Obituary: Arthur Tiley

Arthur Tiley, businessman and politician: born Bradford 17 January 1910; Treasurer, Young Women's Christian Association, Bradford 1934-50; Senior Company Officer, National Fire Service 1939-45; MP (Conservative and National Liberal) Bradford West 1955-66; Opposition spokesman on Pensions and National Insurance 1964-66; CBE 1972; married 1936 Mary Tankard (one son, one daughter); died 5 June 1994.

THE NATIONAL government of 1931 was formed by an alliance between the Conservatives, some Labour Party members and some Liberals. The National Liberals came into existence at this time, and subsequently allied themselves with the Conservative Party, and when Arthur Tiley entered the House of Commons in 1955, it was as a National Liberal serving under a Conservative government. He was one of the few remaining of this breed of politicians who felt that Britain's interests were best served by such an agreement. Tiley served the alliance loyally until his defeat in the General Election of 1966, by which time there remained only six National Liberals, and the term was dropped. He never considered himself to be a Conservative but a Liberal, in agreement with the Conservative Party.

Tiley's allegiance to Liberalism is probably the reason he never held the government office he deserved. The Conservative Party is given to swallowing up its allies.

But there is something considerable that Tiley left behind him. Born into a moderately prosperous home in Bradford he started, after school, in the insurance business. He stood for the Bradford Central constituency in 1951, but only succeeded in winning a seat, in Bradford West, in 1955. Once in Parliament he made it clear that he would give his support to what was then called National Insurance.

He also believed that Members of Parliament should have pensions, and that their widows should likewise benefit. He was not selfish for parliamentarians: his view of just pensions provision extended to the whole community. He was made Opposition spokesman on Pensions and National Insurance in 1964.

When Tiley lost his seat in 1966, he went back to the insurance business, but involved himself, also, in the many charities which he had helped. He was a devout Christian and churchgoer, and it is not too much to say that he would like to be remembered not as a politician, but as a religious man.