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In October, the Financial Times put out a call for readers to join politicians, academics and FT commentators to brainstorm ideas for the future of Britain outside of the EU.
We focused on four of the big questions that will define that future: what is the best relationship for Britain to have with the EU? What is the best model for the UK economy? What are solutions for immigration in the UK? And what future is there for the EU post-Brexit?
In response, we received almost 800 ideas from readers across industries and professions, from MEPs and policy experts to artists, doctors and sixth-form students.
The depth and variety of the entries was impressive: ideas ranged from looking to Ukraine or Singapore as a model, to pursuing a Commonwealth trade bloc, to investing in technology, education, and integration.
We put together a panel of expert judges and, while they deliberated, we published an interactive sampler of dozens of submitted ideas for readers to browse and up-vote. The judges chose six winning essays that will be published through this week, starting with a piece on how the UK should look towards south Asia after Brexit.
Here is our panel of judges, a mix from outside and within the FT. They have extensive political, business and broadcasting expertise and come from across the political spectrum:
Helena Morrissey is one of the best-known women in the City of London. She was chief executive of Newton Investment Management for 15 years before stepping down last August and has recently announced that she will be joining Legal and General IM. In her new role, she will focus on personal investors, aiming to make investing more engaging and accessible. Helena also chairs the Investment Association, whose members manage more than £5tn. In 2010, she founded the 30% Club, a cross-business initiative to improve gender balance in British boardrooms. The proportion of female directors on UK-listed company boards has more than doubled, and there are now 10 30% Clubs throughout the world.
Matthew Elliott is one of the UK’s foremost political strategists, having recently served as chief executive of the Vote Leave campaign. Before that, he led the NOtoAV campaign during the UK’s 2011 referendum on the Alternative Vote. In 2004, he founded the TaxPayers’ Alliance and in 2013 he set up Business for Britain, which recruited more than 1,500 British business leaders and produced the “Change, or go” study, a blueprint for Britain’s exit from the EU.
Bronwen Maddox is the director of the Institute for Government. Previously, she was editor and chief executive of Prospect, the UK’s leading current affairs and culture monthly title. Before that, Bronwen spent 14 years at The Times, where she was the newspaper’s chief foreign commentator, foreign editor, US editor and Washington bureau chief. She also worked at the Financial Times. Before her career in journalism, she was an analyst in the City of London and on Wall Street, and a director of Kleinwort Benson Securities.
Lionel Barber has been the editor of the Financial Times since 2005. He has co-written several books and has lectured widely on foreign policy, transatlantic relations and economics. He began his career in journalism in 1978 as a reporter for The Scotsman. He joined the FT in 1985 as a business reporter. During his FT career, he has also served as Washington correspondent, Brussels bureau chief, news editor, European editor and US managing editor. Lionel also serves on the Board of Trustees at the Tate and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Frederick Studemann is the FT’s comment & analysis editor, overseeing opinion and analysis for online, print and digital publication. He works closely with the FT’s in-house columnists as well as planning and commissioning articles from external contributors. He was previously analysis editor, where he oversaw the transformation of the FT’s showcase Big Read page. Fred joined the FT in 1996 as Berlin correspondent and has held a variety of posts including UK correspondent, political correspondent and European news editor. He was a member of the launch team of Financial Times Deutschland, where he was features and weekend editor.
Sebastian Payne is the FT’s political leader writer and digital comment editor, where he writes about UK politics and oversees online opinion. Previously, he was online editor of The Spectator magazine and deputy editor of its influential Coffee House blog. He has also worked at The Daily Telegraph and was the 35th Lawrence Stern fellow at The Washington Post.