Tim loughton

MPs in the dark about Beijing’s threats

Following the killing of Sir David Amess, there has been much discussion in recent weeks about the safety of elected representatives. But while the public conversation has largely focused on radicalised loners, constituency surgeries and online abuse, Steerpike fears that the commentariat have overlooked the dangers still posed by hostile nation states to parliamentarians here in Westminster – particularly those who speak out about China. Earlier this year Mr S reported that MPs who have been sanctioned by Beijing for speaking out on the regime’s human rights abuses have received ‘zero substantive help’ from the Foreign Office. Members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC)  have been the subject of a number of probing attacks, with

Tory MP takes a dig at Theresa May

Oh dear. Although Conservative MPs are supposed to be rallying around their beleaguered leader as Theresa May attempts to form a minority government, not everyone has received the memo. Step forward Tim Loughton. The Conservative MP – who ran Andrea Leadsom’s short-lived leadership campaign – has taken to social media to vent his frustration that the Queen’s Speech has been delayed until Wednesday. Given that the new date means Her Majesty will have to miss Ascot, Loughton laments that it was bad enough the 2017 Conservative election campaign isolated the majority of pensions without adding the Queen to the list: State Opening in Royal Ascot week-having pi**ed off most pensioners with our

Andrea Leadsom march was a ‘bit of a cock-up’, says campaign chief

It’s less than a month since Andrea Leadsom bowed out of the Conservative leadership contest, leading to Theresa May’s appointment as Prime Minister. Now Leadsom’s campaign manager Tim Loughton had given an interview to the Times in which he conducts a post-mortem on the failed bid. While the Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham is adamant that the negative headlines regarding Leadsom’s CV and motherhood comments were simply down to the ‘get Andrea campaign’, he does concede there were some things he could have done better. Take for example, Leadsom’s march of the zombies. The stunt saw a handful of supporters including Loughton take to Westminster in their suits and pearls

Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet: runners and riders

Who could Jeremy Corbyn invite into his shadow cabinet if elected Labour leader? Some frontbenchers are suggesting today that he could find two thirds of his shadow ministerial positions unfilled as MPs refuse to serve under his leadership. But who might say yes to an offer from the veteran socialist. These are the runners and riders who might just be prepared to join Corbyn’s inner circle: Golden Oldies Dennis Skinner MP for Bolsover One of Corbyn’s earliest backers, the Beast of Bolsover is also a long-serving member of Labour’s awkward squad. Perhaps he could help out by adding jokes to Corbyn’s dry speeches: his annual Queen’s Speech gags will come

Uncomradely conduct: My time as a Labour member, by a Tory MP

Yesterday for the first time I trended on Twitter. Apparently I had been busted registering as a ‘supporter of the Labour Party.’ It seems one of the many people I had told over the previous week had ratted to the Guardian that I had paid my £3 and signed up online entitling me to vote in the forthcoming election for the leader of HM Opposition. This was despite the fact that I had applied on my Tory MP email address and given my reasons for doing so in the helpful, if not hopeful, online box asking why I had taken such a step as ‘to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in

Labour out Conservative MP in #Tories4Corbyn crackdown

Labour’s verification process has been under a lot of scrutiny in recent weeks as more and more Tories have claimed they have successfully joined as a supporter of the party in order to vote for Jeremy Corbyn and ‘condemn Labour to years in the political wilderness’. Labour insist that they have a crack team successfully weeding out non-Labour supporters from the genuine new joiners. This is a point that they seem rather keen to make known. Today the party’s press office has tweeted the Tory MP Tim Loughton to tell him that his application has sadly been declined: Thanks for your donation to the Labour Party @timloughton. However as a

What kind of idiot tries to stand in the way of a national child abuse panic? I do

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_10_July_2014_v4.mp3″ title=”Matthew Parris and Dr Liz Davies discuss the child abuse enquiry” startat=48] Listen [/audioplayer]As essay titles go, ‘On losing an argument with Tim Loughton MP’ may fail to catch the imagination; but there we are: I don’t need to be re-elected. You know before you start when you’re on a losing wicket, and I had fully expected to lose this argument, which was on live television with Adam Boulton. But I thought the attempt might be interesting. I’d been inspired by a thoroughly sensible contribution to the subject on the Today programme, by Peter Bottomley MP. The subject was whether we really needed an ‘overarching’ public inquiry to

Renewal offers a vision for a Tory workers’ budget

How can the Tory party broaden its appeal? Renewal, a group founded to do just that offered its answer at a packed Westminster pub yesterday evening. With just eight days to George Osborne’s 2014 budget, Robert Halfon MP and Renewal’s David Skelton offered their vision of a ‘workers’ budget for the Workers’ Party.’ Arguing that ‘what happened in Scotland [to the Conservative party] is slowly happening in the North’, Halfon outlined why he believes the Conservative Party needs to change its narrative, mission and structures to go beyond its traditional reach, particularly with working class and ethnic minority voters. Firstly, to address the Conservative party’s lack of a ‘moral mission’,

Tim Loughton attacks ex-families minister Sarah Teather for having no children

Tim Loughton has done his bit to fuel coalition tensions today. At the Conservative Renewal conference this weekend, the former children and families’ minister appeared to suggest Sarah Teather, the former Lib Dem families minister, did a poor job ‘because she didn’t produce one of her own’. As Matthew Holehouse reveals at the Telegraph, Loughton made the following remarks he has claimed were ‘off the cuff’: ‘I guess I have form…particularly since leaving the DfE as minister for children and families so made my pronouncement on family policy. It’s not just that I have changed my mind when I was no longer minister. ‘The person who was actually really in

I’ll tell you what really devalues marriage: patronising, preachy little tax breaks

The Conservative party is trying to redefine marriage. I can’t believe they think they’re going to get away with this. Throughout human history it has been one thing, which is a loving commitment between two people who want to share a life. Now they’re trying to turn it into something completely different. A tax break. It wouldn’t benefit me, even though I am married. Although I swear that isn’t the root of my objection. Honest. My wife and I are in the same tax bracket, you see, so sharing our allowance wouldn’t make much difference. What it amounts to, really, is an incentive for one of us to stop working

Do MPs deserve a pay rise?

A small group of MPs have put their heads above the parapet in a brave and commendable fashion by demanding that they and their colleagues should not receive large pay rises. My own view is that MPs should be paid substantially more than what they currently receive, not least because it might improve the intake a little. The Guardian quotes Lib Dem Jo Swinson, Conservative Tim Loughton and Labour’s Keith Vaz as being opposed to a large pay increase. Mr Vaz supplements his income by writing for newspapers, fairly frequently. Ms Swinson is married to another Lib Dem, Duncan Hames, and so has the benefit of being a young double

Tim Loughton vs the Department for Education, round 2

The battle between Tim Loughton and the Education department rumbles on, with new foot soldiers joining the fray. The latest shot fired in the war comes from Labour’s Stephen Twigg, who has demanded an investigation into the quotes we ran on Coffee House last week from a senior DfE source which described the former minister as a ‘lazy incompetent narcissist obsessed only with self-promotion’. Twigg has written to the department’s Permanent Secretary Chris Wormald, saying the following: ‘You will be aware that both special advisers and civil servants are bound by a code of conduct, which precludes them from making personal attacks.’ In the letter, which you can read in

Tim Loughton vs the Department for Education

In a week where the inner workings of Whitehall have rarely been out of the news, Tim Loughton’s evidence to the Education Select Committee has made a particular splash. As Isabel reported yesterday, Loughton criticised the way the department was run and claimed that the children and families agenda ‘was a declining priority’ in his time there and had been ‘greatly downgraded since the reshuffle.’ Inside the Department of Education, there’s real irritation at Loughton’s comments. One senior Department for Education source launched the following broadside: ‘Tim Loughton opposed transparency on child protection and sided with those all over the country who want to maintain a culture of secrecy. He

Children and families ‘not a priority’ for Michael Gove, former children’s minister argues

Of all the sackings in September’s reshuffle, two of the most surprising came from the Education department. So it was fascinating to hear those two victims of the purge, Tim Loughton and Nick Gibb, give their verdict on the department and their boss at the Education Select Committee this morning. Lib Dem Sarah Teather, who departed to fight to retain her constituency, also had her say, but the most striking comments came from Loughton. It’s worth bearing in mind that Loughton was not happy to have lost his job. He apparently stayed silent for almost the entire duration of his reshuffle meeting with the Prime Minister, and has become a

Tim Loughton attacks coalition’s failure to support married couples

Tim Loughton was one of the surprise sackings in September’s reshuffle: he was an able minister who knew his portfolio very well indeed. He’s evidently reluctant to let that ability go to waste, and has already made interventions on child protection and benefit cuts. His speech later today for the Centre for Social Justice hits the nail on the head of a big Tory problem: marriage. Loughton isn’t joining some of his colleagues in attacking gay marriage specifically, but rather the Conservative party’s failure to reintroduce tax breaks for married couples. He has written of his dissatisfaction that the Autumn Statement contained no such measures in the Telegraph today: Family

Another headache for the Tory whips

Today brings yet another set of reminders for Numbers 9, 10 and 11 Downing Street about how difficult maintaining party discipline is going to be. First, there’s The Guardian story about Chris Heaton-Harris trying to use James Delingpole and the threat of him running as an anti-wind farm candidate in Corby as leverage to toughen up the party’s position on the issue. Then, there’s the letter signed by 15 Tory MPs calling on Cameron to make a transferable tax allowance for married couples part of the 2013 Budget. In a sign of where a lot of the trouble will come from in the coming months, the lead signatory to the

Sacked ministers make trouble at Treasury questions

Treasury Questions was a little quieter than usual today: George Osborne is away and so Ed Balls left the questions to his colleague Chris Leslie. The Shadow Chancellor didn’t say entirely quiet, though, gradually turning a warm shade of pink as he barracked away while perched on the opposition front bench. Labour landed very few blows today: Rachel Reeves continued the attack on the EU budget, Leslie tried rather ineffectually to talk about borrowing, and backbenchers made a few grumbles. The two really interesting questions came from the coalition benches: and more specifically, from two sacked ministers. Tim Loughton, who is fast establishing himself post-reshuffle as an effective campaigning backbencher

Tim Loughton versus the adoption bureaucracy

Parliament has decamped for midwinter, but the business of government goes on. Today’s announcement, by the children’s minister Tim Loughton, is contained within a Times article here. ‘An expert panel,’ it reveals, will be tasked with designing a new system for assessing prospective adoptive parents by March next year. That new system, making it easier for suitable folk to adopt, should then be in place by the end of 2012. In many respects, adoption is perfect Cameroonian territory; being, as it is, at the intersection of social responsibility, family, deregulation, etc, etc. But politics isn’t what should concern us here. A lot of unmitigated good can be done in fixing

The Big Society conundrum

The children’s minister Tim Loughton is in danger of having ‘gaffe-prone’ become his suffix. After rather putting his foot in it at conference by suggesting that the policy George Osborne had just announced on child benefit could be revisited, he has now suggested that not even ministers know what Cameron’s big idea, the ‘Big Society’ actually is. He told a dinner last night: “The trouble is that most people don’t know what the Big Society really means, least of all the unfortunate ministers who have to articulate it.” A friend of Loughton tells me that this was meant as a joke. But the problem is that it cuts far too