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Emmanuel Macron backs new look ‘Tory Glastonbury’

PUBLISHED: 09:58 23 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:24 23 August 2018

MP George Freeman hopes his Big Ideas Festival will attract as many as 2,000 people
Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

MP George Freeman hopes his Big Ideas Festival will attract as many as 2,000 people Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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An event previously dubbed “Tory Glastonbury” is returning this year – but this time it has some very impressive backers.

French president Emmanuel Macron and Stephen Fry have backed Mr Freeman's (pictured) event
Picture: Ian BurtFrench president Emmanuel Macron and Stephen Fry have backed Mr Freeman's (pictured) event Picture: Ian Burt

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman came up with the idea of a gathering for party activists after witnessing the reception Jeremy Corbyn received when he spoke on the main stage at Glastonbury in 2017.

The event received some mockery – especially on social media – but those who attended gave it rave reviews and many offered their congratulations to Mr Freeman.

This year the Big Tent Ideas Festival is looking to widen its appeal – and it has won some very prominent supporters.

Both wit Stephen Fry, who grew up on Norfolk, and French president Emmanuel Macron have backed the festival which will take place on September 8 in the grounds of Babraham Hall in Cambridge.

President Macron said: “I am convinced that this Big Tent forum will make a significant contribution to the consideration of the big issues we jointly face.”

Mr Fry added: “At a time when so many of us are in despair at the state of our politics ... it’s a joy to see some serious political thinkers and reformers from all parties and from none coming together to explore the real causes of the disillusionment that is sweeping our society.”

Last year a few hundred people attended the event but this year organisers hope to attract 2,000 – and have gathered an impressive line up of speakers to tempt people to buy a ticket.

It has also been decided the event should not be party political but instead invite discussion and ideas from across the whole spectrum.

Speakers this year will include ITV’s political editor Robert Peston, former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman and international development secretary Penny Mordaunt.

Mr Freeman said: “East Anglia is the powerhouse of British innovation with our world-leading research in science and technology. That’s why there is no better place to host the Big Tent Ideas Festival. The Big Tent is a place where people alienated by Brexit party politics can ask difficult questions and help forge a vision of Britain beyond Brexit. Come and join us and be part of it. Together, we can make a difference.”

For ticket information visit www.bigtent.org.uk.

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