Annual Report 2023


An Introduction from Kim Darroch and Naomi Smith

As we look ahead to an incredibly important year for Best for Britain and the UK, it is with great pride and optimism that we can also reflect on the progress made and achievements of our team in the year just passed.

2023 brought with it the prospect of a new government being elected in the near future, giving our mission of fixing the problems Britain faces after Brexit even greater importance and urgency. We remained at the forefront of advocating for evidence-based decision-making, continuously emphasising the importance of expertise and data in addressing these pressing economic and political challenges.

This year marked the culmination of our years of work with the cross-party UK Trade and Business Commission which we established in 2021 as the Government shut down avenues of scrutiny to their botched Brexit deal. Together we turned more than 80 hours of live evidence, from hundreds of witnesses and written evidence from 200 organisations into 114 actionable policy recommendations including:

  • A new and independent Board of Trade ensuring that trade policy is independently assessed.
  • Beneficial Regulatory alignment with the EU outside of the Single Market and Customs Union.
  • A visa system that works for Britain including a new Youth Mobility Visa scheme
  • Ensure all new trade agreements are subject to full parliamentary scrutiny and approval

Trading our way to prosperity: A blueprint for policy makers was a landmark report and the product of the most comprehensive consultation on post-Brexit trade to date. It remains a north star for decision makers grappling with the economic and cultural fallout from the UK’s departure from the EU and its recommendations are already being echoed by Government and opposition politicians alike.

But we didn't stop there. To test and improve these policies we hosted Trade Unlocked, a major new conference at the Birmingham NEC bringing together hundreds of businesses of all sizes, from all parts of the economy together with decision makers and trade experts. Through live polling and panel discussion they debated and endorsed our recommendations at an event which included keynote speeches from the Shadow Foreign Secretary and the then Shadow Trade Secretary.

As the only campaign group working to form, advocate and promote evidence based trade policy, Best for Britain ensured that from day one, a new government can begin to remedy the damage wrought over the past 14 years and take advantage of the opportunities of the next decade.

And this year we reached new heights in honing and promoting our unparallelled constituency-level polling and analysis. We built a solid platform for our upcoming tactical voting campaign which, despite a consistent public appetite for change, could still be pivotal due to the UK’s antiquated electoral system. We started and ended the year with Best for Britain polling on the front page of the Sunday Times and hosted an in person press conference with John Curtice, Luke Tryl and Carol Vorderman, to unveil new data. We featured on radio and TV, in panel events and party conferences, advocating for a fairer voting system and tactical voting as a means of achieving it.

We have carried the banner for a more inclusive, internationalist and united society. We were pivotal in sinking the Government’s law-breaking Northern Ireland Protocol Bill and were vocal against their misguided Rwanda plan.Our unwavering dedication to fostering dialogue and collaboration across diverse sectors of society and across the political spectrum has remained a hallmark of our work and in 2023, we expanded our network of civil society organisations, academic institutions, and business leaders, forging partnerships that amplify our collective impact.

In this decisive election year, we extend our continued and deepest gratitude to our dedicated staff, volunteers, supporters, and partners whose unwavering commitment and passion have been instrumental in realising our shared vision. We will draw inspiration from your support and these achievements to increase our efforts and help build a future that is truly Best for Britain

With sincere thanks,

Naomi Smith
Chief Executive Officer, Best for Britain

Kim Darroch
Chair, Best for Britain (2021-23)

A message from our new Chair: Peter Norris

Starting in 1976, Peter Norris has had a career in financial services, consumer businesses and venture capital. He is the current Chair of Virgin Group and of a number of Virgin operating companies and sits on several early stage company boards.

Peter has been a Best for Britain board member since our foundation in 2017, providing indispensable support, guidance and expertise in those early years. Where some gave up following the catastrophic General Election result of 2019, Peter proved his commitment to building a more tolerant, prosperous and democratic future in the UK, by helping Best for Britain relaunch as a permanent campaign group in 2021.

Since then, Peter has been steadfast in his support of our work and campaign goals and in particular, our work to address the economic challenges created by Brexit which negatively impacts living standards for millions of people right across the UK. In 2021, he helped in the establishing the cross-party UK Trade and Business Commission of MPs and business leaders, and has led the organisation as Co-Convener.

His experience and knowledge was invaluable in over two years of evidence gathering from major corporations, SMEs, sole traders and trade experts, culminating in the landmark Trading our way to prosperity report. In garnering support for its recommendations, Peter was vital to the success of the inaugural Trade Unlocked conference, which last year saw hundreds of business leaders shape solutions to the problems facing UK traders.

Now as Chair, Peter will lead Best for Britain into a crucial election year and beyond as together we fix the problems Britain faces after Brexit.

“I would like to thank our outgoing Chair Kim Darroch for his outstanding stewardship of Best for Britain and whose extensive diplomatic experience and unparalleled foreign policy insight were indispensable during a time of increasing global instability.

“Under Kim’s leadership Best for Britain had great success and it is most heartening that he will remain a member of our board at this important crossroads for our country and our movement.

“In the face of great problems at home and existential crises abroad, Best for Britain’s work to change minds and change politics, to increase equality, unity and democracy, has never been more important.

“This is a defining moment for the UK and what happens over the coming months will decide if we meet the challenges of this century. Together, I believe we can.“

Peter Norris
Chair, Best for Britain

Key Achievements

 Launched Trade Unlocked

Best for Britain hosted Trade Unlocked on 20th June at Birmingham’s NEC. With over 700 registered business delegates, a broad panel of politicians, parliamentarians and policymakers, as well as an Industry Village hosting government departments and trade bodies, this was a truly unique occasion. Never before had so many people crucial to solving a policy problem, at every level - from sole trader to shadow minister, been together under one roof. All of it achieved by Best for Britain’s small team over just four months.

 Were first to publish constituency-level polling using new electoral boundaries

Best for Britain was the first to publish MRP analysis about how the new constituency map could affect the next election. Almost every constituency has seen some change and a huge number of voters will find themselves in a different constituency to the one they’ve voted in previously. It is going to be vital that voters, as well as political parties and candidates, know how the parties are likely to fare in their new seats and why it’s not possible to make a proper judgement based solely on 2019 election results.

 Tracked this government’s scandalous spending

Our continuing research tracked up to £99 billion of this government’s scandalously unnecessary and wasted spending in November 2023 splashing the front page of the Daily Mirror in the process. It’s now become the go-to source for journalists, and was even used by LBC to make the Chancellor uncomfortable in a live interview.

 Produced 114 policy recommendations to fix problems Britain faces after Brexit

Best for Britain, as secretariat to the UK Trade and Business Commission, supported the publication of its blueprint for the UK’s trade policy: Trading Our Way to Prosperity: A Blueprint for Policymakers. This blueprint contains 114 distinct recommendations to the UK Government. Since publication, the UK Government has already acted to re-enter the EU’s Horizon science and research programme and has indefinitely delayed the implementation of the UK’s replacement for CE marking on products. Several other recommendations, including the call to negotiate a Youth Mobility Scheme so under 35’s can live and work in EU countries for up to 5 years and the creation of a new and independent Board of Trade have gained significant support.

 And got Shadow Ministers to talk about them!

Shadow Business Secretary, Jonathan Reynolds MP, announced Labour’s adoption of the Commission’s recommendation for a new independent Board of Trade and has signalled Labour’s interest in the recommendation on beneficial alignment with EU standards by suggesting closer UK-EU ties are on the table if they win the next election. The Home Office has actively considered Youth Mobility Schemes and former Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice MP came out strongly in support.

 Forced the UK Government to respond to concerns about voter ID

Following the first elections in Great Britain where voters needed to bring photo ID to vote, Best for Britain’s supporters wrote to the Department for Levelling Up with their feedback. Thousands used our website to send a message and forced a government minister to contact us and promise to review the types of ID that are allowed.

 Went to Labour, Green and Liberal Democrats conferences

Best for Britain attended three political party conferences in 2023. We were in Bournemouth for Liberal Democrats Conference, Brighton for Green Party Conference and Liverpool for Labour Party Conference. We conduct polling to help politicians lead debate, not follow it. We design policy for whoever is in government, today or tomorrow. So when we have the chance to speak to policy-makers, activists and future MPs we take it.

 Made front page news on the first and last days of 2023

Best for Britain started 2023 on the front page of the Sunday Times on New Year’s Day with our ‘Wavering Wall’ MRP report investigating how undecided voters could decide the election and we ended the year back on the Sunday Times front page on New Year’s Eve with our mega-poll revealing voters’ desire for stronger EU-UK ties and dismay at Rishi Sunak.

Change MindsChange Politics

We constantly challenge ourselves to justify our continued existence. Our purpose must be clear, we need to achieve change and add positively to politics and the future of our country. In 2023 we thought hard about what we are, what we do and how we define Best for Britain.

What is Best for Britain?

We are the researchers, data scientists, strategists, and activists, fixing the problems Britain faces after Brexit.

We conduct polling to help politicians lead debate, not follow it.

We design policy for whoever is in government, today or tomorrow.

And we give voters the tools to speak to, and persuade, those in power.

We believe that when we change minds we change politics for the better.

And that all of this is Best for Britain.

Not just a slogan

Change Minds → Change Politics is not just a slogan, it’s a commitment to ensure that everything Best for Britain undertakes is persuasive and changing the politics for the better.

It’s the two questions that we ask ourselves every day:

Are we winning people over, or talking into an echo chamber?

Are we making politics better, or are we just adding to the toxicity?

We try to make complex politics accessible to all. And it can be difficult to make dry topics engaging. Just as it can be easy to fall into lazy political point scoring. We don't always get it right. But with Change Minds → Change Politics as our north star, everything we do is an attempt to mend an unprecedentedly polarised political landscape.

The four-stage approach to all our work

Every action begins with us putting the right questions, to the right people.
Whether it’s our gold-standard constituency-level polling to determine the latest public opinion , or gathering evidence through the UK Trade & Business Commission and APPG on Coronavirus.

Once we’ve asked the right questions, it’s important to hear, and learn, the right lessons from the answers being given.
Best for Britain seeks to challenge the conventional wisdom, on a wide range of political issues, through innovative qualitative research, such as focus groups and analysis of our own, or third party, data.

What sets us apart from other organisations is our ability to design solutions from our research, rather than just publishing our analysis of the problems for others to fix.

From trade recommendations drawn up by our Policy & Research team, to building tactical voting tools that answer the questions that voters have always wanted to ask.

And the biggest difference? We make change happen, by putting the research, the tools, and the right people, together, so that they can do something about it.


First to publish MRP results on new constituency boundaries

Best for Britain was the first to publish MRP analysis about how the new constituency map could affect the next election. Almost every constituency has seen some change and a huge number of voters will find themselves in a different constituency to the one they’ve voted in previously.

It is going to be vital that voters, as well as political parties and candidates, know how the parties are likely to fare in their new seats and why it’s not possible to make a proper judgement based solely on 2019 election results.
That’s why we wanted to get accurate data as early as possible, and why we commissioned a huge 10,000 sample poll.

Launching Best for Britain’s June 2023 MRP research with Carol Vorderman, Professor Sir John Curtice, Luke Tryl and Naomi Smith.

Our MRP analysis showed the Labour Party was on track for a large majority at the next election. But when we looked closely at the data, that Labour majority was threatened by the high number of undecided voters and potential for co-operation between Farage’s Reform UK and the Conservatives.

The baseline

Conducted by Focaldata for Best for Britain between 23 April - 9 May 2023 with a sample of 10,102 UK adults, we asked ‘If a general election were held tomorrow, which party would you vote for?’

Best for Britain analysis revealed that the number of seats projected to be marginal at the next election is substantial, around one third of all seats (206) and sheds light on the new key electoral battlegrounds. Scotland, South East England, and the East of England hold over half (101) of marginal seats that Labour will hope to win.











*The baseline MRP by Focaldata predicted Labour winning 469 seats and the Conservatives 128 seats. 'Don't Know' was predicted to win two seats, namely Aberdeenshire North and Moray East; as well as Boston and Skegness. Given in a General Election scenario 'Don't Know' would not be on the ballot paper, we reallocated these seats to the party in second place. This meant that we awarded Aberdeenshire North and Moray East to the Labour Party; and then Boston and Skegness to the Conservatives in all scenarios and analyses that we performed.

Scenario analysis

While Labour’s lead seems unassailable, our own analysis showed that undecided voters could once again be pivotal. A hung parliament is possible in the plausible scenario of undecided voters casting their ballot in line with education profile trends, and if Reform UK stand candidates down as UKIP and Brexit Party did in the last two elections. In this scenario Labour’s seat count falls to 316 with the Conservatives on 286.











We analysed the age and education profiles of undecided voters and allocated undecided voters according to the relative similarities in education profiles in England to that of each party’s voters. This resulted in the Conservatives receiving around 60% and Labour receiving around 25% of undecided votes. We combined this analysis with a worst-case assumption that Reform UK would once again decide to stand aside for the Conservatives in marginal seats and we allocated a ‘worse case scenario’ of 100% of Reform UK’s vote to the Conservatives in those marginal constituencies.

British people want a closer relationship with Europe

Best for Britain exists to fix the problems Britain faces after Brexit, so keeping track of where the public stands on the UK’s relationship with our closest neighbours is a core part of our mission.

We asked people whether they thought Brexit had created or solved more problems and published results in January and May. Each version of the poll showed a clear majority of people think it has created more problems than it has solved.

When we asked people their opinion on policy solutions to some of the biggest problems we face after Brexit, it was clear the majority of people agree with us.

A majority of the public wanted a closer relationship with the EU and for the UK to be aligned with EU standards and regulations

On visas, over half of the public wanted the UK to welcome more overseas workers, and the prospect of a youth mobility scheme for under-35s was particularly popular with the public with 68% of the public supporting the proposal.

In December, with a mega sample of over 10,000 people, we drilled down into exactly how people feel their lives have changed as a result of Brexit and found that most feel it has; increased the cost of their weekly shop (76%), reduced the availability of goods and services (60%), made the small boats issue worse (58%) and stunted economic growth (63%). Half said it has restricted their ability to see a doctor (50%).

Finally, we asked people to say what they want the next UK government, after the next election, to do. Our analysis revealed that, with the exception of Boston and Skegness, in each of the remaining 631 constituencies across Great Britain, voters want a future Labour government led by Keir Starmer to seek a closer relationship with the EU. In this scenario, we didn't find a single constituency where voters prefer either the current relationship, or a more distant relationship with the EU.

Mapping these results onto each of the new GB parliamentary constituencies revealed that seeking a closer relationship with the EU was the preferred option in 610 seats, including in the constituencies of both Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman. Only two preferred the relationship to stay the same (Boston and Skegness and South Holland and the Deepings). In twenty constituencies in England, the preferred option was ‘Don’t Know’. There were no seats in which a more distant relationship was the preferred option.

Tactical voting could decide the next election

Best for Britain started 2023 on the front page of the Sunday Times on New Year’s Day with our ‘Wavering Wall’ MRP report and we ended the year back on the Sunday Times front page on New Year’s Eve with our mega-poll.

Tactical voting

The poll of over 10,000 people carried out by Focaldata on behalf of Best for Britain found a whopping 61% want Sunak to go to the country by June with 36% wanting a general election as soon as possible. A mere 17% think the Prime Minister should wait until autumn with fewer than 1 in 10 (9%) thinking he should wait until the last possible moment in January 2025.

Whenever it might be, the same survey suggests that tactical voting will be critical at the next election with most respondents (52%), potentially representing 16 million voters, saying they would consider voting tactically. 38% say they would consider voting tactically to secure a change of government while just 13% say they are prepared to do so to keep Sunak in post.

When asked who would make the best Prime Minister, Starmer was the most popular choice in 390 constituencies including Sunak’s own seat of Richmond in North Yorkshire, but Don’t Know won in a staggering 238 seats and only Braintree, Castle Point, Clacton and North Bedfordshire put Sunak top.


UK Trade and Business Commission

The UK Trade and Business Commission was launched by Best for Britain in April 2021 to provide independent scrutiny of the UK’s trade deals with Europe and the rest of the world. It brings together ten MPs from all nine Westminster parties and all four nations of the UK, along with business leaders and expert economists.

  • 80 hours of live testimony
  • 234 witnesses
  • Site visits to businesses in Dover, Belfast, Maidstone, Rugby and Lincolnshire
  • 200 organisations gave written evidence
  • 114 recommendations to Government

Gathering evidence

The Commission’s ten live online evidence sessions in 2023 heard from policy experts on trade, financial services and economics, as well as prominent theatre directors, agriculture specialists and doctors on the front lines. A written consultation with businesses, trade associations, policy experts and civil society organisations provided a broader picture and asked for suggestions of solutions to problems the respondents identified.

This year, Commissioners visited the Cemex cement plant in Rugby and FreshLinc haulage and logistics in Spalding, Lincolnshire to see for themselves the issues and concerns faced by businesses.

Cemex explained their worries about the effect on their business of UK divergence from EU regulations, focussing on their environmental responsibilities as a manufacturer that exports to the EU. Best for Britain’s Secretariat team joined Commissioners in finding out what businesses like Cemex need from the Government and how they felt the UK should approach its Net Zero policies.

As a logistics and haulage business, a huge number of FreshLinc's suppliers are affected by changes to import checks on products coming into the UK from the EU of plant and animal origin and FreshLinc is having to navigate the new regulatory landscape on their behalf. The visit to FreshLinc gave Commissioners a real insight into the challenges they're facing, and what they need from the Government.

Independent Board of Trade

One of the key recommendations the UK Trade and Business Commission has made is for the Board of Trade to be made independent of Government and to produce clear ex-ante (as well as ex-post) impact assessments of prospective trade agreements - as well as horizon scanning the developing trade policy landscape and monitoring regulatory changes between trade partners.

(UKTBC Live Panel chaired by Professor L. Alan Winters, UKTBC Commissioner and Co-Director, Centre for Inclusive Trade Policy with: Peter Hardwick, Trade Policy Adviser, British Meat Processors Association; Sir Vince Cable, former Business Secretary; Clair Gammage, Professor, Head of School, University of Exeter Law School; Phoebe Clay, Director, Unchecked UK)

The Commission wrote to Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch calling for genuine reform of the Board of Trade signed by more than 80 leading academics, industry bosses, trade advisors and trade bodies.

Signatories to the letter included over 20 leading academics from 11 UK universities alongside national trade bodies the RSPCA, NHS Confederation, the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, British Poultry Council and the International Chambers Of Commerce UK. The letter was also signed by leading business figures Peter Norris, Chair of the Virgin Group, former CEO of Siemens UK Juergen Maier CBE and Vice President of the German British Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Bob Bischof.

Trade Unlocked

  • 700+ registered business delegates
  • 48 partners from the worlds of business, industry, regulation and trade
  • Keynote speeches from David Lammy MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary; Nick Thomas-Symonds, Shadow International Trade Secretary; Lord Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer, and; Paul Drechsler, Chair of the international Chamber of Commerce
  • Welcome speeches by broadcaster Ayesha Hazarika; Juergen Maier; Former Chief Executive, Siemens and; Naomi Smith, CEO of Best for Britain
  • 11 interactive breakout forums on subjects covering the breadth of the UK’s international trading environment
  • Industry Village exhibition and presentation zone focussed on sector-specific networking and information exchange

Keynote Speakers

  • Lord Bilimoria CBE, DL, Founder, Cobra Beer
  • Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade
  • Juergen Maier, Former Chief Executive, Siemens UK
  • Ayesha Hazarika, Broadcaster
  • David Lammy MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs

Why did we do it?

Best for Britain hosted Trade Unlocked on 20th June at Birmingham’s NEC, right at the heart of the West Midlands; home to some of the UK’s most important manufacturers. With over 700 registered business delegates, a broad panel of politicians, parliamentarians and policymakers, as well as an Industry Village hosting government departments and trade bodies, this was a truly unique occasion. Never before had so many people crucial to solving a policy problem, at every level - from sole trader to shadow minister, been together under one roof.

From record inflation, to new barriers to trade, labour shortages and global instability, the challenges facing the business community are many and they are severe. For more than a decade and particularly since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, British businesses from SMEs to international conglomerates have been telling the same story;

Uncertainty costing investment and preventing them from seizing opportunities, new red tape eating into wafer thin margins, fears that new trade deals will undercut business, crumbling public services and infrastructure impacting their staff and operations, and above all, a feeling that their voice is not being heard or heeded. The result; increased costs for consumers, jobs shipped overseas and too many firms pulling down shutters for good.

That’s the challenge but the point of Trade Unlocked was to figure out what we are going to do about it. The business community has been too timid for too long but now, they are demanding change and Trade Unlocked, organised in partnership with The British Chambers of Commerce, International Chambers of Commerce, Regional business partnerships, Trade Unions, major firms and local SMES, is the first step in driving it.

British businesses know best what’s needed for their own commercial success and growth. They know the challenges they face and the opportunities on offer. At Trade Unlocked, through real time voting and interactive forums they made their voice heard and at Trade Unlocked we listened. Their evidence has been fed into the policy platform provided by the cross-party cross industry UK Trade and Business Commission meaning we now have a blueprint for growth that policy makers can put into action right away.

“The next Labour Government will be focused on what is pragmatic, turning the page on an era of acrimony that this Government has overseen, which has seen trust undermined, cooperation stall, and our economy damaged.”
- Rt Hon David Lammy MP

“Britain has scientific and academic excellence, a skilled workforce, brilliant businesses. But what’s required is a government with an industrial and trade strategy coupled with a vision for our place in the modern world.”
- Rt Hon Nick Thomas-Symonds MP

“Get more involved in politics, get more involved in saying what you as business people want from your politicians. And while you’re doing that, ask them for a youth mobility scheme as well.”
- Charles Owen, Managing Director, Seasonal Business in Travel

“Businesses are making their voices heard. There is an unmistakable demand for change. That we can no longer have business as usual.”
- Juergen Maier, Former Chair of Siemens UK

“Since 2016, obstacles which had been deliberately or carelessly placed in the way of small businesses have piled higher and higher, with pointless rhetoric about sovereignty taking the place of actual negotiation and practical help.

"At Trade Unlocked I felt that these blockages had started to crumble. Everyone attending shared the aim of solving the problems which Britain has created for itself, following a decade of uninformed flag-wavery dominating our trade policy.”
- Sarah McCartney, 4160 Tuesdays

"Brexit has added to the cost of living crisis. We're seeing that across supermarkets, across retail goods. We need to do something to fix that. We need sensible policies that really work for UK businesses.

"Ultimately we need a level playing field, fairness between imports and exports. That's in standards and regulations. And for my sector, that means a deal between the UK and the EU to actually equate those standards. That would really help both sides."
- Richard Griffiths, CEO, British Poultry Council

"During a time when Britain is moving into a new trade dynamic globally, many conferences are only having discussions within their particular verticals. Trade Unlocked provides an event for different trade bodies, politicians and business leaders to interact bringing a more diverse understanding across many industries.

"This event highlighted (in particular for me) how going forward, knowledge for education providers can and should interact with industry professionals especially those in tech to understand the future needs to fill the growing employment hole within trades where tech is not the primary function but a use. This action provides an environment for future collaborative opportunities to grow more competitive, robust and secure businesses going forward globally in this new Britain."
- Suki Fuller, Miribure

Who attended Trade Unlocked 2023?

Over 700 delegates and speakers registered, representing the whole breadth of the UK’s business sectors, economic and trading communities:

Business Advocacy
Business Services
Chambers of Commerce
Consumer Services
Energy, Utilities & Environment
UK Government Departments and Agencies
Health and Social Care
Local Government
Media and Internet
Research, Science & Technology
Trade Associations
International Trade,
Supply Chain


Trading Our Way to Prosperity: A Blueprint for Policymakers

In June 2023, The UK Trade and Business Commission published its blueprint for the UK’s trade policy, Trading Our Way to Prosperity: A Blueprint for Policymakers. This blueprint contains 114 distinct recommendations to the UK Government and is the culmination of all the evidence taken during the programme of sessions conducted this year and through the consultation exercise the Commission launched in December 2022.

Key Recommendations

  • Beneficial alignment with the EU. The Commission recommended a general policy of alignment with EU regulations, while making provision for divergence where this would be in the UK’s interests. This will make it easier for the UK to pursue equivalence decisions from the EU in a number of areas and should reduce trading frictions.

  • A new UK-EU Regulatory Cooperation Council. The Commission has called for the creation of a forum allowing for trade cooperation between the UK and EU would be beneficial in keeping dialogue over trade matters open and dynamic, and would have the added benefit of likely improving the UK-EU relationship and maintaining regulatory alignment with the EU.

  • An independent UK Board of Trade. The Commission has urged the development of a new independent agency, that would act to the Department for Business and Trade as the OBR currently does for the Treasury, providing impartial advice and helping drive improvements through rigorous impact assessments. The UK Board of Trade would feature a broad range of representatives across political parties, regions and businesses.

  • A visa system that works for Britain. A visa system that embeds flexibility and fairness is crucial for the UK. Labour shortages have huge negative impacts on supply chains, productivity and business growth. The Commission sees the development of a new youth mobility visa scheme and existing visas as crucial to the UK’s economic success.

  • An integrated trade policy. In addition to growing the economy, the Commission has called for trade policy to support objectives such as Net Zero, skills development, and support for SMEs and communities. The Commission is calling for an integrated trade strategy that allows trade to be a tool that gives back to communities.

Tracking progress

Just making recommendations is not the end. Best for Britain and the Commission continue to press for and keep track of the 114 recommendations to be adopted by political parties, the UK’s governments and opinion-formers in the UK and Europe.

Beneficial Alignment

The UKTBC is calling for the UK Government to adopt a general policy of regulatory alignment with EU standards and protections, where it is in the UK’s interests to do so. There has been growing support for this policy across businesses, think tanks and politics. The Labour party has signalled interest in the policy, and suggested that closer UK-EU ties are on the table if they win the next election. Business is even more supportive, given that any policy which achieves the removal of non-tariff barriers to UK-EU trade through regulatory alignment would have significant benefits for businesses that import and export.


UK-EU Regulatory Cooperation Council

The UK Trade and Business Commission has recommended the creation of a new forum, modelled on the successful US-Canadian regulatory cooperation council, to manage and oversee a future UK-EU relationship built on a mutually agreed policy of Beneficial Alignment.


Independent Board of Trade

Support for an independent Board of Trade has been growing, particularly within the Labour ranks. At a speech in Canary Wharf in November 2023, Shadow Secretary for Business and Trade Jonathan Reynolds MP highlighted that Labour would be supporting the establishment of the Board of Trade as an independent entity, accountable to the Secretary of State.


Youth Mobility Scheme

Recommendations on a UK-EU youth mobility scheme have been publicly adopted by the UK-EU Parliamentary Partnership Assembly. In July 2023, it became apparent that the Home Office was looking to do just that - and had approached individual EU member states with the intention of negotiating reciprocal youth mobility schemes. Former Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice MP came out strongly in support of such a scheme as well.



Since publication of the Blueprint, the UK Government took up the recommendation on rejoining the Horizon science and research cooperation programme bringing back much-needed investment to the UK’s research sectors.


Mutual Recognition

The UK Government should collaborate with the EU, professional associations and regulatory bodies to seek mutual recognition agreements in various fields, such as engineering, accounting, auditing, law, and architecture. Labour’s Industrial Strategy published in September 2022 said: “Support our global champions by agreeing mutual recognition of professional qualifications”.


SPS Agreement

An SPS agreement would likely reduce the need for animal health checks, reduce requirements for veterinarian involvement and decrease post-Brexit red tape currently burdening UK exporters. The Labour Party has made a commitment to pursuing an SPS agreement with the EU, recognising that this policy will smooth trade flows across the Irish Sea and Channel.


UKCA/CE marking

The UK Trade and Business Commission has recommended that the UK delay the implementation of UKCA marking, continuing to accept CE marking for products placed on the UK market. The UK Government has partially fulfilled this recommendation, indefinitely delaying the implementation of UKCA marking for several products regulated by the Department for Business and Trade. However, products covered by other departments’ regulations - such as construction products and medicines - still face a looming deadline for having to adapt to the new UKCA mark.


Party Conferences

Best for Britain attended three political party conferences in 2023. We were in Bournemouth for Liberal Democrats Conference, Brighton for Green Party Conference and Liverpool for Labour Party Conference.

We conduct polling to help politicians lead debate, not follow it. We design policy for whoever is in government, today or tomorrow. So when we have the chance to speak to policy-makers, activists and future MPs we take it.

Labour Party Conference

Two Best for Britain exhibition stands proved a popular destination over the four days. MPs and Labour candidates in particular sought us out for valuable insights into their constituencies and Best for Britain’s tactical voting plans. We had a huge interactive map where attendees could see exactly how popular the UK Trade and Business Commission’s policies were in constituencies across Britain. Based on an MRP poll of more than 10,000 people, delegates could see that from Remain voting Stirling to Leave voting Skegness, a closer relationship with the EU was the preferred option compared to greater divergence or the status quo.

Simultaneously, our automated stall opposite, confronted attendees with the human cost of our broken electoral electoral system. Footage from our wildly successful Can’t Wait Campaign showed how living standards have worsened and our public services denigrated because a single party has been able to secure total power with a minority of votes.

Best for Britain partnered with SME for Labour to bring one of Westminster’s most popular events to Liverpool. The Best for Britain Reception, fuelled by the Kebab Awards, had no awards but it was standing room only with more than 500 attendees including MPs, high profile Labour candidates, journalists and business leaders.

Liberal Democrats

We hosted a packed out, standing room only fringe meeting called: Is Europeanism in Lib Dem DNA? Our guests included former Party Leader and Business Secretary the Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable, the then House of Lords Europe Spokesperson Baroness Sarah Ludford, Cambridgeshire County Councillor Edna Murphy, and Eastbourne PPC Josh Babarinde.

The inspiration for the event was drawn from the last speech that the late leader of the LIberal Democrats, Charles Kennedy, made to the conference in 2013, ahead of the disastrous 2014 European Elections. You can watch the speech here but his missive was essentially that while Europeanism is very much in the Lib Dems’ DNA, for far too long it has stood for ‘Do Not Acknowledge’. He blamed himself for giving in to campaign orthodoxy that pro-Europeanism was something to be believed in but not talked about with voters. His rallying cry was for Lib Dems to stand up and be unpopular for something they care about, than to be unpopular for things they disagreed with on austerity.

Green Party Conference

At the Green Party Conference, Best for Britain held a panel with Molly Scott Cato, spokesperson on Brexit and finance; Zack Polanski, Deputy Leader; and Ellie Chowns, spokesperson for Housing and Communities; on “How the EU benefits environmental protections”.

Our guests challenged us to check that Best for Britain is not helping “make Brexit work”. We reassured the room that our mission to fix the problems Britain faces after Brexit is because people, businesses and their livelihoods need help today - they might not survive until a moment to reverse Brexit ever arises - and that it is most definitely not the same as those who say that they are ‘making Brexit work’! But of course when it comes to environmental protections there is no doubt that the planet, and certainly our waterways, would be in much better shape had we not left the EU.


Campaign successes

Our supporters, followers, subscribers and friends across the country and beyond have mobilised to take part in 2023 and make a real difference. Hundreds of thousands of people have seen our campaigns and got involved.

The ‘Can’t Wait’ Campaign

Building on our work in 2022, we took Proportional Representation mainstream, engaging over 400,000 people all over England, Scotland and Wales, to show them just how much damage the First Past The Post voting system does to their local community. This builds on the success of last year’s campaign which ended with Labour conference voting 83% in favour of Proportional Representation, and allows us to return to the issue as soon as the next general election has taken place!

Best for Britain’s Scandalous Spending Tracker

The campaign that keeps on going! When we began recording this government’s follies and failures, we could never have imagined that it would reach £99bn in November 2023 splashing the front page of the Daily Mirror in the process. It’s now become the go-to source for journalists, and was even used by LBC to make the Chancellor uncomfortable in a live interview.

Voter ID

Our network of supporters and subscribers continue to be the lifeblood of our work. Following the first elections that required ID to vote, our supporters shared their experiences directly with the government department responsible for measuring the impact the new regulations were having. Originally intended as a way for Returning Officers to share their concerns, our campaign allowed over 3,000 people to share their experiences directly with the government and in doing so secured a formal response outlining how the department intended to address their concerns.

Letters to the Editor

We know that MPs inboxes are now stuffed with petitions for all kinds of causes, and there’s a real risk that they no longer have the impact they once did. In response to this, Best for Britain has made it easier than ever for voters to write to their local newspaper. By providing messaging and template letters, we have secured coverage across the UK in regional news outlets for campaign critical issues including our work to oppose both the inhumane Illegal Migration Act and the law-breaking Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, and to expose the economic mismanagement of the Government.

Blocked Northern Ireland Protocol Bill

Best for Britain supporters got their letters published in local papers across the UK highlighting their significant concerns about Boris Johnson’s Northern Ireland Protocol Bill. This Bill would have breached international law and given ministers powers to decide to break the UK’s treaties without any vote in Parliament. After a sustained campaign, the government quietly withdrew the Bill.

Building Support for the Windsor Framework

And supporters added their voices through letters to their local papers to Best for Britain’s joint statement with 77 business leaders supporting the Windsor framework. This Framework, the joint statement said, could start a “new chapter in UK/EU relations”. 515 MPs ultimately voted in support of the Windsor Framework.

Continued to fight for British musicians

Our research in May uncovered that the number of British musicians booked for EU festivals was down a third on pre-Brexit levels. Building on our previous success at getting the UK government to admit it needs to make it easier to tour Europe, we are continuing to protect one of our most cherished exports - our music and culture.

Anti-Asylum Bill and Gary Lineker

In March we took to the streets of Westminster with our “VAR decision” van to highlight the vast incompatibilities of the ‘Illegal Migration Bill’ with human rights laws, and showed up the naked attempts to silence Gary Lineker over his tweets speaking out about the proposed legislation. It resulted in over 30,000 people taking a stand and adding their name to our campaign.

Get Farage Out of Here!

The announcement that Nigel Farage was to appear on I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here! rang alarm bells. We were appalled that ITV was willing to gift Farage a nightly platform with millions of viewers in which whe would be free to espouse his views without challenge or even ‘balance’. So we gave those disgusted by his views a chance to do something about it. Over 5,000 letters were sent to Ant and Dec arguing that a man who’s done enough damage to our country already should not be given a new platform for his populism, and they seemingly agreed that his participation hadn’t been worth the hassle (and drop in ratings) when they all but confirmed that next year’s show will be politician-free.

Making the best of a changing digital world

2023 brought significant digital challenges - chaos at Twitter, new social media platforms like Threads popping up, a raft of new rules about political content coming into force from the government’s Elections Act, concern about whether TikTok will continue to operate in the UK and changes by Google and Apple to the way cookies and analytics work.

The team have kept up with the changes and taken opportunities to future-proof Best for Britain’s online presence.

In numbers

  • Total impressions: 443,163,406 (-8% on 2022)
  • Total engagements: 25,345,630 (-23% on 2022)
  • Video views: 101,138,564 (+30.7% on 2022)
  • Total Followers: 514,172 (+9.4% on 2022)

Twitter’s many changes have resulted in Best for Britain losing its verified status, which has had an impact on our results due to the algorithm favouring paid verified accounts. Due to this we’ve seen a drop in the number of impressions and engagements compared to 2022, but a much less dramatic drop than others in the industry. We are proud of our organic social media results, and all without having to give Elon Musk a penny of our supporters’ cash.

Our pure video platforms have been some of the fastest growing accounts for us, with Instagram and Tiktok each increasing by 53% and 81% respectively. With the 2023’s electoral law changes meaning we have to display our details on all content, including videos, that we share, it has proven to be an effective way to increase our brand visibility as we now imprint our logo on all video content.

Digital growth

  • Twitter 189,485 (+14.6% growth)
  • Instagram 13,550 (+53% growth)
  • Facebook 250,002 (+1.1% growth)
  • Tiktok 22,118 (+81.5% growth)

While our Twitter account has been rather stable in terms of growth, we’ve seen large bursts for TikTok and Instagram throughout the year. As can be seen from the graph, the disruption at Twitter has caused the number of new followers to slow down as they push more paid verified users to the front of the algorithm.

Press & broadcast media

2023 was a landmark year of media coverage for both Best for Britain, Trade Unlocked and the UK Trade and Business Commission helping to increase our profile with thought leaders, political and policy stakeholders and the public.

This year we secured 1,650 pieces of media coverage including; 11 published Op Eds, 36 broadcast appearances, 184 features and citations in national print outlets, and 829 in Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and regional outlets.

Highlights included:

The year starting and ending with Best for Britain polling on the front page of the Sunday Times.

Our first in-person press briefing event on tactical voting since 2019, featuring Carol Vorderman, John Curtice and Luke Tryl securing massive coverage.

The publication of 114 evidence based ways to improve the Government’s shambolic Brexit deal carried by the Financial Times and others.

Mobilising high profile business leaders to back improvements to the Brexit deal on multiple occasions

Widespread coverage before, during and after Trade Unlocked, promoting these recommendations and impacting opposition parties (Pictured). Even Brexiters couldn’t resist talking about it!

Significant and repeated coverage for original Best for Britain research on scandalous government spending and Brexit's impact on the construction and entertainment sectors.


Become a Regular Supporter

Best for Britain relies entirely on donations from people who, like us, want to take action and in 2023 our supporter base has continued to grow. And more, new supporters have the opportunity to change politics for the better with our new supporter benefit.

For every new supporter who signs up to give £10 a month or more, rather than offering a free mug, we now plant a tree in your name at our very own pro-European forest sites in Devon and Dorset. We have planted 200 trees and counting, with the hope that by the time these saplings have become fully fledged trees Britain will have returned to being an outward-looking, compassionate country that cares for the planet and all its people.

Regular supporters also receive a monthly newsletter, a free event ticket and, for our highest level of support, a t-shirt from our shop.

Our Supporter Levels


We are more than aware of the financial pressures facing many people in Britain, and so it is important to stress that becoming a monthly supporter isn’t the only way of supporting Best for Britain.

Signing up to hear from us by email means you will keep up to date with ways you can take part. Best for Britain achieves change when we can show how many people agree with us and are willing to take action. Not only that, we also help you keep on top of everything going on in UK politics. Our Weekend Wire newsletter, your go-to source for all things political, lands in the inboxes of over 80,000 people every Saturday morning, so if you aren’t signed up already you’re missing a trick!

Our CEO Naomi sends regular exclusive updates to our supporters, and as we look to the year ahead, you are in for a treat as we go full steam ahead into the General Election, and of course we need the help of as many of you as possible, to reach as many people as possible.


Naomi leads a dynamic team of 20 - researchers, data scientists, strategists and activists - from the base in Westminster. The team is organised into separate departments led by members of the Senior Team, but it works effectively as one to deliver large projects such as the Trade Unlocked Conference.

This year we have looked again at our structure to ensure we can be as efficient and responsive as possible. As part of this we have increased capacity in our external affairs and digital teams so that we can create even more impact with our key stakeholders and the public.
We have been keen to improve working conditions to attract and retain staff, implementing several new enhancements to our benefits and wellbeing offering. This has included a new staff portal, breakfast and lunch options in the office, additional time off in August and access to a counselling phoneline. We have introduced more formal processes for staff induction, appraisal and development. We have been more ambitious about our staff training and upskilling provision, with both external and inhouse training opportunities.

The B4B Board is composed of nine high profile and committed individuals who have provided invaluable guidance in decision making and support for the staff. The Board has two committees - focused on Finance and People - that make recommendations on budgets and staffing. Our Chair, Lord Kim Darroch, signalled his intention to hand over the baton of Chair this year, but we are delighted that he will remain on the Board. We are also delighted that Peter Norris will take the Chair heading into 2024.

Financial Summary


YE 2022: £1,619,734

YE 2023: £2,855,136


YE 2022: £1,458,035

YE 2023:  £2,765,589

Expenditure breakdown

Income breakdown

Our income and expenditure increased significantly this year, largely due to the inaugural Trade Unlocked Conference. This was a significant achievement given it was delivered by such a small team.

We remain extremely grateful to all our donors, and particularly during the cost of living crisis. We wouldn't be able to do this without you. Thank you!