The fall of John Taylor

From rising star to fraudster.

Twenty-five years ago John Taylor was one of the most inspiring and likeable young figures in the Conservative Party.

A barrister in Birmingham, he had an ambition and genuine charm that made him widely regarded as a future member of parliament and minister. It all seemed so straightforward. There was no surprise when he secured the nomination for the safe Tory seat of Cheltenham, nor when he was appointed to be a Home Office ministerial adviser.

Then something bad happened. A shameful and racist local campaign led to a Conservative loss. Taylor seemed to give up front-line politics. However, he did become a life peer, occasionally poking the right of his party for its illiberalism. But he was never a particularly active parliamentarian.

As a peer, he appears to have lost his way. He dishonestly claimed expenses, using an elaborate ruse involving a property he never even visited. And so, 25 years after he was a "coming man" of British politics, he is now just a common criminal: a sad and perhaps remarkable trajectory.

David Allen Green is legal correspondent of the New Statesman.

David Allen Green is legal correspondent of the New Statesman and author of the Jack of Kent blog.

His legal journalism has included popularising the Simon Singh libel case and discrediting the Julian Assange myths about his extradition case.  His uncovering of the Nightjack email hack by the Times was described as "masterly analysis" by Lord Justice Leveson.

David is also a solicitor and was successful in the "Twitterjoketrial" appeal at the High Court.

(Nothing on this blog constitutes legal advice.)

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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.