Not all politicians are the same – for instance, there’s Nick Boles

At first sight and sound, Nicholas Edward Coleridge Coles, Conservative Member of Parliament for Grantham and Stamford, could be taken as the archetypal Tory politician. The son of Sir Jack Boles (a Head of the National Trust) and the great-nephew of Conservative MP Dennis Boles, he studied at Winchester College and Magdalen College, Oxford. He is intelligent, fluent and has that air of confidence and entitlement that is so common in men of the English upper middle class.

But, as I listened to him being interviewed earlier this week at London’s City Literary Institute, it was clear that he is rather different from what one might expect.

Boles served as Minister of State for Skills in the Cameron Government and backed the remain camp in the EU referendum (but does not favour a second referendum on the terms of Brexit). He has never supported Theresa May and is looking for her to stand down. His oldest friend is Michael Gove and he ran his (short-lived) leadership campaign.

He declared that: “Nominally I am a Conservative but I am not very conservative … I am a liberal and a progressive”. He has joined with the Labour Liz Kendall and the Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb to support a stand-alone funding arrangement for health and social care through a reformed National Insurance system in which the taxation is hypothecated.  He supports abortion rights, he is proud of the Cameron legislation on single-sex marriage, and he would now back legalisation of assisted dying.

How can a man with Boles’ background have such eclectic views? I’m sure that it helps that this cerebral politician was a founder of the think tank the Policy Exchange. But I suspect that more personal issues provide the deeper explanation. Boles is gay and and he has survived two serious bouts of cancer. He is a man to watch.



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