Tim Loughton 'asked to step down' as Elizabeth Truss named children's minister

By Lauren Higgs

| 04 September 2012

Children's minister Tim Loughton has been axed from his children's minister post in the cabinet reshuffle.

Tim Loughton is stepping down after two years as children's minister. Credit: Matt Gore/ Icon Photomedia

The Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham in Sussex announced with “regret” that the Prime Minister David Cameron has asked him to step down after seven years as shadow minister and two years as minister in the “vital role”.

Number 10 confirmed that Elizabeth Truss, the Conservative MP for south west Norfolk, has been appointed in a junior children's minister post. However, Truss will be covering early years, a brief held until recently by Loughton's more senior counterpart, former children's minister Sarah Teather.

Chris Roberts, an education professional and follower of Loughton on the social networking site Twitter, sent the MP a message of support before the news of his departure was made public.

It said: “Hope you stay as children's minister but if you get reshuffled thank you for what you've done. You've made a difference.”

Following the announcement Loughton responded to Roberts. He said: “That is very kind Chris but alas the Prime Minister didn't agree”.

Debbie Jones, president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services, said Loughton’s "knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment to children’s social care and to social workers in particular has been outstanding, both as a shadow spokesperson and minister".

"We have valued the frank and challenging discussions we have had with him as we embark on wide-ranging reform of services for vulnerable children," she said.

"He has been a thoughtful and hugely committed champion for children as a minister, and always took the time to listen to professionals and others in our sector and to try to work with us on reform.

"We hope his departure does not signal an end to that approach from the Department for Education, and we wish Tim all the very best in whatever he goes on to do "

Rosina St James, chair of the British Youth Council (BYC), added: "Tim Loughton was always willing to listen, even if not agree, to our young leaders, lobbyists and campaigners, and has invested in a structure to embed youth access to, and scrutiny of, decision-makers in government.

"Tim, a regular speaker at BYC and Youth Parliament events, was a committed champion of youth participation. We look forward to continuing our partnership with his successor, promoting the role of youth voice in the scrutiny of government."

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said she was sad to see Loughton go. “Another good guy bites the dust,” she said. “He was committed to improving lives of children in care, many of whom end in up in jail.”

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