Driver of civil service reform says he will retire after 27 years in parliament
The ministerial godfather of the government's digital programme has announced plans to step down as an MP. Francis Maude, who has held the post of Cabinet Office minister longer than any other incumbent for decades, told his constituents over the weekend that "27 years is a long time to serve as a member of parliament, and I believe now is the right time to make way for a younger candidate".
Maude, 62, qualified as a barrister and was first elected to parliament in 1983, serving in the cabinets of prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major. Under the coalition he took on the job of Cabinet Office minister in charge of the government machine - stating that he had no other ministerial ambitions. Under the previous Labour and Conservative governments, the job had been something of a revolving door, going to individuals seen as high fliers but who rarely remained in post for enough time to make an impression.
Among other achievements, Maude will be remembered for aggressively renegotiating major IT contracts, setting up the Government Digital Service and committing the government to open data. Analyst Georgina O'Toole of TechMarketView said that Maude "has been a the centre of this government's efficiency reforms", achieving £20bn in efficiency savings this parliament. However she noted: "There have also been decisions made that have been controversial. Both the sustainability of the savings and the longevity of the reforms have been called into question."
Pictured: Francis Maude by Paul Clarke © | paulclarke.com