Tim Loughton

Timothy Paul Loughton, FSA (born 30 May 1962) is a British Conservative Party politician and former banker, who has been Member of Parliament (MP) for East Worthing and Shoreham since the 1997 general election. Loughton was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families from 2010 to 2012. In September 2016, Loughton was confirmed as the Acting Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee following the resignation of Keith Vaz until being replaced by Yvette Cooper the following month. He has been a keen supporter of Leave Means Leave, a pro-Brexit group.[1]

Tim Loughton

Loughton in 2020
Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee
In office
6 September 2016  19 October 2016
Preceded byKeith Vaz
Succeeded byYvette Cooper
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families
In office
13 May 2010  4 September 2012
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byThe Baroness Morgan of Drefelin
Succeeded byEdward Timpson
Member of Parliament
for East Worthing and Shoreham
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded byConstituency created
Majority7,474 (14.0%)
Personal details
Born (1962-05-30) 30 May 1962 (age 59)
Eastbourne, Sussex, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Juliet MacLauchlan
Alma materUniversity of Warwick
Clare College, Cambridge

Early life and career

Loughton was born on 30 May 1962 in Eastbourne, East Sussex, England. From 1973 to 1980, he was educated at Priory School, a state comprehensive school in Lewes, East Sussex. From 1980 to 1983, he studied classical civilisation at the University of Warwick.[2] There, he was secretary of the University of Warwick Conservative Association. He graduated with a first class honours Bachelor of Arts (BA Hons) degree in 1983. He then attended Clare College, University of Cambridge, where he studied Mesopotamian archaeology between 1983 and 1984.[2]

Loughton followed a career in the City of London as a fund manager from 1984 for Fleming Private Asset Management, becoming a director from 1992 to 2000.

Parliamentary career

Early career

Loughton unsuccessfully contested the seat of Sheffield Brightside for the Conservative Party at the 1992 general election, when he stood against the Labour Party's David Blunkett. In 1995 Loughton was selected as the candidate for the seat of East Worthing and Shoreham, a seat created as a result of boundary changes, replacing the Worthing and Shoreham constituencies.

Loughton entered Parliament at the 1997 general election and was re-elected at the 2001 general election. At the 2005 general election, Loughton polled 43.9% of the vote, with a majority to 8,183. At the 2010 general election, Loughton polled 48.5% of the vote with a majority of 11,105.[3] He was re-elected at the 2015 general election and 2017 general election.

From 2000 to 2001 Loughton was Shadow Minister for Environment and from 2003 to 2010 he was Shadow Minister of Health and Children, during the Conservative Party's time as the shadow cabinet in opposition to the Labour Party.[4]

In 2010, Loughton appeared in the Channel 4 documentary series, Tower Block of Commons.[5]

Ministerial career

In May 2010, Loughton was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families,[6] a position commonly known as 'children's minister'.

In February 2012, Loughton was part of a ministerial working group on how the law should be changed regarding how to amend the Children Act 1989. According to The Guardian newspaper of 3 February 2012 the working group aimed to include in the new Children's Act one "presumption of shared parenting" for children's fathers and mothers after cases of divorce or spousal break up.[7]

In May 2012, he said marriage was a religious institution that should remain between one man and one woman.[8] Loughton voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at almost every opportunity.[9] In July 2018, he participated in first the Worthing Pride parade.[10] A year later in July 2019, he voted to extend same-sex marriage and abortion to Northern Ireland, signalling a change in opinion.[11][better source needed]

Loughton was dismissed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families in the government reshuffle of September 2012.[6][12]

Backbench career

In January 2013, Loughton was involved in a political dispute involving his earlier work as a minister in the Department of Education when he compared the role of Education Secretary Michael Gove to "Young Mr Grace" from the British sitcom Are You Being Served?, suggesting there was little interaction between ministers and staff in the department.[13] The next day Loughton was described in an anonymous briefing from the Department of Education to The Spectator as a "lazy, incompetent narcissist obsessed only with self-promotion".[14] The following month Loughton tabled "hostile" parliamentary questions to the Department of Education on the subject of complaints by staff, which The Independent described as "a significant escalation of hostilities" between Loughton and some of his old colleagues.[15]

In March 2013 it was reported that Loughton had been investigated by Sussex Police under the Malicious Communications Act following a complaint lodged by a constituent over Loughton's reply to their email.[16] After several months, Loughton was advised by the Sussex Police that they would not be filing any charges.[17] Loughton subsequently gave his account of the affair in a parliamentary privilege protected House of Commons speech and criticised the police response.[17] Loughton then mailed a Hansard copy of the speech to the constituent, an action he believed was covered by parliamentary privilege.[18]

The constituent lodged another complaint about being sent the parliamentary papers, and Loughton was issued with a Police Information Notice (PIN) by Sussex Police. Loughton then arranged an emergency parliamentary debate, during which he accused the police of violating parliamentary privilege by issuing the PIN. A motion for the Standards and Privileges Committee to investigate his claims was granted.[18] At a hearing of the Standards and Privileges committee in January 2014, Loughton said that by issuing the PIN the police had "exacerbated the situation out of all control".[19] Sussex Chief Constable Martin Richards apologised to the committee, claiming he was unaware the Parliamentary Papers Act 1840 gave full legal protection to all parliamentary papers and blamed conflicting legal advice.[19] Former deputy Chief Constable of Sussex Police Robin Merrett claimed he "could understand" the constituent being "alarmed" at receiving the copy of Hansard and "fully supported" the police actions.[19] In March 2014, the Standards and Privileges Committee found Sussex Police in contempt of Parliament, forcing Sussex Police to issue an apology.[20]

In September 2013, Loughton apologised to former children's minister Sarah Teather after he was recorded at an event saying the Department of Education as a result of Teather was a "family free zone" and that Teather "did not believe in family" as "she certainly didn't produce one of her own". The comments made by Loughton were described as "disgusting" by Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat minister for Women and Equalities.[21]

In August 2015, it was reported that Loughton was amongst a number of supporters of other political parties who had paid £3 to register to join the Labour Party in an attempt to participate in its leadership election.[22] He subsequently said he had registered using his parliamentary email account to reveal "what a complete farce the whole thing is." He said that he was open in his intent and would not have actually voted.[23] He was subsequently removed form the Labour party registered supporters list and not granted a vote in the Labour Leadership election. The fee paid by Loughton to register to a supporter of the Labour Party was retained as a donation by the Labour Party.[24]

In September 2015, it was reported that Loughton had claimed the fourth highest expenses claim in the country. It was noted[by whom?] that the majority of the top ten expenses claimants were from Scotland – and thus understandably had high travel expenses as they had the longest distances to travel to get between their constituency and Westminster.[25]

Loughton supported Brexit in the 2016 European Union membership referendum. He campaigned for it through the Vote Leave organisation.[26][27]

Loughton was Campaign Manager for Andrea Leadsom's unsuccessful bid to become leader of the Conservative Party.[citation needed]

From 6 September 2016 – 19 October 2016, Loughton acted as Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee following the resignation of the Labour MP Keith Vaz over alleged inappropriate behaviour.[28]

On 12 February 2017, Loughton commented about his attendance earlier that evening at the BAFTAs, complaining that, during his acceptance speech for Best British Film (I, Daniel Blake), the director Ken Loach spoke "the usual predictable drivel". He was criticised for the comments by the Labour Party MP Andy Burnham, who responded: "Tory in a bow-tie on a lavish freebie has his night ruined by being reminded how the other half live."[29]

On 29 June 2017, Loughton came fifth in the ballot of private members' bills.[30][31]

Loughton introduced the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill.[32]

In the House of Commons he sits on the Home Affairs Committee. He has previously sat on the Draft Mental Health Bill (Joint Committee) and Environmental Audit Committee.[33]

Loughton employs his wife as a part-time Office Manager on a salary up to £25,000.[34] The practice of MPs employing family members has been criticised by some sections of the media on the lines that it promotes nepotism.[35][36] Although MPs who were first elected in 2017 have been banned from employing family members, the restriction is not retrospective – meaning that Loughton's employment of his wife is lawful.[37]

After Loughton announced in October 2017 that he meditates in the bath for an hour every morning, it was reported that he had built up water bills over the previous two years of £662, which he had put on his expenses. After his initial comments on the length of time he spent in baths led to negative commentary in sections of the press, Loughton responded: "MP takes bath is apparently hot news in Westminster at the moment. However the real story was a conference I co-hosted at Westminster yesterday which brought together 20 MPs from over 15 countries to promote mindfulness as one of the ways we can help tackle the epidemic of mental illness."[38]

On 26 March 2021, it was announced that Loughton was one of five MPs to be sanctioned by China for spreading what it called "lies and disinformation" about the country. He was subsequently banned from entering China, Hong Kong and Macau and Chinese citizens and institutions are prohibited from doing business with him.[39]

Personal life

Loughton married Elizabeth Juliet MacLauchlan in 1992, and they have two daughters and one son.[40] On 16 April 2015, he was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA).[41]


  1. "Co-Chairmen - Political Advisory Board - Supporters". Leave Means Leave.
  2. "Biography - About Tim". Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  3. "Election 2010: Worthing East & Shoreham". BBC News. 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
  4. "About Tim". Tim Loughton MP. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  5. "Tower Block of Commons". Channel 4.
  6. "Tim Loughton". GOV.UK. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  7. Pearse, Damien (3 February 2012). "Divorced fathers to get more contact with their children". The Guardian. London.
  8. "Tory ministers Philip Hammond and Tim Loughton come out against equal marriage for gay couples". Pink News. 13 May 2012.
  9. "The House of Commons. 2013. Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2012-2013". parliament.uk.
  10. @timloughton (14 July 2018). "#ConservativePride lining up for the first Worthing parade" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  11. "Tim Loughton MP, East Worthing and Shoreham". TheyWorkForYou.
  12. "David Cameron faces a fresh revolt as sacked ministers go on the attack". London Evening Standard. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  13. Harrison, Angela (16 January 2013). "Ex-minister Tim Loughton says children's agenda sidelined". BBC. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  14. "Michael Gove: I've no idea which of my staff called Tim Loughton a lazy, incompetent narcissist". The Daily Telegraph. London. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  15. Wright, Oliver (26 February 2013). "Tory ex-minister, Tim Loughton, turns his sights on Michael Gove's adviser". The Independent. London. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  16. Marsden, Sam (3 March 2013). "Police investigate Conservative MP Tim Loughton for calling man 'unkempt'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  17. "MP Tim Loughton 'sacks' constituent after racism row". BBC News. 14 March 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  18. "Tim Loughton accuses police chief of 'losing the plot'". BBC News. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  19. "No police apology for MP Tim Loughton in harassment row". BBC News. 28 January 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  20. "Sussex MP gets apology from police". ITV News. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  21. "Tim Loughton to apologise for Sarah Teather family jibe". BBC News. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  22. Piggott, Mark (11 August 2015). "Labour leadership contest: 1,200 banned from voting because they support rival parties". International Business Times. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  23. Perraudin, Frances (5 August 2015). "Tory caught signing up as Labour supporter wanted to expose vote 'farce'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  24. "A Tory MP and former minister is caught attempting to register as a Labour supporter to vote for Jeremy Corbyn". The New Statesman. 5 August 2015.
  25. "Big-spending Tory MPs claim £190k expenses in a year". The Argus. 11 September 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  26. Loughton, Tim (22 February 2016). "Tim Loughton MP: Why I will vote to leave the EU". Conservative Woman.
  27. "Tim Loughton MP - Vote Leave - Fresh Start Launch". Tim Loughton (YouTube). 2 June 2016.
  28. "Keith Vaz quits as Home Affairs Committee Chairman in wake of rent boys scandal". The Daily Telegraph. 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  29. "Tory MP sparks Twitter row as he lashes out at Ken Loach's 'drivel'". Sky News. London. 13 February 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  30. "Private Members' Bill Ballot: 29 June 2017". London: House of Commons Library. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  31. "Private members' bill draw: Chris Bryant comes first". BBC News. London. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  32. "The Bill Ballot: Details of the 2017-19 Private Members' Bill Ballot winners and their proposed legislation" (PDF). London: DeHavilland. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  33. "Tim Loughton". Parliament UK. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  34. "IPSA". GOV.UK. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  35. "One in five MPs employs a family member: the full list revealed". The Daily Telegraph. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  36. Mason, Rowena (29 June 2015). "Keeping it in the family: new MPs continue to hire relatives as staff". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  37. "MPs banned from employing spouses after election in expenses crackdown". London Evening Standard. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  38. Mason, Rowena (18 October 2017). "Tory MP who has hour-long baths claims £662 water bill on expenses". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  39. "Uighurs: China bans UK MPs after abuse sanctions". BBC News. 26 March 2021. Archived from the original on 14 May 2021. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  40. "Tim Loughton". BBC News. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  41. "16 Apr Ballot Results". News. Society of Antiquaries of London. 16 April 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.