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Keynote sessions


Wednesday May 11

Conference Host
Kirsty Wark

Kirsty Wark presents Newsnight, the arts strand Newsnight Review and BBC Four’s Book Quiz. As well as winning a BAFTA for broadcast journalism, she has also been one of Scotland’s leading independent programme makers. She has also reached the finals of Celebrity Masterchef and presents the food programme, A Question of Taste.



Wednesday 09.45


The EU Referendum debate. Should we stay in or get out?

The EU referendum promised by David Cameron will take place before 2017 ends. This will be the first time UK citizens have been consulted on this contentious subject since 1975. We have put together a panel of experts who represent both sides of the debate, but all are convinced their position is in the best interests of British businesses. Let’s see who makes the most convincing case…

  Those in favour of ‘staying in’:

Baroness (Michelle) Mone OBE

Baroness Mone, the creator of the bust-boosting Ultimo bra, left school at 15 with no qualifications.  Starting work making tea at a brewery, she progressed into sales and later went on to become one of Scotland’s most successful and influential entrepreneurs. A passionate supporter of the Union who campaigned for Scotland to remain in the UK, she also believes Britain would be better off staying in a reformed EU.


Vicky Pryce

Vicky Pryce is a leading economist working on UK, global and Eurozone issues. Having worked in senior positions in business and government, she considers both the economic situation, and the policy implications for business.

After studying at the LSE, Vicky became an economist and then chief economist for a division of the Royal Bank of Scotland. She was appointed corporate economist for energy firm Exxon in Europe before becoming chief economist at KPMG. After almost 30 years in industry, Vicky then moved to the Department for Trade and Industry (and later its successor the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) as Chief Economic Adviser and Economic Director General. She also served as Deputy Head, and later Head of the Government's Economic Service.

  Those in favour of ‘getting out’:

Roger Bootle

Roger Bootle is Managing Director of Capital Economics and one of the City’s best-known and most widely-read economists. After lecturing at Oxford, Roger became one of the few of his profession to get experience as a dealer, at Citibank. He then switched to the role of Group Chief Economist at HSBC and served as a senior advisor to the House of Commons Treasury Committee.  Under the previous Conservative administration Roger was appointed to the Chancellor’s panel of independent economic forecasters, famously known as the ‘Seven Wise Men’.


Matthew Elliott

Matthew is one of the foremost political campaigners working in Westminster, having led the hugely successful ‘No’ campaign against the Alternative Vote in the 2011 referendum, and founded groups as diverse as the Taxpayers Alliance, Big Brother Watch and most recently, Business for Britain. Described variously as a ‘campaigning genius’ by Evening Standard journalist Matthew D’Ancona, ‘a redoubtable campaigner and propagandist’ by former Labour MP Dennis MacShane, Matthew is now the Chief Executive of Vote Leave, the most influential of the ‘out’ campaigning groups, which launched in October 2015.


Wednesday 14.20  

Speaker to be announced



Thursday May 12

Thursday 09.30  

When the future begins
Magnus Lindkvist

We have for nearly a decade now been preoccupied with the concept of hidden risk and the power of the unexpected in making decisions. It has left a world forgetting what the future is all about – sure, we can shuffle things back and forth in a game of globalisation or, better yet, close ourselves off from the interconnectedness of it all and retreat to an island somewhere.

But the future is a different kind of concept – one founded on the concept of dreams, visions and creating something different. This is the basis for Futurologist Magnus Lindkvist’s talk at this years BIBA conference – an irreverent, inspirational and provocative intervention for anyone whose job entails striking a balance between risk management and future planning.


Thursday 12.10  

Facing new threats to Western civilisation

Following the deaths of British citizens on a beach in Tunisia and last year’s attacks in Paris, ISIL (Daesh) have confirmed their willingness and means to attack Western targets.  The UK has been under attack before from Irish terrorists, but the severe threat from conflicts in the Middle East spreading into major European cities is all too apparent, especially as the refugee crisis has exacerbated the movement of possible terrorists into Europe. What can the UK do to defend itself from attacks on our soil? What can we do to stop the radicalisation of British youths? What can we do to protect against cyber threats?  Will the latest conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran cause long term problems in the Middle east?

Our panel have much to discuss. Sharing their experiences and expertise are:


The Rt Hon Jack Straw

Jack Straw was Foreign Secretary 2001 - 06, Home Secretary 1997 - 2001, and Leader of the House of Commons (2006 - 07) under Prime Minister Tony Blair, as well as Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary 2007-10 under Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He has been described by the Guardian as a ‘Big Beast’ of British politics.


Lord (Jonathan) Evans KCB DL

Jonathan Evans served as Head of MI5, the Security service for six eventful years. During his time in charge he dealt with the rising threat of digital terrorism and the risk it posed to national security, infrastructure and the economy.

Having seen the rise of cybercrime and cyberterrorism, he was key in forcing the development of measures to counter direct threats and also to analyse digital communication between individuals and groups with malign intent.

Jeremy Bowen

Jeremy Bowen is the BBC’s long-serving and widely-respected Middle East Editor. As a seasoned war and foreign correspondent, Jeremy has reported from more than 70 countries, covering conflicts in the Gulf, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Rwanda for almost 30 years.


Dr Simon Moores

Simon Moores is the MD of Zentelligence (Research) and a Vice Chairman of the Conservative Technology Forum. He is also Programme Director and Chair of the International eCrime Congress and a leading technology futurist.