Timothy William George Collins
, (born 7 May
) is a British
politician. Collins was Conservative Party Member of Parliament
for Westmorland and Lonsdale
in north-west England
from 1997 until he lost his seat by 267 votes in the 2005 election
. It has been suggested that this was due to a Liberal Democrat "decapitation" strategy which was aimed at senior Conservative candidates, and in their volume The Almanac of British Politics (8th edition, published 2007) Robert Waller & Byron Criddle state "Tim Collins proved to be the only high-profile victim of the "decapitation strategy" against leading Conservative figures" (page 15). Collins remains a member of the Conservative Party. Although he has had a lower public profile since his defeat, 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.
Collins was educated at Chigwell School
, the London School of Economics
and King's College London
. He is married and has one child.
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.
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 moved to 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.
At the 2005 General Election he lost his seat to Liberal Democrat Tim Farron.
- 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 whilst the Conservatives were in government.