Stamford MP says he was first to describe Tories as 'the nasty party'
Nick Boles has said he was the first to describe the Conservatives as “the nasty party.”
The Stamford MP also accuses the party of a lurch to the right, and “returning to deeply Conservative, shading into reactionary instincts.”
He also says in 1997 he toyed with joining New Labour and today: “I’ve imagined leaving (the Tories) a number of times.”
Now, he says working with Yvette Cooper and other Labour MPs to prevent a no deal Brexit has given him cross-party friendships he’d “never had before.”
The MP made comments in an interview with London’s Evening Standard where he also warns Brexit will finish off our current leaders.
The interview comes as the MP faces mounting anger locally over his efforts to prevent a no deal Brexit, the most popular of the various Brexit options amongst Conservative party members.
In it the MP, who has a husband, recalls the last time he also faced a deselection threat in Grantham and Stamford was over the issue of gay marriage.
Mr Boles told yesterday's (Friday) Evening Standard he called the Tories “the nasty party” in 2002 because he was a young councillor aged 28 and party policy then was to support Section 28 rules that discriminated against gays.
The expression was later made famous by Theresa May that year in a conference speech when she said: “You know what some people call us...the nasty party.”
Later in 2014, David Cameron legalised gay marriage, but the MP doubts the party would today.
Mr Boles also spoke of experiencing homophobia in the Tory Party as he sought selection in Devon.
Politically, he describes himself as a moderniser, a progressive and disruptor who “likes stirring things up.”
Whilst he has imagined leaving the Tories, he says he's "never looked at labour, the Lib-Dems or SNP and been even tempted to join."
Michael Gove is his “best friend” though David Cameron is closer to him politically.
But he cannot see Gove as leader.
“The way the political class has mishandled brexit will finish off the current generation of leaders for good. Voters will want fresh faces untainted by association with the referendum or the Brexit negotiations.”
Mr Boles also argued that while parties should “never lose touch with their base” there should always be “tension.”
He added: “Listen, understand, talk and engage with them, but equally never stop challenging. It has to be a relationship of respectful tension. You have to say: ‘The world is changing, society is changing, generations are growing up, we need to understand them.’”
*Nick Boles will be speaking at an open meeting next Friday in Stamford.
Tickets can be booked here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/open-meeting-with-nick-boles-mp-tickets-55649566351.