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The ASI at the Conservative Party Conference Fringe

  • IET Austin Court 80 Cambridge Street Birmingham, England, B1 2NP United Kingdom (map)

If you're planning on making the journey to Britain's second city (sorry, Manchester) for this year's Conservative Party Conference, you might like to come along to one, two or five of the Adam Smith Institute's Conference Fringe events. We've got five excellent panel discussions lined up, covering everything from taxes and planning to marijuana and hangover-free alcohol. We're even offering a free lunch. 

All of our events will take place just three minutes outside the Secure Zone in the Boulton-Faraday Room at the IET Austin Court Hotel (where I'm informed Theresa May launched her leadership bid). 

Here's what we've got lined up:

Monday 3rd October

Rebooting Britain: Why Britain needs simpler, flatter taxes
: 1:00pm - 2:00pm

Speakers, including Steve Baker of the Treasury Select Committe and Angela Knight, Director of the Office of Tax Simplification, will discuss the case for radical tax reform that cuts the worst, most anti-growth taxes and simplifies the tax system to encourage innovation and let Britain boom after Brexit. Which is worst – corporation tax, stamp duty, inheritance tax? Come along and have your say.

Steve Baker MP, Treasury Select Committee
Angela Knight, Office of Tax Simplification
Ben Southwood, Adam Smith Institute
Alex Wild, Taxpayers' Alliance (Chair)

Planning Reform: Is green the new brown?
: 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Everyone agrees that we need to build more houses. But what kind, and where? This panel assembles one of Parliament's leading thinkers on housing and planning, John Howell MP, whose book was an inspiration for the National Planning Policy Framework, along with former advisor to George Osborne Nicholas Boys-Smith whose group, Create Streets, campaigns for beautiful neighbourhoods that people actually want to live in – not modernist monstrosities that only an architect could love. Other panelists include LSE's Prof Paul Cheshire, a firebrand critic of the green belt who believes that we need to totally rethink our approach to planning in a free market way to build the houses we need.

John Howell MP, Author of “Open Source Planning”
Nicholas Boys Smith, Create Streets
Prof. Paul Cheshire, London School of Economics
Rory Meakin, Taxpayers' Alliance
Jonn Elledge, CityMetric (Chair)

Legalising Cannabis: Lessons from Abroad
In partnership with VolteFace
Time: 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Cannabis isn't just for the Dutch anymore – a tide of legalisation is rising across the developed world. Following in the footsteps of US states like Colorado and Washington, Canada looks set to become the first major Western nation to fully legalise and regulate cannabis. But can this be done without encouraging problem use, and if we are going to regulate cannabis, how should we do it? A range of speakers from across the Conservative Party, including Crispin Blunt MP and former Cameron speechwriter Ian Birrell, will discuss where we should draw the line. This event is co-hosted with VolteFace Magazine.

Crispin Blunt MP, Foreign Affairs Select Committee
Ian Birrell, Mail on Sunday
Steve Moore, VolteFace
Sam Bowman, Adam Smith Institute
Francesca Washtell, City AM (Chair)

Tuesday 4th October

The Border After Brexit: Securing Britain's borders
Free Lunch Provided
Time: 1:00pm - 2:00pm

We're joined by senior MPs to discuss one of the most pressing issues in post-Brexit politics: how do we control our borders. Following the ASI's widely-covered report, The Border After Brexit, the panel will include Ed West, best known for his book "The Diversity Illusion" and his writing for the Spectator and Evening Standard, and leading Members of Parliament on this issue, Ranil Jayawardena MP and Charlie Elphicke MP, to discuss how to make the border secure and efficient – and how to implement the post-Brexit immigration policies we decide on. We'll be serving a free, hot buffet lunch, so get there early to make sure you get a seat (and a plate).

Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover
James Kirkup, The Daily Telegraph
Ed West, The Spectator
Sam Bowman, Adam Smith Institute
Dr Eamonn Butler, Adam Smith Institute (Chair)

Innovate not Regulate: How the nanny state harms public health
: 3:00pm - 4:00pm

The nanny state beats drinkers and smokers over the head for their own good – or so it claims. Following on from a new ASI report, we discuss the technological alternatives to regulation, with a pioneer of "hangover-free alcohol" Prof David Nutt and scourge of nanny statists Christopher Snowdon. E-cigs are just the start – we won't be happy until there's a safe, cheap and enjoyable alternative to every 'vice' under the sun. If you're sick of being told what to put in your body by the state, this is the panel for you.

Lord Callanan, Former Leader of the Conservative Party in the European Parliament
Christopher Snowdon, Institute of Economic Affairs
Prof. David Nutt, Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs
Dr Madsen Pirie, Adam Smith Institute (Chair)

All events are open to the public (you don't need a Conference Pass to come along), so if you're in Birmingham and fancy coming along but aren't at the Conference, please be our guest. There's no need to RSVP, just come along on the day.