Tory MP Tim Loughton to apologise for saying Sarah Teather was a poor families minister ‘because she didn't produce one of her own’

In a speech to Conservative activists, the former minister also blames the 2011 riots on children born out of wedlock and says he will stand up to the 'ghastly regiment of feminists' in Parliament

A Conservative MP will apologise to the Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather after suggesting that she was a poor minister for families because she does not have children.

Tim Loughton, who served alongside Ms Teather at the Department for Education until they were both sacked a year ago, claimed she failed to support married couples as she "doesn't really believe in family".

The former Children’s Minister, speaking at a Conservative Renewal conference in Windsor last weekend, complained  that she frustrated Tory plans to bring in a tax break for married couples.  He is reported to have said: “The person who was actually in charge of family policy amongst the ministerial team at the DfE was Sarah Teather. Which was a bit difficult because she doesn't really believe in family. She certainly didn't produce one of her own. So it became a bit of a family-free zone. I think that is a huge disappointment."

He also attacked the “family values” of Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman, calling her “Harriet Harperson.” He told the Conservative gathering: “I am absolutely up for the task of standing up to Harriet Harperson as being the vanguard of that ghastly regiment of feminists who have taken us so far from family values,” he said.

Mr Loughton, a father-of-three, denied any "personal attack” on 39-year-old Ms Teather and said his words had been distorted.

"My criticism was lack of Lib Dem family policy not of Sarah Teather personally who I always respected," he wrote on Twitter. "I will of course apologise to Sarah for the comments that have been reported and were certainly not intended or indeed said in that way."

The Lib Dems demanded a public apology. Jo Swinson, the Equalities Minister, said Ms Teather was a “brilliant” minister, adding: “Using someone’s lack of children as an insult is shameful, crass and, frankly, disgusting. It reflects far more on him than on Sarah.”

Kate Green, Labour equalities spokeswoman, said: "It is a pretty unpleasant intrusion and I hope Tim Loughton will apologise. It is not the case that people who do not have children of their own do not care about families. Children are everybody's future; society as a whole has a stake in their well-being.”

Yesterday the Lib Dem conference voted to oppose Tory plans for a married couples’ tax break as “discriminatory, unnecessary and expensive.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Super BowlAfter Katy Perry madness it's back to The Independent's live coverage of Super Bowl 49!
News
See what Twitter had to say about the first half of the Super Bowl
News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium - they breathe better air, and eat better food, when they're not making beans on toast for their kids

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium

They breathe better air, eat better food, take better medicine
A generation of dropouts failed by colleges

Dropout generation failed by colleges

£800m a year wasted on students who quit courses before they graduate
Entering civilian life 'can be like going into the jungle' for returning soldiers

Homeless Veterans appeal

Entering civilian life can be like going into the jungle
Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Fifty Shades of Grey director on bringing the hit to the screen
Shazam! Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

Shazam: Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch