Nick Boles

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Nick Boles
Boles as Minister of State for Skills
Minister of State for Skills
In office
14 July 2014 – 13 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
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
Preceded byGreg Clark (Minister of State)
Succeeded byPenny Mordaunt
Member of Parliament
for Grantham and Stamford
In office
6 May 2010 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byQuentin Davies
Succeeded byGareth Davies
Personal details
Nicholas Edward Coleridge Boles

(1965-11-02) 2 November 1965 (age 54)
Henham, Essex
Political partyIndependent Conservative (2019–present)
Other political
Conservative (until 2019)
EducationMagdalen College, Oxford (BA)
Harvard University (MPP)
WebsiteOfficial website

Nicholas Edward Coleridge Boles (born 2 November 1965) is a British politician who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Grantham and Stamford constituency in Lincolnshire from 2010 to 2019. He was a member of the Conservative Party until 2019. Boles resigned from his local Conservative Association on 16 March 2019 citing differences with his local party. On 1 April 2019, he resigned the party whip, accusing the party of failing to compromise on Brexit. He then sat as an Independent Progressive Conservative until the dissolution of parliament on 5 November.

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 was born on 2 November 1965, the son of Sir Jack Boles, who was later Director-General of the National Trust from 1975 to 1983.[1][2] He is the great-nephew of Conservative MP Dennis Boles.[3]

Boles was a scholar at Winchester College before reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics 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.[4][5]


In 1995, Boles founded a small DIY supply business, Longwall Holdings Limited, where he is the non-executive chairman, having served as its chief executive until 2000. In 1998, he was elected as a Conservative councillor for the West End ward in Westminster City Council. He was chairman of the council's housing committee from 1999 to 2001, before stepping down in 2002.[6]

Boles was considered one of a group of young Conservatives aligned with David Cameron and George Osborne described as the Notting Hill set.[7] He founded the think tank Policy Exchange in 2002 and served as its director until leaving the organisation in 2007.[8]

Boles was the Conservative Party candidate for the Labour-held marginal seat of Hove for the 2005 general election. He received media attention during the 2005 election by being an openly gay Conservative candidate for a winnable seat.[9] However, Celia Barlow retained the seat for Labour. He was a candidate in the Conservative primary for the 2008 London mayoral election but withdrew after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.[7][10]

Boles recovered from his illness, and in October 2007 was selected as the prospective Conservative candidate for Grantham and Stamford, then occupied by Quentin Davies, who had 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 three months.[11] In the second half of 2008, he worked to on preparing the Conservatives for 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 in May 2010 with a majority of 14,826.[12] 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.[13] 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 that he'd prefer to work in education than planning.[13] In August 2014, Boles was appointed Minister for Skills, which included responsibilities for education and construction.[6]

In October 2016, Boles announced that a cancerous tumour had been found in his head and he expected to undergo treatment soon.[14] 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.[15] He announced in April 2017 he would be standing at the 2017 general election.[16] The tumour was eradicated by chemotherapy.[17]

2019 resignation[edit]

On 16 March 2019, Boles resigned from his local Conservative Association after disagreeing with them about his rejection of leaving the EU with no deal. The local association had been considering deselecting him as candidate at the next election, due to the disagreement.[18]

On 1 April 2019, Boles resigned from the Conservative Party following the announcement of the results of the second round of indicative votes on exiting the European Union. He had been a proponent with Oliver Letwin of the "Common Market 2.0" proposal, which failed at 261 - 282 votes, and reportedly felt "furious", "upset" and "let down" by fellow MPs who had promised to vote in support of his proposal, and at party whips who had attempted to persuade MPs to abstain on the proposal despite declaring it to be a free vote.[19] He stated in his resignation speech that:[20]

"I have given everything to an attempt to find a compromise that can take this country out of the European Union while maintaining our economic strength and political cohesion. I accept that I have failed. I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise. I regret, therefore, that I can no longer sit for this party."

He subsequently described himself as sitting as an "Independent Progressive Conservative" before leaving Parliament when it was dissolved ahead of the 12 December 2019 election, which he did not contest.[21][22]

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 conservative fiscal 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.[23][24]

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;[25][26]
  • 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 parenting of young children than the Sure Start programme which he describes as "demonstrably ineffective".[25]

Boles is a member of the Henry Jackson Society, a think tank which advocates an interventionist approach to foreign policy. In 2012, Boles was listed as a participant in that year's Bilderberg Group meeting.[27]

Boles supported the Remain campaign in the European Union membership referendum in 2016.[15] Boles favours a Norway-style relationship between the UK and the EU after Brexit and strongly opposes a no deal Brexit. Boles said "if at any point between now and 29 March [2019] the government were to announce that 'no deal' Brexit had become its policy, I would immediately resign the Conservative whip and vote in any way necessary to stop it from happening."[28]

Boles supports Land Value Tax.[29] As of March 2019 Boles, who had suffered a life-threatening illness before supporting the campaign, is the chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Choice at the End of Life, which believes that terminally ill patients should have the right to an assisted death.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Boles is gay and entered a civil partnership in May 2011.[31][32] Boles claimed £930.60 in Parliamentary expenses for Hebrew lessons so that he could better communicate with his Israeli boyfriend Shay Meshulam.[33][34] Following public criticism, he donated money equivalent to the amount spent on the lessons to three local charities in his constituency.[35]

Boles's sister, Victoria Boles, married Dudley Fishburn, a former member of Parliament.[36]


  • Boles, Nick (2010). Which Way's Up? The future for Coalition Britain and how to get there. Biteback. ISBN 978-1-84954-063-6.
  • Vaizey, Edward; Gove, Michael; Boles, Nicholas (2001). A blue tomorrow. Politico's Pub. ISBN 978-1-84275-027-8.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ MPs related to other current or former Members in the 2017 Parliament, House of Commons Library, 26 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Nick Boles". Conservative Party. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Boles, Nicholas Edward Coleridge, (born 2 Nov. 1965), MP (C) Grantham and Stamford, since 2010 | WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO". doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.001.0001 (inactive 22 January 2020). Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  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". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
  9. ^ Brown, Michael (4 May 2005). "Out in Hove: the candidate who could herald a fresh start for the Tory party". The Independent (commentary).
  10. ^ "Boris considered for London mayor". BBC News. 4 July 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
  11. ^ "Conservative candidate working with London mayor". Grantham Journal. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
  12. ^ Grantham and Stamford, BBC News Election 2010
  13. ^ a b Dominiczak, Peter (11 November 2013). "Controversial planning reforms make Britain a better place, Nick Boles says". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  14. ^ "Tory MP Nick Boles reveals new cancer diagnosis". The Guardian. Press Association. 26 October 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Nick Boles leaves hospital for Brexit vote". BBC News. 7 February 2017. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "Boles 'back to full strength by summer'". 8 May 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2019 – via
  18. ^ "Nick Boles: Tory MP quits local party over Brexit". BBC News. 16 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  19. ^ The Times 2019-04-02 p.6 paragraphs 1-5
  20. ^ Parliamentary video of resignation speech 2019 - Youtube
  21. ^ @NickBoles (1 April 2019). "I am resigning the Conservative whip with immediate effect. The Conservative Party has shown itself to be incapable of compromise so I will sit as an Independent Progressive Conservative" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  22. ^ Newton, Graham (1 November 2019). "Grantham MP Nick Boles will not stand in December's General Election". Grantham Journal. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  23. ^ Wintour, Patrick (19 November 2013). "Revive National Liberals to broaden Tory appeal, says minister". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  24. ^ Fearn, Hannah (22 November 2013). "Why Nick Boles is now the most important person in housing". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ "Rich elderly should lose benefits, says David Cameron ally". BBC News. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  27. ^ "Bilderberg Meetings". 3 June 2012. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  28. ^ Tory MPs could resign whip if no-deal Brexit becomes primary focus The Guardian. 19 December 2018
  29. ^ "Henry George: The Land Value Tax in British Political Culture". 17 May 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  30. ^ "All-Party Parliamentary Group for Choice at the End of Life". Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  31. ^ Sylvester, Rachel (2 February 2002). "Gay Tory who aims to modernise party". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
  32. ^ "Hansard 16 May 2011". Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  33. ^ Savage, Michael (10 August 2012). "MP claims £678 for Hebrew lessons after marrying Israeli partner". The Times. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  34. ^ Julien, Cyril (10 August 2012). "British lawmaker with Israeli partner studies Hebrew at taxpayers' expense". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  35. ^ Lyons, James (3 August 2013). "Millionaire Tory minister Jeremy Hunt learns lover's lingo...costing taxpayer £4,000". The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  36. ^ "Interview: Nick Boles – Civil Service World".

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

Succeeded by
Gareth Davies