Beyond the Conference Hall: the essential guide to the Tory fringe
The Conservative Party conference kicks off at the ICC in Birmingham this Sunday.
There will be speeches from the Prime Minister and cabinet members, but away from the conference itself an extensive programme of fringe meetings is planned.
This is where policies are thrashed out and members of the Government are lobbied. Essentially, it’s politics in the raw and unmissable.
Here is Chamberlain Files’ guide to the best of the Tory fringe:
Sunday October 2
City Reception – Library of Birmingham 18.30-20.00
Birmingham will kick off the conference with drinks and nibbles, courtesy of Marketing Birmingham, Centre for Cities and HSBC. This is an opportunity for city council leader John Clancy to welcome the Government to Birmingham. Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid is also expected to speak.
Conservatives West Midlands Reception – Media Suite ICC 17.45-19.00
Bit of a clash here with the City Reception, but there is plenty of time with careful planning for dedicated conference-goers to sample the canapes and drinks at both events.
Monday October 3
University of Warwick with Warwickshire County Council – Bank Restaurant, Brindleyplace 12.30-14.00
Powering Productivity, how to invest the devolution dividend, is the title given to this event which will feature contributions from Vice Chancellor Professor Stuart Croft, Warwickshire leader Izzi Seccombe and WMCA Chair Bob Sleigh. Marc Reeves, formerly of this parish, is in the chair.
Bright Blue with PricewaterhouseCoopers – ICC executive room 1 12.45-14.00
A debate about Brexit entitled: Great or gloomy? Britain’s economy in the next five years. Speakers include former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, always a prize draw at the Tory fringe.
Policy Exchange and E.on – Novotel Hotel 12.30-13.30
Powering the Midlands Engine
Business Minister Margot James will be on hand to explain what the Midlands Engine is and what it hopes to achieve.
Smith Institute and the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum – ICC executive room 7 13.00-14.00
Doesn’t sound like the most exciting prospect, but the future of local authority pension funds and how they might be used to fund regeneration is a huge issue for the Government, and for Birmingham. The star speaker here is Greg Clark, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary.
Policy Exchange – ICC at the Policy Exchange Marquee 14.00-15.00
A Modern Day Industrial Strategy: what is the role of the Midlands Engine?
Shedding more light on the Midlands Engine will be the initiative’s chair, Sir John Peace, as well as West Midlands Tory mayor candidate Andy Street and WMCA chair Bob Sleigh.
KPMG and Public Policy Projects – Barclaycard Arena 15.00-16.30
Birmingham city council leader John Clancy talks about ‘Chamberlain and today’s politics’.
Centre for Cities and the Local Government Association – Library of Birmingham 15.00-16.00
Alexandra Jones, Centre for Cities chief executive, leads a discussion on whether metro mayors can change the country. Discuss.
Trowers and Hamlins, 10 Colmore Row – 16.45
HS2: Transport infrastructure breeds prosperity.
Speakers include Paul Faulkner, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce CEO, Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport CEO, Beverley Nielsen, Liberal Democrat West Midlands mayor candidate, and Marc Reeves, editor-in-chief Trinity Mirror Midlands. Chaired by Kevin Johnson, managing director Urban Communications and editor some blog thing known as Chamberlain Files.
Open Europe – Hyatt Hotel 21.30-23.00
Beers of Europe.
Speaks for itself.
Tuesday October 4
Scotch Whisky Association and Open Europe – Hyatt Hotel 08.00-09.30
Early doors for Tory conference stalwarts to discuss ‘Going Global: what should a new trade policy look like after Brexit?’ Best take plenty of water with it.
Transport Times and Greener Journeys – Jury’s Inn 08.00-09.00
Laura Shoaf, managing director Transport for West Midlands, and others, discuss whether greater investment in buses could solve city congestion problems.
Midlands’ Chambers of Commerce – Birmingham Repertory Theatre 12.30-14.00
Business leaders from seven chambers of commerce gather to discuss transforming skills in the Midlands.
Urban Transport Group – ICC media suite B 12.45-14.00
West Midlands Combined Authority chair Bob Sleigh and Transport Minister Andrew Jones discuss the topic: Future Transport – Future Cities.
Conservative Voice– Hyatt Hotel 15.45-17.15
Shaping a new future for Britain post-Brexit.
Keynote speech by David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.
Wednesday October 5
West Midlands Combined Authority – ICC Hall 11b 08.00-09.30
HS2 at the Heart of West Midlands Connectivity
Speakers include Cllr Bob Sleigh, chair, West Midlands Combined Authority, Nick Crossfield, UK managing director, Alstom, Martin Reeves, chief executive, West Midlands Combined Authority; Laura Shoaf, managing director, Transport for West Midlands, Liz Peace, Chair, Birmingham Curzon Regeneration Company.
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