HORSHAM MP Francis Maude has reaffirmed his party’s commitment to radical reform as a national newspaper labelled him today’s most-influential Tory.
Mr Maude made comments this week to Policy Research, a centre-right think tank he helped found a decade ago, supporting same-sex marriage, current NHS reforms, inclusiveness and enterprise in British society.
In a week when the Archbishop of Westminster invoked the perils of same-sex marriage, Mr Maude repeated the story of his brother whose death brought him to question Section 28.
He explained: “I have spoken before of how my brother’s untimely death from AIDS brought home to me that Section 28, legislated for honest motives, had come to represent an attitude of intolerance that alienated a multitude of decent citizens with Conservative instincts who saw us as hostile to them.”
While the Conservative party had made itself more inclusive, he said there were still concerns, even though he strongly defended their vision of a future Britain over Labour’s.
“For 13 years Labour thought they knew best. They thought that a narrow Whitehall elite knew best. They didn’t trust people. They wouldn’t give people real choice over how they should run their lives. They patronised people and smothered everyone in a bubblewrap of bureaucracy,” he said.
“Labour’s nanny state sought to mollycoddle and to micro-manage from cradle to grave. But a controlled people can never be free. And that’s why Conservatives needed to break down the concentrated power of the state and through decentralisation return power to the people.”
He argued that a strong society rested on strong and independent populace
“No longer should we be imprisoned by a binary choice between public services being delivered by bureaucratic monolithic public sector monopolies on the one hand; and or straight outsourcing or privatisation to commercial providers on the other,” he explained.