INSIGHT PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Francis Maude, MP

Francis Maude was one of the key lieutenants that drove through the Conservative Party re-branding exercise following David Cameron's election as Conservative Party leader.

It was Maude that had the job of implementing some of the more controversial ideas such as the parliamentary candidates ‘A List’.  Almost inevitably, these ideas invoked concern amongst traditional ‘old guard’ warriors and it required a steady hand, significant experience and impeccable negotiating skills to avoid rebellion – something Maude possessed in abundance.  Those skills were recognised by Cameron and were one of the reasons behind Maude’s move to Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, his current role.

Francis Maude entered Parliament in 1983 as MP for North Warwickshire after a career in the legal profession.  He was a minister in Margaret Thatcher’s Government during the late 1980’s – firstly in the Department for Trade and Industry and then the Foreign Office.  Maude’s final job was a Financial Secretary to the Treasury between 1990 and 1992.

After losing his seat in 1992, Francis Maude worked in the banking sector before re-entering Parliament in 1997 after being selected for the safe Conservative seat of Horsham in West Sussex.  The then Conservative Party leader, William Hague, quickly appointed him Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport before promoting him first to Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1998 and subsequently Shadow Foreign Secretary.  With General Election defeat in 2001 and the election of Iain Duncan Smith as the new Conservative Party leader, Francis Maude moved to the backbenchers until the election of Michael Howard as Party leader, when he returned to the frontline.

As Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Francis Maude is a vital member of Cameron’s team preparing the Conservatives for Government.  He is working with a variety of senior and up-and-coming Conservative Party figures, most notably the hugely impressive and highly talented Nick Boles – co-founder of Policy Exchange, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Grantham and Stanford (Quentin Willets seat) and former interim Chief of Staff to Boris Johnson.  Maude and Boles are designing the framework to implement Conservative policy proposals should they win the next General Election. Last year, Cameron called for senior civil servants to meet with his implementation team to discuss a transition – something that normally happens in the build up to an election, not years beforehand.

Regarded as an extremely intelligent and hardworking, Francis Maude describes himself as being in the teatime of his career.  With dinner approaching, he is an experienced and battle-hardened operator who still has a huge part to play in not only getting the Conservatives into Downing Street, but keeping them in there once they have the keys.

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