On parliamentarians talented, vainglorious, entertaining and anarchic

Date:

By BAGEHOT

NICK BOLES’S dramatic resignation from the Conservative Party on Monday April 1st—he announced that was leaving the party and marched out of the chamber upon learning that a bill he had sponsored had fallen badly short of the votes it needed—is a significant moment in the transformation of the Tories from a pragmatic ruling party into a vehicle for nationalist populism. Mr Boles was a key figure in David Cameron’s modernisation project. He was one of the first openly gay Tories to win a seat (and not just any seat but Margaret Thatcher’s home town of Grantham to boot); a founder of Policy Exchange, the intellectual engine of Tory modernisation; and a man who, with his Winchester, Oxford and Harvard credentials, turned down much more lucrative occupations in order to go into public life. Any party that loses high-quality people such as Mr Boles while empowering people like Mark Francois is in big trouble.

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