Sacked by Cameron last September, former Minister tells students of how he suddenly lost his place on the “slippery pole”

Sir Jim Paice, front row, fifth left, with the head, governors and students of King's, Ely.

Sir Jim Paice, front row, fifth left, with the head, governors and students of King's, Ely. - Credit: Archant

SACKED as Agricultural Minister last year, Sir Jim Paice reflected on the vagaries of political life when he addressed hundreds of students at King’s School prize giving today in Ely Cathedral.

Sir Jim Paice, front row, fifth left, with the head, governors and students of King's, Ely.

Sir Jim Paice, front row, fifth left, with the head, governors and students of King's, Ely. - Credit: Archant

“I want to share with you a couple of lessons based on my experiences,” he told students, parents, staff and governors.

“Some of you will know that I ceased to be a Government minister last September,” he said. “I went instantaneously from being an up and coming ‘has been’ to just being a ‘has been’.

“Having spent over half my life climbing the slippery pole I had suddenly lost my place on it. That sort of event does make you look back.”

Sir Jim, who has recently announced he will retire at the next election and was also appointed a governor of King’s earlier this year, was guest speaker at today’s ceremony.

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He challenged students to take their chances and not to lead a life full of regret and then use the oft repeated words ‘if only’.

But he used observations from his political life to remind students – whose parents can pay up to £18,000 a year in school fees- not to allow ambition to make them self centred and blind to the needs of others.

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“Don’t tread on people on the way up because you will need them on the way back,” said the man who has been MP for South East Cambs since 1987. “You will always need a friend. Ambition is laudable but there’s no need to crush others. Respect them.

“There is nothing wrong with success and achievement but respecting others is important in life and the contribution others make to your life. In politics I have seen ruthless and ambitious people who have been successful politicians but without friends when the chips are down and when they’re in trouble.”

Sir Jim told students success could be measured in many different ways and not everyone could be in the first X1 in sport or the lead chorister.

“For those who are not going to receive an award let me remind them that this world is full of more opportunity than ever before and you will find a sphere of life where you can be a success and be happy in your own skin. Do go and look for it.”

He recalled he had only ever won one school prize when he was 10, he was no good at sport and couldn’t even make the third team and didn’t go to university.

It prompted memories, he said, of a management meeting he once attended in his early career before entering Parliament.

“The lecturer put up a notice which said ‘remember no one is entirely useless: even the worst can be used as a bad example to others’,

Sir Jim sat down to enthusiastic applause.

Last September he was attending a farming event in Birmingham when he took a call from Prime Minister David Cameron effectively sacking him on the spot. A short while later Mr Cameron announced a knighthood for his ex minister.


Isabelle Elliott City of Ely Local Community Contribution Prize

Gemma Driver FoKSE - Charity Nomination Prize


Juliet Koopowitz Y9 Major Academic Prize

Sam Lachmann Y9 Major Academic Prize

Isobel Oughton Y9 Major Academic Prize, The Dimmock Reading Prize (Junior)

Harriet Pinto Y9 Major Academic Prize

Isaac Bateman Y9 Academic Prize

Asia Choudhry Y9 Academic Prize

William Topping Y9 Academic Prize

Gemma Dyer Y9 Most Improved Student Prize – Reynolds Cup

George Clift Y9 Outstanding Contribution to School Life

Lucy Pearce Y9 Outstanding Contribution to School Life

Frederick Scott Y9 Outstanding Contribution to School Life

India Baynes Y10 Major Academic Prize

Phoebe Ryan Y10 Major Academic Prize

Tristan Stubbs Y10 Major Academic Prize

Ursule Taujanskaite Y10 Major Academic Prize

Robert Bosworth-Daft Y10 Academic Prize

Kelsey Hughes Y10 Academic Prize

Mark Parry Y10 Academic Prize

Jason Segall Y10 Academic Prize

Tristan Walcot Y10 Most Improved Student Prize – Ashford Cup

Ned Bent Y10 Outstanding Contribution to School Life

Adrienne Schneider Y10 Outstanding Contribution to School Life

Benjamin Taylor Y10 Outstanding Contribution to School Life

Georgina Howell Y11 Major Academic Prize

Megan Laud Y11 Major Academic Prize

Christopher Le Y11 Major Academic Prize

Alexander Piggot Y11 Major Academic Prize

Henry Darby Y11 Academic Prize

Yuki Kimura Y11 Academic Prize, Middle School Music Prize

Madeleine Pinto Y11 Academic Prize

Richard Taylor Y11 Academic Prize

Joshua Oliver Y11 Most Improved Student Prize – Kenneth Carr Cup

Samuel Hirons Y11 Outstanding Contribution to School Life

Oliver Saunders Y11 Outstanding Contribution to School Life

Harriet Shorthose Y11 Outstanding Contribution to School Life


Margarita Zaychishina Art ( Fine Art)

Constance Wynn Art (Textiles), English

Ursula Meyer-Root Art (Photography)

Georgia Baynes Biology, Chemistry, Queen’s Scholar Prize

Maxim Klimov Business Studies

Matthew Lowery Classical Civilisation, The Grayling Prize

Anna Pyatko Economics

Ella Howlett Film Studies

Lydia Sandercock Food Technology

Laura Day French, Spanish, The Winkfield Cup, Queen’s Scholar Prize

Ella Jordan Geography

Jonathan Ray German

Marco Tamimi Government & Politics

Beatrice White History, Psychology

Robert Seddon-Greve Computing, Physics, King’s Scholar Prize

Sanjiban Mandal Latin, King’s Scholar Prize

Pavel Videnov Mathematics

Georgia Schneider Further Mathematics, Music, Queen’s Scholar Prize

Natta Pornsirianant Physical Education

Ramith Sarathchandra Product Design

George Ryan Religious Studies, King’s Scholar Prize


Stepan Myannik Art ( Fine Art)

Molly Blacknell Art (Textiles)

Camilla Tricker Art (Photography), Prefect

James Wege Biology, Prefect, King’s Scholar Prize

Zi Wen Wang Business Studies

Luke Cave Chemistry, School Orchestra Prize, Prefect, King’s Scholar Prize,

Ruth Scott Drama

Leo Banahan Economics, Further Mathematics, History, Physics, School Band Prize, King’s Scholar Prize

Emily Holdsworth English, Geography, Prefect

Pui Yue Chan Food Technology

Sophie Emms French, Prefect, Queen’s Scholar Prize

Hannah Ritchie Government & Politics, The Dimmock Reading Prize (Senior)

Lukas Balcaitis ICT

Clea Tanner Latin, Prefect, Queen’s Scholar Prize

Shiran Geng Mathematics

Jennifer Goss Music, Upper School Music Prize, Queen’s Scholar Prize

Michael Brennan Physical Education, Prefect

James O’Brien Product Design

Alexandra McIrvine Psychology

Alex Thake Religious Studies

Jamie Huffer Spanish, Prefect, King’s Scholar Prize

Jonathan Wood The Bennett Prize

Jonathan Herbert The Christopher Humphries Memorial Tankard

Thomas Hawkes The Francis Allen Music Prize

Alexander Clubb The Grande Prize contribution to the Elean

Lily McConkey The Jarman Cup

Max Haines-Messenger The Jon Ayers Memorial Prize, Prefect

Sophie Hart The Mark O’Keane Memorial Trophy

William Chandler The Porta Award

Fern Ashby School Choral Prize

William Oliver The Pye Foundation Prize, The Nash Cup for Singing

Axel Rois The Shepherd Cup

Nicola Lucas The Sonata Prize

Chun-Yu Lin Tomblings Prize for Mathematics, International Scholar Prize

Charles Porter-Thaw The Wilkinson Cup, Director of Music Prize, Prefect

Luofei Dong King’s International Academic Prize

Chikashi Shirakawa-Rison King’s International Academic Prize

Rory Beetham King’s Scholar Prize

David Bercow King’s Scholar Prize

Samuel Huguet King’s Scholar Prize

Tony Lesmeister King’s Scholar Prize, Prefect

Benjamin Love King’s Scholar Prize

Jack Spoor King’s Scholar Prize

Charlotte Callard Queen’s Scholar Prize

Isabelle Elliott Queen’s Scholar Prize

Emily Green Queen’s Scholar Prize, Prefect

Natasha Loversidge Queen’s Scholar Prize

Anna-Rose Sliwinski Queen’s Scholar Prize

Matvey Pogrebinskiy International Scholar Prize

Shangwei Sun International Scholar Prize

Melody Grace Prefect

Sophie Emms Milne Robertson Prize for Deputy Head of School

Tony Lesmeister Milne Robertson Prize for Deputy Head of School

James Wege Milne Robertson Prize for Deputy Head of School

Emily Green Potticary Medal for Head of School

Jamie Huffer Potticary Medal for Head of School

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