The Orange Book: 20 Years Later


  • 11/06/2024
    18:00 - 21:00
Published in 2004, The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism is a collection of essays authored by eleven leading Liberal Democrats highlighting the need to reengage with the economically liberal roots of their party. Its premise is that individuals do best when they are free to make their own economic decisions.

Edited by David Laws and Paul Marshall, with contributions from future Liberal Democrat leaders Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and Ed Davey, the Orange Book promised reforms that would “reclaim liberalism”. Many of the authors also went on to serve as minsters in the Coalition government.

Yet many of its ideas remain unrealised. Laws’ proposed replacing the NHS with an insurance scheme, Marshall insisted that the state pension was unsustainable, and Cable’s suggested that “the state… should not take more than, say, 40% of GDP in tax”.

Twenty years later, are the ideas outlined in the Orange Book still relevant? How are the Liberal Democrats balancing social democratic and classical liberal ideas? Could the Orange Bookers’ re-emerge and steer the ship? In an era of political realignment, where if anywhere, will economic liberals find their home?

Join us for a riveting discussion on the Orange Book and beyond at the Institute of Economic Affairs by clicking here.


Tom Clougherty is Executive Director and Ralph Harris Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Sir Vince Cable was the Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2017 to 2019. He was elected the Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham, and was appointed Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in May 2010.

Baroness Kramer is a Liberal Democrat Peer. She was elected Member of Parliament for Richmond Park in 2005, and was appointed Minister of State for Transport in October 2013.

Lord Newby is the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords. He was Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Treasury Parliamentary Party Committee from 2010 until May 2012. He then became a Minister as Deputy Government Chief Whip and Liberal Democrat Chief Whip in the House of Lords.

Mark Oaten was Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Winchester for 13 years. He was Chairman of the Liberal Democrats, and Home Affairs spokesperson.

IEA Panel Discussion: The Orange Book: 20 Years Later

Date: Tuesday 11th June 2024

Time: 18:00-21:00

Chair: Tom Clougherty, IEA Executive Director

Location: 2 Lord North Street, Westminster, London, SW1P 3LB

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