About The Enterprise Forum


The Enterprise Forum was founded in 1997 by Andrew Cumpsty and Alistair Burt through a desire to ensure business involvement in the Conservative Party's policy development. Its aim is to improve the quality and flow of information between the business community and the Conservative Party. Alistair Burt was the first Chairman of the Enterprise Forum. Andrew Cumpsty took over from Alistair Burt as Chairman after Burt’s re-election to Parliament in 2001.

The first formal meeting, by the Enterprise Forum was with Peter Lilley MP, the then Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party. Since that time the Enterprise Forum has had virtually every front bench Conservative Politician speak at one of its meetings.

Membership and Meetings

The Enterprise Forum’s members are businesses and organisations that want to engage on policy with the Coalition Government or before 2010, the Conservative Party. Membership includes commercial organisations (including FTSE 100 companies and SME’s), trade associations and charities.

The programme of events is determined by the policy priorities of the member organisations. The majority of meetings are held under the Chatham House Rules.

Additionally, the Forum also engages with key policy stakeholders outside of the Conservative Party. These have included Director Generals at the CBI, Deputy Governors at The Bank of England, the Liberal Democrats and the First Minister of Northern Ireland.

President, Vice Presidents and Directors

The President of the Enterprise Forum is The Lord MacLaurin of Knebworth DL. Vice-Presidents of the Enterprise Forum are Alistair Burt MP (Founder and former Chairman of the Enterprise Forum), David Gauke MP, Malcolm Harbour CBE, Margot James MP and Mark Prisk MP.

The Enterprise Forum is run by an unpaid board of senior directors drawn from business and industry (see biographies opposite)

Former directors of the Enterprise Forum that have gone on to become MPs are David Gauke MP, Stephen Barclay MP, Oliver Colvile MP, Alan Mak and Laura Sandys.

European Parliament Representative

Julie Girling MEP is the representative for The Enterprise Forum in The European Parliament. The Enterprise Forum holds regular European Parliament update meetings in London and Brussels.

Executive Members
The Rt Hon David Gauke MP Vice President

David was born in 1971 and was educated at Northgate High School, a state comprehensive in Ipswich, and read law at St Edmund Hall, Oxford University. After a year working as a Parliamentary researcher, he attended Chester College of Law before becoming a trainee solicitor. He qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and worked for a leading City firm until his election as MP for Hertfordshire South West on 5 May 2005.

David has been an active member of the Conservative Party since 1993 as a Council candidate, association officer and campaign organiser. In 2001, David was the Conservative Parliamentary candidate in Brent East, reducing the Labour majority by nearly 3,000. In 2003, David was selected as the Parliamentary candidate for Hertfordshire South West (defeating over 200 other applicants), following the announcement that Richard Page was to retire at the next General Election and was elected in 2005 with a majority of 8,473.

He made his maiden speech on 9 June 2005 during the Second Reading of the Consumer Credit Bill. In his period as an opposition backbencher, David highlighted a number of constituency concerns in Parliament, such crime and anti-social behaviour, erosion of the green belt, threats to local healthcare services and burdensome regulations. In 2006-7 he completed the Parliamentary Police Scheme, spending 22 days with Hertfordshire Constabulary.

In February 2006, David was appointed to the Treasury Select Committee which he then left in June 2007 when appointed to the Shadow Treasury team.

In the 2010 General Election, David was re-elected with a substantially increased majority of 14,920. Shortly afterwards, David was appointed as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, becoming the youngest Conservative minister in the Government. David's responsibilities in the Treasury includes most areas of tax policy and ministerial oversight of HM Revenue & Customs. In Parliament, he has led for the Government on two Finance Bills and the National Insurance Contributions Bill.

David’s interests outside his political activities and family include cricket, football (he is a lifelong Ipswich Town supporter), reading and country walks.

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