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Tim Collins (politician)

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Timothy William George Collins, CBE, (born 7 May 1964) is a British politician, once a prominent member of the Conservative Party. Collins was active in the 1990s and was later the Member of Parliament (MP) for Westmorland and Lonsdale in north-west England from 1997 until his defeat at the 2005 general election by Tim Farron, later leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Tim Collins

Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Skills
In office
15 March 2004 – 6 May 2005
LeaderMichael Howard
Preceded byTim Yeo
Succeeded byDavid Cameron
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
In office
23 July 2002 – 10 November 2003
LeaderIain Duncan Smith
Preceded byTheresa May
Succeeded byDamian Green
Shadow Cabinet Office Minister
In office
14 September 2001 – 23 July 2002
LeaderIain Duncan Smith
Preceded byAndrew Lansley
Member of Parliament
for Westmorland and Lonsdale
In office
1 May 1997 – 11 April 2005
Preceded byMichael Jopling
Succeeded byTim Farron
Personal details
Born (1964-05-07) 7 May 1964 (age 55)
Epping, Essex, England
Political partyConservative
Alma materLondon School of Economics
King's College London


Collins was educated at Chigwell School, the London School of Economics (BSc) and King's College London (MA).[1]

Political careerEdit

Collins had significant political experience before his election to Parliament. He acted as Press Secretary to the then Prime Minister John Major, serving in that role during the successful 1992 Election campaign. He was a member of the 10 Downing Street Policy Unit and was a speechwriter to Margaret Thatcher, John Major, William Hague, David Hunt, Michael Howard, Chris Patten, Norman Fowler and Brian Mawhinney.

Collins was appointed a CBE in the Birthday Honours List in 1996, at the age of 32. The award was given 'for political services'.

During his time in Parliament, Collins served as a Whip and later as a Senior Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party. In this role in the run up to the 2001 election Collins was a senior aide to the then Conservative leader William Hague. Collins supported the focus on tax cuts and opposition to the Euro that characterised that campaign.

After the election the new Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith appointed him to the Shadow Cabinet as Cabinet Office Minister later moving him to Shadow Transport Secretary. When Michael Howard became leader in 2003 he was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Education.

In this post he developed policies to give anonymity for accused teachers until a court trial, to allow successful schools to expand and to stop the closure of schools for children with Special Educational Needs.[2][3]

At the 2005 general election he lost his seat to Liberal Democrat Tim Farron. The margin was only 267 votes.

It has been suggested that this was due to a Liberal Democrat "decapitation" strategy which was aimed at unseating senior Conservative candidates.[4]

In 2006 he was reported to be part of the so-called "A-List" of priority parliamentary candidates whom the Conservative leadership most wish to see in Parliament after the next General Election, but, in April 2008, the ConservativeHome website[5] reported that he left the Conservative candidate list, quoting him as saying "I firmly now do not wish to return to the House of Commons".


In October 2009, Collins was appointed Managing Director of Bell Pottinger[6] Public Affairs, one of the UK's largest lobbying companies, replacing David Sowells and reporting to Chairman Peter Bingle.[7] BPPA is part of Chime Communications plc, created and chaired by Lord Bell, the former advertising and communications adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during the 1970s and 1980s. In the December 2009 edition of PA News, a magazine covering the lobbying industry, Shadow Arts Minister Ed Vaizey MP praised the hiring of Collins, saying he had "a huge brain" and would be "a huge asset" to the company. In the same issue, Charles Lewington, MD of consultancy Hanover, said it was "a smart hire by Tim Bell" while the man who beat Collins in 2005, Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron, said it was "very good news for Bell Pottinger". In December 2011, The Independent claimed[8][9] that Collins had been filmed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism saying that PM David Cameron had raised a copyright issue with Chinese premier Wen Jiabao on behalf of Dyson Limited "because we asked him to".


Collins is a fan of the British science-fiction television programme Doctor Who, and has appeared on television several times to discuss the programme.

In a 2003 DVD documentary Putting the Shock into Earthshock (included as part of the BBC Worldwide DVD release of the Doctor Who serial Earthshock), he jokingly stated that the Cybermen were more convincing when the Conservatives were in power. He was also reported to have read The Dying Days in one sitting on the night of the 1997 general election so that he could claim to have read the whole New Adventures series while the Conservatives were in government.[10]

Collins has also appeared as a guest on a number of current affairs programmes since leaving Parliament.


  1. ^ ‘COLLINS, Timothy William George’, Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014
  2. ^ "Behaviour problems strain schools". BBC. 12 October 2004. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  3. ^ Curtis, Polly (13 December 2004). "Tories seek greater protection for accused teachers". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  4. ^ Robert Waller & Byron Criddle (2007). The Almanac of British Politics (8th edition). p. 15. Tim Collins proved to be the only high-profile victim of the 'decapitation strategy' against leading Conservative figures
  5. ^
  6. ^ Timothy William George Collins works at BELL POTTINGER LLP since 1 January 2013 currently as a LLPMEM -
  7. ^ "Bell Pottinger Top Lobbyist David Sowells Set for USA Move". PR Week. London. 16 September 2009.
  8. ^ Newman, Melanie; Wright, Oliver (6 December 2011). "Caught on camera: top lobbyists boasting how they influence the PM". The Independent. London.
  9. ^ "Conservatives under pressure to explain links to lobbying firms". The Daily Telegraph. London. 6 December 2011.
  10. ^[permanent dead link], Author's Introduction, Dying Days, Lance Parkin

External linksEdit