Past briefings

15 January

Rt Hon Hilary Benn
“Planning for the future - seeking consensus and a positive relationship in Europe”

24 January

Sir Kim Darroch KCMG, UK Ambassador to the USA
“USA Update”

31 January

Dr Tristram Hunt, Director Victoria and Albert Museum
“The contribution of cultural organisations - encouraging international understanding and cooperation”

7 February

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General British Chambers of Commerce
“Business, Brexit and UK Growth”

14 February

Lord Rees of Ludlow OM FRS FREng FMedSci FRAS, Astronomer Royal
“The role of science, research and technology in making the transition to low carbon energy”

20 February

Chuka Umunna MP
“Making political and economic sense of the UK's relationship with the European Union”

26 February

Jesse Norman MP
“Transport and energy challenges and opportunities”

7 March

Lord Currie of Marylebone, Chairman, Competition and Markets Authority, and Chairman, Advertising Standards Authority
“Maintaining Trust in Markets”

14 March

Gareth Davies, Director General, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
“Industrial Strategy Update”

19 March

HE Mr Nigel Casey CMG MVO, British High Commissioner to South Africa
“South Africa Update”

21 March

Stephen Henwood CBE, Chairman, Aerospace Technology Institute
“Raising Ambition in the UK Aerospace Sector”

1 May

Baroness Wolf of Dulwich CBE, Sir Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management, King’s College London
“When does vocational education ‘work’? And why?”

16 May

Crawford Falconer, Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser and Second Permanent Secretary, Department for International Trade
“How trade agreements are negotiated”

21 May

Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone CB CBE, Commander, Allied Maritime Command
“NATO's response to changing threats and security challenges”

23 May

HE Sir Sebastian Wood CMG, British Ambassador to Germany
“Germany update”

30 May

Sir Simon McDonald KCMG KCVO, Permanent Under Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs
“UK Diplomacy to match political, trade and cultural opportunities”

14 June

Rt Hon Sir Nick Clegg, former Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and MEP
“What happened to the politics of the centre?”

19 June

Richard Burn, HM Trade Commissioner for China
“China Trade Update”

20 June

Professor Juergen Maier, Chief Executive, Siemens UK and Lead on the Government commissioned Made Smarter Review of industrial digitalisation
“Improving UK competitiveness—the future of industry”

11 July

Rt Hon Lord Forsyth, Chairman House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee
“Discussion on Post School Education”

18 July

HE The Hon Sir Dominic Asquith, British High Commissioner to India
“India update”

5 September

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman of the City of London Corporation
“Brexit and the City: challenges, threats and opportunities”

12 September

Antonia Romeo, Permanent Secretary, Department for International Trade
“Objectives for International Trade and Investment: forward look”

26 September

Jeremy Bentham, Vice President Global Business Environment, Shell International
“Rising to the challenge of more energy while decreasing our carbon footprint”

1 October

HE Sir Dominick Chilcott KCMG, British Ambassador to Turkey
“Turkey update”

17 October

Filip van Elsen, Partner and Head of Global TMT Group, Allen and Overy
“The ethical dimension of data processing in the context of AI and robotics”

24 October

Rt Hon Sir Ed Davey MP, former Secretary of State for Climate Change
“The roles of government, regulators and the private sector in addressing the challenges of climate change”

7 November

Professor John Miles RAEng, Research Professor in Transitional Energy Strategies, Department of Engineering University of Cambridge
“How to meet the challenge of the transition to affordable and environmentally friendly energy”

8 November

Professor Peter Trubowitz, Director of United States Centre, London School of Economics
“Discussion on the results of the US mid-term elections”

I attend the Briefing Circle because it is an opportunity to meet like-minded senior individuals with very different perspectives. I usually meet someone new and always learn something from our conversation.
Paul Jackson, Chief Executive Engineering UK
The Briefing Circle is an exceptional opportunity to meet and hear from both the interesting and the interested. The dialogues I have been involved in have been high-level and informative.
Simon Walker, Director General Institute of Directors
Many many thanks for inviting me along to the lunch yesterday, it was simply excellent. As always you managed to gather together an impressive group and the discussion was fascinating.
James Sproule, Chief Economist and Director of Policy, Institute of Directors
I find the Briefing Circle lunches immensely useful, primarily because Hugh manages to bring together such an interesting mix of people with different perspectives. This makes for rich, informative and always stimulating discussions. It is a great idea to bring different sectors together in this way.
Nicola Dandridge CBE, Chief Executive Universities UK
In my second career I find myself invited to any number of briefings, discussions and general stuff. About the only one that I regularly turn up to is the Briefing Circle run by Hugh Merrill. I find the discussion wide ranging, the attendees have acute insight, and I always come away both stimulated and better informed.
Nick Baveystock, Director General and Secretary Institution of Civil Engineers