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Friend of Tortoise Exclusive

Climate Summit 2022

Climate Summit 2022

This event is exclusive to Friends of Tortoise

in partnership with the ANZ Coalition

Thursday 7 July • 08:30 – 13:30 BST

Is British Democracy working for you? Join us and have your say at the Democracy in Britain Summit.

How it works

We’ll be running six sessions over the course of the summit. Your ticket gives you access to the whole day, but just like an in-person conference you can dip in and out. Click the button below to register. 

British democracy is in trouble. The last five years have seen parliament prorogued,

And in-depth investigation into the state of British democracy.

about us

Tortoise is building a different kind of newsroom. We’re opening up journalism and giving everyone a seat at the table. The ThinkIn is the heart of what we do. It’s a forum for civilised disagreement where our members take part in live, unscripted conversations that shape the way we report the world.


Thursday 7 July • 08:30-13:30 BST

Session 1 of 6

09:00-09:30 BST

The Tortoise Democracy Poll: is British democracy in trouble?

A deep-dive into the findings of the Tortoise Democracy Poll, with Tortoise editors.

Giles Whittell, Editor, Tortoise
Session 2 of 6

09:35-10:25 BST

Why are we disillusioned with our political class?

A poll commissioned by Tortoise this year found that 66 per cent of Brits think that most MPs are mainly “out for themselves”. Is there a problem with job performance, or is it an issue of communication? Should we appoint specialists to ministerial posts, and keep our legislators in the legislature where they belong?

Giles Whittell, Editor, Tortoise
Session 3 of 6

10:30-11:20 BST

Is education wrecking democracy?

In 2019 the Tories gained 59 per cent of votes from people with no qualifications. Labour did better among graduates than any other party. The new divide in politics is increasingly decided by whether or not you went to university, with each group having entirely different worldviews and becoming increasingly sure of what they think. When our universities breed a certain kind of voter unlikely to change their mind, and our private schools are responsible for the majority of our elected representatives, is it time to rethink the role education plays in our democracy?

Giles Whittell, Editor, Tortoise

Session 4 of 6

11:50-12:40 BST

Does British democracy work for you? London edition

London’s been the target of plenty of populist messaging in recent years, but it’s also the English region with the highest child poverty rate, and is home to two of the country’s most deprived local authorities. Like Scotland and Northern Ireland, the city voted overwhelmingly to remain, and has been pulled out of the EU against its will. With London-bashing perhaps more popular than ever before, is it time to ask the capital how it feels for once?

Giles Whittell, Editor, Tortoise

Session 5 of 6


Is British society unfair?

In a recent poll for Tortoise, 57 per cent of respondents thought that one of the worst features of British democracy was that the rich and powerful have more political influence than ordinary voters. Respondents also asserted that certain groups of people – people who live in the south or in cities, or those without mental or physical disability, for instance – have greater advantages in Britain these days. Is British society unfair, and, if so, will a levelling up agenda rolled out by the government in Westminster be enough to fix it?

Giles Whittell, Editor, Tortoise

Session 6 of 6

13:30-13:50 BST

Editorial wrap-up

Join our editors as we reflect on the day’s discussions.

Giles Whittell, Editor, Tortoise


Giles Whittell

Sensemaker editor, Tortoise

Jeevan Vasagar

Editor, Our Planet, Tortoise

Ellen Halliday

Sensemaker editor, Tortoise


Minette Batters

President, National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales

Emma Howard Boyd

Chair, Environmental Agency

Dr. Saleemul Huq

Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development

Eugene Linden

investigative writer and author of ‘Fire and Flood’ A people’s history of climate change.

James Van Nostrand

Professor and director, Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, WVU College of Law

Evan Hansen

Democratic member of the West Virginia House of Delegates

Cait Hewitt

Policy Director, Aviation Environment Federation

Anna Hughes

Director, Flight Free UK

Sebastian Mikosz

Senior Vice-President for Environment Sustainability at the International Air Transport Association (IATA)