By Tim Montgomerie
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For the second time in a year a ConservativeHome blogger has won a prestigious award. Last year Graeme Archer won the Orwell Prize for Blogging.
This year I'm delighted to report that my co-editor Paul Goodman has been recognised in the new PoliticsHome Awards. Facing stiff competition from the three other nominees – Political Scrapbook's Laurence Durnan, The Telegraph's James Kirkup and Channel 4's Gary Gibbon – Paul has just been named as the Political Blogger of the Year.
Regular readers of ConservativeHome will not need much explanation. Paul is a must-read across Westminster because he has a rare combination of gifts. He is an accomplished journalist having served as Comment Editor of The Telegraph until 2001. He then became a Tory MP, serving the people of Wycombe for two terms until 2010. In those years he helped Tory leaders prepare for PMQs, was involved on the inside of leadership campaigns and served as a minister alongside leading Tories including George Osborne and Sayeeda Warsi. When he describes the life of a Tory MP – as he did recently in his imagining of how the fictitious Alfred J Prufrock would vote in the 1922 elections – he does so with skill, wit and not a little knowledge. Wit is one of the great qualities he brings to ConHome. I hope you read his fisking of Rebekah Brook's 'Yes He Cam' txt?
I still don't quite understand why Paul decided not to continue as an MP. He would be a Minister now, probably immersed in one of his great interests: community cohesion. Whatever Paul's reasons (explained here) I will always be personally glad he decided to step aside. When Paul told me he wanted to join ConHome some time before the election, I leapt at the prospect. He has helped ConHome reach new heights.
Our commitment to readers is to keep advancing. The addition, last year, of columnists including Bruce Anderson and Stephan Shakespeare was an attempt to bring new insight and diversity to our offering. We have big plans for the future. My immediate task, though, is to stop other people noticing Paul too much. Days after Graeme's Orwell accolade he'd been poached by The Telegraph. Not again is my prayer!