David has worked at the forefront of politics, policy development and public service reform for over a decade. He has also worked extensively in the private sector and with senior politicians and decision makers, with a focus on public sector reform. He has written regularly for a number of publications, including The Guardian, New Statesman, Prospect, Platform 10, Left Foot Forward and Conservative Home, as well as appearing on BBC Radio and TV and Sky News.
David’s major policy interests include economic regeneration, spreading opportunity through education and re-engaging working class communities. He also commentates regularly on general political issues.
David was born and brought up in Consett, County Durham. He was the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for North Durham at the last election, gaining a swing of almost 9%. He supports Sunderland AFC.
- What's In A Name? Is there a case for equal marriage?
16 July 2012
What’s In A Name? Is there a case for equal marriage? looks at the social, historic and legal arguments for and against gay marriage. It argues that marriage could be a particularly powerful institution for many young gay people – encouraging fidelity and commitment, providing role models and a strong support structure.
- Policing 2020: What kind of police service do we want in 2020?
12 December 2012
Policing 2020 looks at the landscape of policing over the next ten years, calling for a return to Sir Robert Peel’s core principles of crime prevention by restoring the link between the public and the police. The report recommends replacing neighbourhood police officers with new Crime Prevention Officers and the establishment of Citizen Police Academies.
- All Together Now: Competitive integration in the NHS
01 November 2012
Perverse incentives in NHS funding structures have greatly increased the number of unnecessary admissions to hospitals over the last ten years by failing to encourage GPs and consultants to work together in the best interests of the patient. The NHS pay and performance system needs to move away from considering each of their professional groups as an isolated case and encourage them to work together.
- Time for a new industrial policy? with Lord Adonis
03 July 2013
Many observers are calling for a new style industrial policy. But what do they mean with these calls? Isn’t there a risk that a new style industrial policy could fall into the same “picking winners” traps as old style industrial policy? What lessons can be learned from abroad? What are the bear traps that should be avoided? What would a new industrial policy look like? What agendas would it consider?
- Creating conditions for regional growth with Lord Heseltine
13 February 2013
The government was elected with a commitment to ‘rebalancing’ the economy and helping to reduce the North-South divide. This event will consider how government can help ensure strong and sustainable growth outside of London.
- The Decline of Working Class MPs
26 March 2012
Politics today is notable for its absence of leaders and leading figures from working-class backgrounds.This event will discuss the reasons for this and the possible ways of making politics more representative including the idea of transferring the US-style primaries to the UK.
- (Conservative Party Conference) What can the Conservatives do for the North?
03 October 2011
With Graham Brady MP, Cllr Richard Leese (Manchester Council), David Skelton and Anthony Wells (YouGov).
- Politics is shrinking at a time when grand vision is required
25 July 2013
A leader in The New Statesman cites former Policy Exchange Deputy Director David Skelton's formation of a new campaign group and quotes previous findings by Policy Exchange report Northern Lights highlighting the regional imbalances in Conservative and Labour support.
- Here’s how the Conservatives can win back the working class
15 July 2013
A number of Policy Exchange’s recent policy proposals were heavily referenced in the Daily Telegraph to mark the launch of former Policy Exchange deputy director David Skelton’s new campaign group, Renewal, which aims to broaden the appeal of the Conservative Party. Skelton suggests the Tories could win future majorities by focusing on ‘cost of living’ policies such as abolishing the renewable energy target to reduce household gas and electricity bills and building new homes by engaging directly with local people.
- Conservative party: looking for friends in the north
15 July 2013
A Guardian leader column praises the launch by former Policy Exchange deputy director David Skelton of campaign group Renewal and credits “the influential Policy Exchange” as playing a key role from a policy formulation perspective.
- Tories: Party for workers
15 July 2013
A number of Policy Exchange’s recent policy proposals were heavily referenced in The Sun to mark the launch of former deputy director David Skelton’s new campaign group, Renewal, which aims to broaden the appeal of the Conservative Party. Writing in The Sun, Skelton suggests the Tories could win future majorities by focusing on ‘cost of living’ policies such as abolishing the renewable energy target to reduce household gas and electricity bills and building new homes by engaging directly with local people.
- PR Week report David Skelton's departure
12 April 2013
PRWeek covers the departure of David Skelton, Policy Exchange's Deputy Director, to set up a campaign group aimed at broadening the appeal of the Conservative Party to working class voters and ethnic minority voters, predominantly in the North and in urban areas.
- The Tories try to win friends in the north
04 April 2013
The Spectator covers the departure of David Skelton, Policy Exchange's Deputy Director, from Policy Exchange to set up a campaign group to broaden the appeal of the Conservative Party. The article notes David's recent work on why the Tories need to do more to appeal to voters in the North and in urban areas.
- Tory-shaped hole in Lancashire
04 April 2013
The Independent's Andy McSmith references the departure of David Skelton, Policy Exchange's former Deputy Director, from Policy Exchange to set up a campaign group to increase the appeal of the Conservative Party in the North and in urban areas before the next election.
- David Skelton on BBC Radio 2
15 March 2013
David Skelton, Policy Exchange's Deputy Director, appeared on BBC Radio 2 discussing findings from recent Policy Exchange housing report A Right to Build. David said that currently not enough new homes are being built in the UK, arguing that a solution to the shortage could be expanding self-build schemes to get local people designing and building their own houses.
- Baby P council tot left on bus
07 March 2013
David Skelton, Policy Exchange's Deputy Director, is quoted in a cover story in The Sun outlining further failures with Haringey Council after a child in foster care was left on a bus. David argues that the foster care system is in urgent need of reform, noting that too many of the most vulnerable young people are being let down.
- David Skelton on The Sunday Politics
03 March 2013
David Skelton, Policy Exchange's Deputy Director, appeared on The Sunday Politics reacting to a recent report by Transport for London on ways to improve public transport on the Thames, which heavily follows recommendations set out in Policy Exchange's 2010 report At a Rate of Knots. David stressed the importance of introducing an air-traffic control style management of the river to prevent delays to journeys.
- Think-tank: ease planning rules to help northern cities grow
14 February 2013
Planning magazine covers Policy Exchange's recent event 'Creating conditions for regional growth' with Lord Heseltine. Deputy Director David Skelton is quoted making the case for loosening green belts around northern cities in order to help them expand - our report Cities for Growth found that restrictive planning rules have made office space in Manchester more expensive than in Manhattan.
- How can we save the high street?
15 January 2013
David Skelton, Deputy Director of Policy Exchange, is quoted in The Guardian in a piece looking at ways to save the British high street. David makes the case from More Homes: Fewer Empty Buildings that allowing vacant retail and commercial space to become housing could help revitalise high streets.
- Are the Conservatives getting through to 'blue collar' voters?
31 December 2012
Policy Exchange's Deputy Director, David Skelton, is quoted by BBC News arguing that the Conservative Party needs to do more to appeal to blue-collar voters in the North and the Midlands. David said the Conservatives need to shake off their reputation as the party of the rich and address key issues including reducing the cost of living and tackling unemployment.
- David Skelton on BBC Radio 4's PM programme
31 December 2012
David Skelton, Deputy Director at Policy Exchange, appeared on BBC Radio 4's PM programme speaking about why the Conservative Party needs to do more to appeal to Northern voters. David said the Tories must focus on blue-collar issues such as reducing the cost of living, job creation, and tackling unemployment.
- Will 2012 be remembered by the public as a good year for the coalition government?
21 December 2012
Policy Exchange Deputy Director takes part in a debate in City A.M. David Skelton on whether 2012 has been a good year for the Coalition. David notes the enormous success of the Olympics Games, and says he hopes the Coalition will continue its drive to secure economic recovery in 2013.
- David Skelton on the Sunday Politics
16 December 2012
David Skelton, Policy Exchange's Acting Director appeared on the Sunday Politics to discuss the census. David argued that the three main issues that need to be addressed are: the shortage of affordable housing, too few primary school places, and the growing gap between London and the rest of the UK.
- Heathrow gets a boost at business travel conference
30 October 2012
Public Sector Travel cites Policy Exchange's Deputy Director, David Skelton, speaking at a recent conference on ways to increase UK aviation capacity. David sets out findings from Policy Exchange's report Bigger and Quieter, which suggests building four new runways at Heathrow to increase capacity.
- David Skelton on the Daily Politics
05 October 2012
Policy Exchange Deputy Director David Skelton appears on the Daily Politics setting out what he thinks the Conservatives can do to regain support in the North. David argues that Conservatives will not get a hearing without apologising for the social problems created by previous policies and need to advocate a "compelling blue-collar narrative".
- Rate of divorce ‘falls after gay marriage is introduced’
16 July 2012
The Times covers Policy Exchange's new report What's In A Name? which examines the social, historic and legal arguments for and against gay marriage. Report author David Skelton is quoted arguing that gay people are seeking inclusion into a respected institution, not to change the nature of it.
- The blue sheep of the family
10 May 2012
David Skelton, Policy Exchange's Deputy Director, is interviewed by the Northern Echo. He calls for implementation of recommendations on planning policy from report Cities for Growth in Consett, his home town, a system of local pay bargaining and makes the argument from Northern Lights that the Conservatives need to appeal to aspirational working-class voters in the North if they wish to win another election.
- David Skelton on BBC Radio Leeds
07 May 2012
Deputy Director David Skelton appears on BBC Radio Leeds to discuss the recent local elections. Commenting on the low turnout, David points to findings from Policy Exchange report Northern Lights that 81% of people do not believe that politicians understand their concerns.
- Time to play the elected mayor blame game
04 May 2012
politics.co.uk quote Policy Exchange Deputy Director David Skelton explaining why the campaign in favour of directly elected city mayors failed so badly. They also cite figures from report Northern Lights highlighting the anti-political mood the public is currently in.
- David Skelton on BBC Radio Manchester
30 April 2012
Policy Exchange Deputy Director David Skelton appears on BBC Radio Manchester to discuss the findings of report Northern Lights which examined the political and policy views of British voters. One of the revelations he makes is that Britain has become much more liberal towards the idea of gay marriage, with the North-East and North-West regions being the most in favour.
- David Skelton on ITV Tyne Tees
20 April 2012
Policy Exchange Deputy Director David Skelton discusses the disconnect between voters and politicians on ITV Tyne Tees.
- But what about the workers, Mr Cameron?
04 April 2012
The Times refers to work done by Policy Exchange's Deputy Director David Skelton highlighting the decline of working class representation in the House of Commons.
- David Skelton on BBC Radio 4
01 April 2012
Policy Exchange Deputy Director David Skelton takes part in a debate on Radio 4's Broadcasting House on the public perception that politicians are out of touch with ordinary working people.
- David Skelton on Week in Westminster
31 March 2012
David Skelton, Policy Exchange's Deputy Director, is interviewed on Week in Westminster alongside Fiona O'Donnell MP commenting on the declining numbers of MPs from working class backgrounds.
- Occupy London: What did the St Paul's protest achieve?
28 February 2012
BBC News quotes Policy Exchange's Deputy Director David Skelton in a piece on the clearance of the Occupy London encampment at St Paul's Cathedral, saying that the protest "fed from a sense of disquiet from the bulk of the population".
- David Skelton on BBC London
21 February 2012
Policy Exchange's Director of Research David Skelton appears on BBC London arguing that reforms to the NHS are vital.
- Is the NHS reform bill a cure for Britain's healthcare ills?
21 February 2012
Policy Exchange Deputy Director David Skelton takes part in a debate in City AM on the NHS reform, arguing that putting decision-making power in the hands of local practitioners is merely a continuation of past policies and criticises opponents for attacking the reforms on dogmatic, rather than practical, grounds.
- Why I'm moving on - to help meet the Conservatives' northern challenge
04 April 2013
David Skelton, Policy Exchange's outgoing Deputy Director, sets out his plan to set up a new group to broaden the appeal of the Conservative Party. David highlights his plans to reach out to voters in the North and in urban areas, noting the influence of Policy Exchange’s key report Northern Lights on the challenges facing all political parties.
- The working class vote is up for grabs - will it be Labour or the Tories that seizes it?
06 February 2013
David Skelton, Policy Exchange's Deputy Director, writes highlighting the growing political imperative to appeal to working class voters and sets out how Labour and the Conservatives could exploit it.
- What’s wrong with the Tory party?
17 January 2013
David Skelton, Deputy Director at Policy Exchange, sets out what the Conservative Party needs to do to stand a chance of winning a majority at the next election. David cites findings from Policy Exchange report Northern Lights exploring the North-South political divide, arguing that the Tories need to appeal to voters in the North, Midlands and urban areas, as well as to ethnic minorities and ordinary working people.
- Don’t set different parts of the UK against each other
04 December 2012
David Skelton, Policy Exchange's Deputy Director, argues in response to a recent article by Kelvin MacKenzie that narrowing the North/South divide is a priority for long-term prosperity across the whole of the UK. David said this goal should not be cheapened by outdated stereotypes about the North.
- How to win in the North. Action on fuel duty, planning, job creation - and an industrial strategy
20 November 2012
David Skelton, Deputy Director at Policy Exchange, shows how drastic the decline of the Conservative party has been in the North of England, with the party lacking representation even at a council level in some cities like Liverpool. He cites polling results from Policy Exchange's Northern Lights report which show that the Conservatives must focus on cost of living issues and job creation if they wish to win such areas back.
- New sky thinking: The airport debate
02 November 2012
David Skelton, Deputy Director of Policy Exchange, argues that the UK needs to increase its aviation capacity to compete with global competitors. David sets out findings from Policy Exchange's report Bigger & Quieter, which suggests that building four new runways to the west of the current Heathrow site would double its current yearly capacity.
- The Tories can learn from Teddy Roosevelt's "popular conservatism"
12 October 2012
David Skelton, Policy Exchange's Deputy Director, argues that the Conservative Party could learn from former US President Teddy Roosevelt who appealed to all sections of society using "popular conservatism".
- The gay rights debate should avoid political point scoring
03 October 2012
David Skelton, Deputy Director of Policy Exchange, argues that politicians should stop point scoring over gay rights issues. David suggests that it is crucial for political parties to press ahead with equal rights for gay people.
- Tagging isn't working – privatisation is no panacea
24 September 2012
David Skelton, Deputy Director at Policy Exchange, argues that private monopolies will do little to drive up standards in public service delivery. He suggests that a competitive local market needs to be established in the area of electronic monitoring, especially with the electronic tagging of criminals as we explored in recent report Future of Corrections.