Nick Boles

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Nick Boles

Minister of State for Skills
In office
14 July 2014 – 13 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Sec. of StateVince Cable
Sajid Javid
Preceded byMatthew Hancock
Succeeded byRobert Halfon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
In office
5 September 2012 – 14 July 2014
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Sec. of StateEric Pickles
Preceded byGreg Clark (Minister of State)
Succeeded byPenny Mordaunt
Member of Parliament
for Grantham and Stamford
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byQuentin Davies
Majority20,094 (35.5%)
Personal details
Nicholas Edward Coleridge Boles

(1965-11-02) 2 November 1965 (age 53)
Political partyConservative
Alma materMagdalen College, Oxford
Harvard University
WebsiteOfficial website

Nicholas Edward Coleridge Boles (born 2 November 1965[1]) is a British Conservative Party politician who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Grantham and Stamford constituency in Lincolnshire. Boles served as Minister of State for Skills from 2014 to 2016. Before entering Parliament he was a Westminster City councillor and the Director of Policy Exchange, a think tank based in Westminster.

Early life[edit]

Boles is the son of Sir Jack Boles, the Head of the National Trust from 1975 to 1983,[2][3] and the great-nephew of Conservative MP Dennis Boles.[4]

Boles was a scholar at Winchester College before studying PPE at Magdalen College, Oxford, then winning a Kennedy Scholarship to study for a Master's in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.[5]


In 1995, he founded a small DIY supply business, Longwall Holdings Limited, where he is non-executive chairman, having served as the chief executive until 2000. In 1998, he was elected to Westminster City Council for the West End ward comprising Mayfair and Soho. He was chairman of the Housing Committee from 1999 to 2001, before stepping down in 2002.[6] During much of this time, Boles shared a flat with fellow Conservative activists Michael Gove and Ivan Massow.[citation needed]

He and Gove, along with fellow MPs Ed Vaizey, David Cameron, George Osborne and Rachel Whetstone, were often described as being the Conservative Party's 'Notting Hill Set'.[7] He founded the think tank Policy Exchange in 2002 and served as the Director until leaving the organisation in 2007 to avoid a potential conflict of interest.[8]

Boles was the Conservative Party candidate for the Labour-held marginal seat of Hove for the May 2005 general election. He received some media attention during 2005 election by being an openly gay Conservative candidate for a winnable seat. However, Celia Barlow retained the seat for Labour. The share of the Conservative vote fell by two percent. He was a candidate in the Conservative primary for the London mayoral election, 2008 but withdrew after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.[7][9]

Boles recovered from his illness and in October 2007 was selected as the prospective Conservative candidate to contest Grantham and Stamford, the seat occupied by Quentin Davies, who switched allegiance from the Conservatives to Labour earlier in 2007.[7] In May 2008, he was appointed as the Chief of Staff for the new Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson for a period of three months.[10] In the later half of 2008, he started work on preparing the Conservatives for potential government by meeting senior civil servants to discuss how to implement Conservative policies if they won the next general election.[8]

He was elected as member for Grantham and Stamford on 6 May 2010 with a majority of 14,826 votes.[11] He was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Schools Minister, Nick Gibb in 2010.[citation needed]

Boles was Minister for Planning between November 2012 and August 2014[6] He introduced a "presumption for sustainable development" aimed at making new housing development easier, which required councils to create local plans identifying areas that were suitable for further building.[12] In a November 2013 speech, at a conference fringe meeting, he argued that despite their unpopularity the reforms were "making the world a slightly better place", but told Conservative Party activists if he was still planning minister after the next election they should shoot him.[12] In August 2014 Boles was appointed Minister for Skills, which included responsibilities for education and construction.[6]

On 26 October 2016, Boles announced that a cancerous tumour been had found in his head and he expected to undergo treatment soon.[13] The following February, he took a trip out of hospital after a third round of chemotherapy in order to vote for the government's bill on withdrawal from the European Union.[14] He announced on 19 April 2017 he would be standing at the 2017 general election. Although his successful treatment has finished, he does not expect to have fully recovered until the end of the summer.[15]

Policy positions[edit]

Boles speaking in 2013

Boles has called for the forming of a "National Liberal" faction within the Conservative Party formed of social liberals with fiscal conservative views, and suggested some Conservative candidates might benefit from running for election under that name to win over voters who did not consider themselves Conservatives.[16][17]

In July 2012 Boles used a speech at the Resolution Foundation think tank to call for:

  • An end to winter fuel payments, free prescriptions, free bus travel and free TV licences for better-off pensioners from 2015;[18][19]
  • A postponement of deciding on full implementation of Andrew Dilnot’s solution to the future funding of social care until the next Comprehensive Spending Review;
  • A cut of £10.5 billion from welfare bills by 2016/17 and devising a better solution to support good parenting of young children than the Sure Start programme which in the speech he says is "demonstrably ineffective".[18]

Boles is a member of the Cambridge-based think tank the Henry Jackson Society, which advocates a pro-active approach to the spread of democracy in the world. In 2012 Boles was listed as being a participant in that year's Bilderberg Group meeting.[20]

Boles supported the Remain campaign in the European Union membership referendum in 2016[14] and is also a supporter of Land Value Tax.[21] He is the current chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Choice at the End of Life who believe that terminally ill patients should have the right to an assisted death.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Boles is gay,[23] and in May 2011, he entered a civil partnership, as noted in his contribution to the parliamentary debate on the Middle East on 16 May 2011.[24] Boles claimed £679 in Parliamentary expenses for Hebrew lessons so that he could talk to his partner, Israeli Shay Meshulam.[25][26][27] Following public criticism he donated money equivalent to the amount spent on the lessons, to three local charities in his constituency.

He is the brother-in-law of former Conservative MP Dudley Fishburn.


  • Boles, Nick (2010), Which Way's Up? The future for Coalition Britain and how to get there, Biteback, ISBN 1-84954-063-2
  • Vaizey, Edward; Gove, Michael; Boles, Nicholas (2001), A blue tomorrow, Politico's Pub, ISBN 978-1-84275-027-8


  1. ^ "Nicholas Boles MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  2. ^ Watt, Nicholas (13 September 2012). "Free up green-belt land for new housing, says Policy Exchange". The Guardian. London, UK.
  3. ^ "Remember YOUR roots, Mr Boles? New planning minister grew up in glorious countryside... but won't say green belt is sacrosanct". Daily Mail. London, UK.
  4. ^ Boles family genealogy site,; accessed 8 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Nick Boles". Conservative Party. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Boles, Nick. "Nick Boles". UK.Gov. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Nick Boles selected to fight Thatcher seat". Pink News. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
  8. ^ a b Hencke, David (7 June 2008). "Thinkers behind fresh Tory policies move up in party hierarchy". London, UK: The Guardian. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
  9. ^ "Boris considered for London mayor". BBC News. 4 July 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
  10. ^ "Conservative candidate working with London mayor". Grantham Journal. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
  11. ^ Grantham and Stamford, BBC News Election 2010
  12. ^ a b Dominiczak, Peter (11 November 2013). "Controversial planning reforms make Britain a better place, Nick Boles says". Telegraph. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Tory MP Nick Boles reveals new cancer diagnosis". The Guardian. Press Association. 26 October 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Nick Boles leaves hospital for Brexit vote". BBC News. 7 February 2017. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  15. ^ Horton, Helena (19 April 2017). "Nick Boles MP: 'My cancer has been eradicated and I am standing for election'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  16. ^ Wintour, Patrick (19 November 2013). "Revive National Liberals to broaden Tory appeal, says minister". Guardian. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  17. ^ Fearn, Hannah (22 November 2013). "Why Nick Boles is now the most important person in housing". Guardian. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Key Cameron Ally Calls for end to universal benefits for better-off pensioners" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 June 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  19. ^ "BBC News - Rich elderly should lose benefits, says David Cameron ally". 10 July 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  20. ^ "Bilderberg Meetings". 3 June 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  21. ^ "Henry George: The Land Value Tax in British Political Culture |". 2012-05-17. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  22. ^ "All-Party Parliamentary Group for Choice at the End of Life". Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  23. ^ Sylvester, Rachel (2 February 2002). "Gay Tory who aims to modernise party". Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
  24. ^ "Hansard 16 May 2011". Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  25. ^ Savage, Michael (10 August 2012). "MP claims £678 for Hebrew lessons after marrying Israeli partner". Times. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  26. ^
  27. ^

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Non-profit organization positions
New office Director of Policy Exchange
Succeeded by
Anthony Browne
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Quentin Davies
Member of Parliament
for Grantham and Stamford