I’ll do all I can to help Labour succeed, says ex-Tory minister

Nick Boles
Nick Boles is offering informal advice to shadow ministers on the transition to power - Matt Writtle/Eyevine

A former Tory minister and arch-Remainer has vowed to do everything he can to help Labour succeed as he advises Sir Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet on preparing for power.

Nick Boles, who quit the Conservative Party five years ago over its “refusal to compromise” on Brexit, is helping Labour get ready for government, with a general election expected in the autumn.

The former skills minister, who served under Lord Cameron, voted Labour in the 2022 local elections and went on to endorse Sir Keir and Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, arguing that they “best fit the bill”.

He is now offering informal advice to shadow ministers on the transition to power, and told The Telegraph: “I hope Keir Starmer is able to form a government after the next election. I want to do whatever I can to help a Labour administration succeed.”

The arrangement, first reported by Politics Home, shows that Mr Boles has completely cut ties with the Tories.

‘We’d inherit complete mess from Tories’

A Labour source told the website that “leaning on the expertise” of people such as Mr Boles was an “important” part of preparations, adding: “Keir’s priority when he became leader was to change the Labour Party and put it back in the service of working people.

“It speaks to the progress of those changes that former Conservatives – including former ministers – are now switching to Labour. While there’s still much work to be done to win a general election, we owe it to the public to ensure we’re prepared to govern given we’d inherit a complete mess from the Tories.”

Mr Boles helped Lord Cameron with his preparations for office in the run-up to the 2010 election. Prior to that, he had served as Boris Johnson’s chief of staff while Mr Johnson was mayor of London.

He resigned from his local Tory association in March 2019 after grassroots activists considered deselecting him over his opposition to a no-deal Brexit.

He quit the Conservative Party on the floor of the Commons two weeks later after MPs voted down his plans for a softer exit from the EU, which were described as “Common Market 2.0”.

He said at the time: “I have given everything to an attempt to find a compromise that can take this country out of the European Union while maintaining our economic strength and our political cohesion. I accept I have failed. I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise. I regret therefore to announce I can no longer sit for this party.”