 2015. Republished at Rationaloptimist.com. Archived September 19, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/ECB8l

  34. The Global Warming Policy Foundation,” Companies House. Archived April 16, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/dOjmC

  35. People,” Cardiff Business School. Archived June 30, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/2vzvb

  36. Our Team,” Economists for Free Trade. Archived June 30, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/irNAK

  37. Advisory Council,” TaxPayer’s Alliance. Archived June 30. 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/fjMkj

  38. Macer Hall, “Former Advisor to Margaret Thatcher played key role in cutting ties with Brussels,” The Express, Aug 5, 2020. Archived June 30,2020.

  39. Fellows,” The Centre for Brexit Policy. Archived June 30, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/BkQgX

  40.  Edward Malnick, “Brexit by the end of the year will protect UK from Eurozone financial crisis, senior Brexiteers say,” The Telegraph, March 21, 2020. Archived June 30, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog

  41. Brendan Montague, “Lawson’s Climate Denial Donor Boasts of Shale Gas InvestmentDeSmog, June 29, 2020.

  42. Edgar Miller”, Economists for Free Trade. Archived June 29, 2020. Archive.fo : URL http://archive.fo/lL4OJ

  43. Advisory Council,” The Institute of Economic Affairs. Archived July 1, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/WANfC

  44. Fellows and Academic Advisors,” The Institute of Economic Affairs. Archived June 29, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/uUfPP

  45. About the campaign,” Vote Leave. Archived June 30, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Uy99F

  46. Search: “Roger Bootle,” The Electoral Commission. Archived June 30, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.   

  47. Case Study: EU Referendum Campaign,” Media Intelligence Partners. Archived June 30, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/9c5Zb