When Philippa Stroud offered me a position as a Senior Fellow at the Legatum Institute at the beginning of 2017, I had just finished the close down of Vote Leave. We had finalised the accounts, cleared out the campaign HQ and I was wondering what to do next.
How do you follow one of the most historic events of recent years?
What I wanted to do was to take stock of what had happened, and understand the wider international context to the Brexit vote. And Philippa was kind enough to give me a warm space and a friendly home to research, write and speak about the political change Britain and the world was experiencing.
In this capacity, I produced publications on last year’s Dutch, French and German elections, and released a landscape poll on political attitudes in Britain, to cast light on the unexpected general election result. I also undertook a three week speaking tour of the United States and worked directly with Philippa on developing a Theory of Change. And more recently, I have focused on establishing our Effective Government programme with Legatum fellow, Gisela Stuart.
In other words, I did everything but Brexit, and it was a tonic to be away from the fray!
But as the country approaches the final months of the negotiations, I am keen to spend more time with my team at BrexitCentral, which has provided an essential platform for debate and news since its launch in September 2016.
I am sad to be leaving the Legatum Institute after an enjoyable fifteen months here. Sarah and I are very grateful to everyone for the warm welcome and for also embracing our new daughter Lottie into the Legatum family.
The Institute is at a very exciting juncture, with new research programmes beginning to publish their first reports and new international partnerships producing cutting edge research which will have a global impact.
I will continue to take a keen interest in the work of the Legatum Institute, and will be a cheerleader from the outside.
One finding from our Theory of Change was the importance of long term relationships to serious policy change, so I know our paths will cross again as we all do our bit to take individuals and communities on the path from poverty to prosperity.
Commenting on Matthew's departure our CEO Philippa Stroud said: "It has been a pleasure having Matthew with us at the Institute over the past year. As well as producing some of our most widely read research papers during this period, Matthew has also contributed immensely to our development as an Institute. He will be greatly missed but we look forward to keeping in touch as his career develops. Matthew is one of the most talented policy entrepreneurs in the country but perhaps more importantly he is incredibly public spirited. I am confident, therefore, that he will continue to make an enormous contribution to our country's wellbeing in the years to come.