Grantham MP Nick Boles talks about his new role as planning minister

Nick Boles Grantham MP
Nick Boles Grantham MP
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MP Nick Boles has been promoted to a ministerial position as part of the Prime Minister’s cabinet reshuffle.

The Grantham and Stamford MP was called by PM David Cameron yesterday (Wednesday), a day that saw many politicians lose and gain ministerial and cabinet roles.

Mr Boles’ new title is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, with planning and development as his brief.

He told the Journal: “The Prime Minister asked me and appointed me at around five o’clock. The newspapers had already said I’d been appointed so I spent the day hoping desperately that he wouldn’t change his mind before he actually called.”

Mr Boles, 46, said he was “excited but nervous” about the challenges ahead, describing his responsibilities under planning and development as “absolutely critical” to getting the economy moving, the “biggest problem” facing the country at this time.

He added: “If everything gets gummed up in the works, so to speak, we can’t build new factories and sheds and new offices and shops, and we can’t get any new houses built.

“We’ve seen what’s happened with the construction industry. I’ve had people from small building firms in Grantham in touch and they’re having a tough time. Development is critical.”

Mr Boles said he has no career plan, and that he is simply happy to have been appointed to a ministerial role.

He said: “This might be the last ministerial job I ever have, so I intend to make the most of it.

“I got into politics to make things better and now I’ve got an opportunity to do this on a bigger scale as well as in my constituency.

“It will be very challenging.”

When asked about his previous radical comments on planning reform, Mr Boles replied: “I can come up with the ideas but I don’t make the policy, the cabinet does, and I’ll support the policy.”

** In other news, Journal readers were outraged when it was revealed last month that Grantham’s MP claimed back £678.80 in parliamentary expenses for Hebrew lessons.

This week, MP Nick Boles has revisited the topic in his fortnightly column, where he announces he has made charitable donations totalling the £2,115 cost of his Hebrew lessons. One recipient is Home-Start Grantham.

Mr Boles maintains that his decision to take language lessons was “entirely proper”, but decided to donate the money to charity put paid to any doubts about his integrity.