Hello. My name is Nick Boles and I live in Stamford.
Family and farming
I grew up as the youngest in a large family and have fourteen nephews and nieces so I know all about competing for attention! With a bit of luck, this will come in handy as your MP.
My parents live on the family sheep farm in Devon. 300 hundred acres of heavy clay soil divided into small fields by high banks with hedges on top. It's a far cry from big fields of Lincolnshire silt that are a modern tractor driver's dream. But, like so much of the English countryside, it owes its preservation to the dedication and commitment of generations of English farmers.
After school, I spent nearly a year teaching English and Bible Studies in a small Methodist secondary school in the middle of the bush in Zimbabwe. It is heart-breaking to see what Robert Mugabe's brutal leadership has done to a country that I remember as beautiful, fertile and full of potential.
Before starting work, I spent 3 years at Oxford studying politics, philosophy and economics and was awarded a first class degree. I then won a Kennedy Scholarship and spent 2 years at Harvard University in the US studying the practical application of public policy.
Unlike so many MPs today, I didn't go straight into a job in politics. I worked for a few years in Germany, Russia and Eastern Europe, helping state-owned industries prepare for private ownership. I then set up my own business with a friend and spent over 5 years running one of the UK's leading suppliers of paint brushes, rollers and decorating tools to the DIY industry.
Doing business was hard. We were caught between powerful customers like B&Q on the one side and cut-throat competition from Chinese importers on the other. But we survived and the business is now part of a larger European group.
My business career did not make me rich. But I learned a huge amount about managing people, dealing with suppliers and keeping control of the company's finances. I also saw how small interventions by government can handicap British businesses' ability to compete in a global market.
In 1998, I made my first venture into the political world and was elected as local councillor in London. There I was appointed the Chairman of the Housing Committee and succeeded in bringing down the number of people housed at huge cost in B&Bs because of the lack of permanent accommodation.
My biggest achievement in politics so far has been to set up and run Policy Exchange, which is now the largest and most influential policy research institute on the centre right. While I was its director, Policy Exchange devised policies to make police forces more accountable to local people, to expand the number of places in good schools and to give local communities incentives to build more houses. We also exposed the activities of Islamic extremists in some mosques in the UK and their effect on the attitudes of young British Muslims. Many of our ideas have been adopted by the Coalition Government. I was appointed Planning Minister in October 2012, In the 2014 re-shuffle I was moved to Minister of State for Skills.
Since my election as the Member of Parliament for Grantham and Stamford, I have been spending Monday to Thursdays at the House of Commons and Fridays and weekends in Lincolnshire. I hold regular surgeries in Grantham, Stamford and Bourne on either Friday evenings or Saturday mornings and if you would like to arrange an appointment, please contact the Constituency Office on 01476 978121. You will find my contact details on the "Contact Nick", just in case you wish to contact me.