Tim Collins (politician)

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Tim Collins
Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Skills
In office
15 March 2004 – 6 May 2005
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by Tim Yeo
Succeeded by David Cameron
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
In office
23 July 2002 – 10 November 2003
Leader Iain Duncan Smith
Preceded by Theresa May
Succeeded by Damian Green
Shadow Cabinet Office Minister
In office
14 September 2001 – 23 July 2002
Leader Iain Duncan Smith
Preceded by Andrew Lansley
Member of Parliament
for Westmorland and Lonsdale
In office
1 May 1997 – 5 May 2005
Preceded by Michael Jopling
Succeeded by Tim Farron
Personal details
Born (1964-05-07) 7 May 1964 (age 54)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Children 1
Alma mater London School of Economics
King's College London

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 to the current leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron.


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

Political career

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 awarded 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 has 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 protection to teachers from violent pupils, to allow successful schools to expand and to stop the closure of schools for children with Special Educational Needs.[citation needed]

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.[2]

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 the ConservativeHome website[3] has reported that he left the Conservative candidate list in April 2008 and quotes 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[4] Public Affairs, one of the UK's largest lobbying companies. 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[5][6] 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".


He is married and has one child.[citation needed]


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.[7]

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. 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<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. http://conservativehome.blogs.com/goldlist/2009/04/where-are-the-original-alisters-now-those-who-are-no-longer-looking-for-a-seat.html#more
  4. Timothy William George Collins works at BELL POTTINGER LLP since 01 January 2013 currently as a LLPMEM - http://www.cbetta.com/director/timothy-william-george-collins-3
  5. Newman, Melanie; Wright, Oliver (6 December 2011). "Caught on camera: top lobbyists boasting how they influence the PM". The Independent. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Conservatives under pressure to explain links to lobbying firms". The Daily Telegraph. London. 6 December 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/ebooks/dyingdays/intro/page1.shtml, Author's Introduction, Dying Days, Lance Parkin

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Michael Jopling
Member of Parliament for Westmorland & Lonsdale
Succeeded by
Tim Farron