Francis Maude

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Former minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude at the 10 Steps to Cyber Security event in London, 5 September 2012.
"[O]ne of the things that Thatcher regretted was not pushing ahead vigorously enough, and quickly enough, in terms of reform. …
By contrast we have prepared very carefully. So we are well equipped to hit the ground running."
- Francis Maude [1]

Francis Anthony Aylmer Maude (Lord Maude of Horsham) (born 4 July 1953) is a UK Conservative Party peer who was a government minister from 2010-2015 and is co-founder of the influential right-wing think-tank Policy Exchange.

Maude was MP for North Warwickshire (1983 to 1992) and Horsham (1997 to 2015). He did not contest his seat at the 2015 general election[2] and was replaced by Jeremy Quin.[3]

Since leaving government Maude has taken up a series of private sector posts, most controversially as a senior adviser with Covington & Burling LLP, a business and corporate law firm that works extensively in Europe. He 'will be assisting the firm and its clients as they navigate complexities around Brexit'.

Key ministerial posts

Maude was the minister for the Cabinet Office and the Paymaster General from 2010 until May 2015 [4]

On 11 May 2015 Maude was appointed as a minister of state for trade and investment in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.[5] He also occupies the same position for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[6]

On 26 May 2015 he was made Lord Maude of Horsham, a Conservative peer in the House of Lords.[7]


Maude is the son of Sir Angus Maude, Conservative MP for Ealing South 1950-58; and for Stratford-on-Avon 1963-83.[8]

A barrister by training, Maude was first elected to Parliament in 1983 as MP for North Warwickshire and from 1987 to 1992 was successively Minister for Corporate and Consumer Affairs at the DTI, Minister of State at the Foreign Office and Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Following the 1997 election, he was Shadow Secretary for Media, Culture and Sport from 1997 to 1998, Shadow Chancellor from 1998 to 2000 and Shadow Foreign Secretary from 2000 to 2001.

In 2001, Maude also was Michael Portillo's campaign manager for the Conservative Party's leadership. [9] Dubbed ‘Portillistas’ by Westminster commentators, Portillo’s backers saw themselves as modernisers of an out of touch party which had put off potential voters through its negativity, xenophobia and social conservatism. Portillo withdrew from the Conservative leadership race on the evening of 17 July 2001 and subsequently announced that he would leave politics. Only days later, another of Portillo's backers Archie Norman, who Maude had worked with at Asda, told the Daily Telegraph’s Rachel Sylvester that he and other Portillo supporters were planning to set up a think-tank. [10]

Maude and Norman emerged as leaders of the ‘Portillistas’. They decided to set up two seperate think-tanks as part of their modernisation project. One, XChange Ideas or simply XChange, would be rebranded as Policy Exchange a few months later. A company limited by guarantee, formed in October 2001, became XChange Ideas on 9 November 2001. A seperate company Conservatives for Change was also was set up that October, and was branded CChange. Maude was a director of CChange (which has since been dissolved) from October 2001 to August 2006.

Maude was appointed to the board of directors of Huntsworth in May 2005, following the merger with Incepta Group plc. He is chairman of the Nominations Committee. He is currently chairman of Prestbury Holdings plc, deputy chairman of Benfield Group Limited, chairman of the Jubilee Investment Trust plc and has been non executive chairman of Incepta Group plc since 2004. From 1992 to 1999, he was a non executive director of Asda Group; and Gartmore Shared Equity Trust from 1997 to 1999. From 1992 to 1993, he was director of Salomon Brothers and a managing director of Morgan Stanley & Co Limited from 1993 to 1997.

Revolving door

Anvest Partners

Having stepped down as minister for trade and investment in March 2016, Lord Maude sought the advice of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA) regarding a new part-time role as an advisory board member for Anvest Partners, a new real estate investment company. The role was to advise Anvest's executives on strategy, investors and investment.

ACOBA contacted Maude's former departments to take their views into account and no concerns were raised. He was allowed to take up the role providing he serve a two year lobbying ban from his final day in office and did not use any privileged information from his time in government. His appointment was confirmed in April 2016.

Cogent Elliott Group Ltd

Maude sought ACOBA's advice again in October 2016 for the role of non-executive chairman of the advertising agency Cogent Elliott Group Ltd. This part time and paid role would involve providing strategic leadership and mediation with clients. The committee found that the company had no relation to his political career or former department, and would not involve any contact with government.

Covington & Burling LLP

Brexit badge.png Part of the Powerbase Brexit Portal.

Maude sought advice a third time for the role of senior adviser with Covington & Burling LLP, a business and corporate law firm that works extensively in Europe and employs more than 120 former government officials, diplomats and regulators. The role would involve providing advice to the firm and its clients on policy and regulatory issues, particularly surrounding Brexit. ACOBA again found that it would not involve contact with government, and the firm had no relation to his political career or former department. The appointment was approved the same month. [11]

A spokesperson for Covington said that Maude 'will be assisting the firm and its clients as they navigate complexities around Brexit'. It is one of many law and financial firms that have begun to set up advisory units on how their commercial interests will be affected by Brexit, and how to understand and shape UK policy outside of the EU. [12]

On his appointment, Maude said: 'there is no doubt that the next few years will be pivotal, not only for the future of the United Kingdom and UK businesses, but also for many European, American and international companies operating in the interconnected, global economy. Covington’s reputation in the government affairs and regulatory arena is second to none, and I am very pleased to be joining this dynamic team.' [13] While ACOBA's recommendation barred Maude from personally lobbying government on the company's behalf, it does not prevent him on advising others how to do so. Covington does not disclose any clients on the UK’s statutory lobbying registers.

The appointment was criticised for showing a 'disgraceful' conflict of interests and comes amid continued pressure on the government to prevent former ministers from taking up private sector roles where their contacts and insider knowledge may be exploited. [14]


  • Member of Advisory Board, OakNorth Bank, 11 September 2016 - present. He had launched the bank in 2015. 'Oaknorth specialises in funding small business, particularly those which it calls 'growth businesses' – those which have the potential to expand rapidly, but which it believes have been underserved by the big banks on the high street.' [15] His appointment to the advisory board was approved by ACOBA in August 2016.
  • Partner, Francis Maude Associates llp (FMA) (Member's consultancy set up to provide advice to overseas governments on various issues, focused especially around efficiency and deficit reduction) [16]

'From Tory reaction to Conservative confection'

An article for the left-wing magazine Red Pepper states:

Conservative Party chairman Francis Maude is in charge of the Tory dressing up box and the driving force behind David Cameron’s costume change. Maude’s career shows the links between the old Tory reaction and the new Conservative confection. Maude hands out the new touchy feely Tory costumes now but he was an old-fashioned minister back in the days when the Conservatives were in government.

Thatcher gave him a junior foreign office post, where his first big success was organising the forcible repatriation of Vietnamese ‘boat people’ from Hong Kong. In 1989, he got riot police to force the Vietnamese refugees back to the ‘red’ country they had fled, while the Thatcher government continued to shout about ‘freedom’ and proclaim its opposition to totalitarian communism.

As a Treasury minister in John Major’s government, Maude was a top privatiser. Major says that in 1991 Maude ran ‘a series of head-to-head meetings, or bilaterals, with departmental ministers in which he would challenge them on their plans for privatisation, competition and contracting out’. The electorate kicked Maude out of parliament in 1992, so he took a job as head of privatisation at Morgan Stanley bank, which profited from these same policies.

Maude was re-elected in 1997 and rebranded himself a ‘moderniser’. In 2003 he signed the letter that brought an end to Iain Duncan Smith’s leadership of the party. While Duncan Smith was too Neanderthal for Maude, he was happy to be party chairman when the equally right wing but less stupid Michael Howard led the Tories.

Maude also launched a think tank, called C-Change, to promote Tory ‘modernisation’. It is the sister organisation of Policy Exchange, David Cameron’s favourite think-tank, which Maude set up with Archie Norman in 2002.

C-Change shows how the Conservative milieu has changed. Dougie Smith, one of the leading lights of Maude’s think tank also organised ‘fever parties’, upmarket orgies for the adventurous yuppie. The revelation caused some embarrassment, but not much: these new generation Tory swingers showed that the Tories have moved on, morally – although not that much. While Maude stood by sex-party Smith, he recently assured local Tory associations that he would not impose ‘mincing metrosexual’ candidates on ‘gritty northern’ seats.

Maude has given up some bigotries, but he has not moved on economically. Rather than moving to the left, he hopes to benefit from Labour’s move to the right. Maude praised Blair’s politics, saying, ‘One of the great achievements of New Labour is to take class out of politics.’

Maude’s strategy is to give his party a makeover to remove its obviously reactionary twitches. Take out the obvious prejudice but leave the basic politics intact. Maude believes Labour’s business-friendly approach means the Conservatives cannot be challenged for championing the rich and powerful.

In his keynote speech setting out the Conservative agenda to parliament, Maude admitted that the public thought Tory plans for privatisation were ‘aimed at enriching sinister business interests’. Because the public looked at ‘commercial providers’ in the NHS with suspicion, the plan to hand over the welfare state to big business ‘is unlikely to be achieved by one party working alone’.

However, Maude was pleased to admit that Labour MPs ‘such as Alan Milburn and Stephen Byers … are willing to argue publicly’ for privatisation. While the old Tories, like Iain Duncan Smith, reacted to Labour’s shift rightwards by trying to find even more reactionary policies to distinguish themselves, the modernisers simply welcome Blairism and hope to take over the job when Blair goes.

Maude certainly puts business first. Until earlier this year he was chairman of a PR Firm, called Incepta. Maude was not worried that one of its subsidiaries, Citigate, donated thousands of pounds to the Labour Party: Citigate represented privatisers like Group 4, so Maude’s firm needed to pay cash to the governing party to represent its clients. Business trumps politics.

Maude has helped run Cameron’s modernising campaign, like the Tory leader’s recent speech claiming he would put ‘commercial responsibility before profits’, and castigating sweety makers for adding to Britain’s obesity crisis. While Cameron takes on the chocolate oranges, Frances Maude is chairman of the Mission Marketing Group. Maude’s new company is an ad agency whose clients include Walkers Crisps and Virgin Cola. [17]

Special advisers



C-Change | Politeia | Policy Exchange


  1. Patrick Wintour, 'Coalition is more radical than Thatcher government, says senior Tory minister',, 30 July 2010.
  2. Rowena Mason Francis Maude to step down as MP after three decades in parliament Guardian, 1 February 2015, accessed 11 May 2015.
  3. BBC News [Horsham, accessed 11 May 2015.
  4. Her Majesty’s Government,, accessed 12 May 2010.
  5. Francis Maude Profile Gov.UK, accessed 25 September 2015
  6. Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Our MinistersGov.UK, accessed 25 September 2015
  7. Parliament.UK Lord Maude of Horsham, accessed 4 June 2015.
  8. Sarah Priddy, PIL: Current Members Related to Other Current or Former Members - Commons Library Standard Note, 13 September 2013.
  9. Andy Beckett, 'What can they be thinking?', Guardian, 26 September 2008, p. 10.
  10. Rachel Sylvester, ‘Norman still selling Portillo's dream’, Daily Telegraph, 21 July 2001.
  11. Summary of Business Appointments Applications Lord Maude of Horsham,, accessed 8 June 2016
  12. Tamasin Cave, Lobbying looms over Theresa May’s government. She must tackle it now, Spinwatch, 26 August 2016, accessed 21 October 2016.
  13. Ian Griggs, Lord Francis Maude appointed by Covington as senior advisor for public policy, PR Week, 10 October 2016, accessed 21 October 2016.
  14. Rajeev Syal and Matthew Weaver, Ex-minister Francis Maude takes Brexit advisory job at law firm, The Guardian, 11 October 2016, accessed 21 October 2016.
  15. Tim Wallace, Oaknorth Bank set to hire Lord Francis Maude, The Telegraph, 31 JULY 2016. Accessed 21 October 2016.
  16. Lord Maude of Horsham, UK Parliament, accessed 21 October 2016.
  17. Solomon Hughes, 'From Tory reaction to Conservative confection', Red Pepper, September 2006.