Ex-MP Mole looks to future

IPSWICH: Looking fit and relaxed after a quiet summer with his family, Chris Mole is now ready to re-enter the world of work after months of re-adjusting to life outside the Westminster whirl.

Like many of his colleagues, Mr Mole suffered a rapid fall in status during the early hours of May 7 this year.

From being a member of the government with all the trappings that entails – red boxes, officials at his beck and call – he went to being a political also-ran.

His colleagues who retained their seats in parliament remained ministers for a few more days while negotiations went on over the formation of the coalition, but for Mr Mole and those who lost in the election the situation was much more brutal.

He had to hand over his government boxes and keys to the department within hours of losing to Ben Gummer.

But he has not given up hope of returning to Westminster.

He said: “If there is another general election within the next year or two – and that is quite possible if the coalition falls apart – then yes, I would put myself forward to fight again if the party wanted me.

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“If they keep going for the whole five years that they say they will, I shall have to see. I don’t know what I will be doing in five years and, while I may be interested in having another go, I don’t want to commit myself at this stage.”

As we sat in an Ipswich coffee shop (Mr Mole was on fruit juice as he is trying to cut down on caffeine) two or three people came up to him to ask how he was and wish him well.

He has enjoyed the summer with his family.

“I’m not going to leave Ipswich. This is our home and it has been good to spend time with the family – the last two years (when he was a junior transport minister) have been very busy and I’ve been away quite a bit,” he said.

“But now I’m ready to get back to work and I’ve been writing letters and contacting people about that.”

One of Mr Mole’s responsibilities as a junior transport minister was the rail industry – and that is an area that interests him.

“It would be good to find some work in that sort of area, but I am really now seeing what is out there.”

Mr Mole remains convinced that the last Labour government prevented the recession becoming something much worse – and suspects his former boss Gordon Brown will be much more highly-regarded by historians than he is now.

And he is clearly irritated by coalition claims that the economy is in a worse state than they had expected when they took over.

He said: “The actions of Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling prevented a deep recession from becoming a worldwide depression.

“Their leadership of the world governments over the last two years was very important to Britain and the rest of the world.

“And all the indications we have had since the election was that, far from finding the country in a worse state than they expected, in fact the new government found things were not as bad as they had thought.

“Alastair is a bit of a natural pessimist and was basing projections on figures that turned out to be much worse than they actually were so it is a nonsense to say things are worse than the incoming government expected.”