Farewell to all my constituents - and thank you
Column by Nick Boles
At midnight on Guy Fawkes Day Parliament was dissolved and, after nine and a half years, my stint as your Member of Parliament ended.
This will be my last column in the Journal. And I only really have one thing I want to say. Thank you.
Thank you to the readers of the Journal who have put up with my witless burbling on these pages every fortnight.
Thank you to all those who live in Grantham, Stamford and Bourne and the villages in between for accepting me as your MP even when you didn’t vote for me, and, in particular, for supporting me for the year when I was seriously ill with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and wasn’t able to visit the constituency at all.
Thank you also to the members of the local Conservative association who took a risk on me back in 2007 and may have come to regret it.
I am sorry that our relationship had to end the way it did. I still think that there is more that unites than divides us. Fundamentally we all love our country and want the best for it.
The endless wrangling over Brexit has forced us all to ask a very important question. What do people want from their MPs?
Do they want someone who will slavishly follow the demands of their party leaders and activists?
Or do they want someone who will put country before party and conviction before career, and stand up for what they believe to be in the national interest?
I chose the latter course to the dismay of local Conservatives, and have paid a high price by forfeiting the job I loved.
But I have no regrets. Sheep farmers are still in business in Lincolnshire and across the land because the ‘no deal’ Brexit that was threatened, and the punitive export tariffs that would have followed it, have been prevented.
Automotive manufacturers like Grantham’s own Autocraft have not had to lay off workers because the actions of Parliament forced the Prime Minister to agree a Brexit deal and the just-in-time supply chains upon which that vital industry relies have, for now at least, been maintained.
I would like to have finished the job and seen Britain leave the EU with a deal on my watch.
That task falls to my successor now and I wish them well.
I have played my part.