Tory MP Tim Loughton apologises after criticising Sarah Teather for failing to "produce" a family

Former education minister claimed the Lib Dem MP was a poor families minister because she "didn't produce one of her own".

Update: Loughton has belatedly apologised, while still bizarrely claiming that his comments were misrepresented by the media.

Conservative MP Tim Loughton's repugnant suggestion that Sarah Teather was a poor families minister because she failed to "produce" one of her own has rightly been greeted with outrage. The Telegraph reports that the former Tory education minister told last weekend's Conservative Renewal conference:

The person who was actually in charge of family policy amongst the ministerial team at the DfE was Sarah Teather. Which was a bit difficult because she doesn't really believe in family. She certainly didn't produce one of her own. So it became a bit of a family-free zone. I think that is a huge disappointment.

But responding to criticism on Twitter, Loughton has refused to apologise, feigning disbelief at the anger he has attracted.

Unbelievably, he went on to blame "some journo" for "distorting my comments".

If the Tories want this avoid becoming an even more toxic story, they would be wise to bring Loughton to heel now.

Former children's minister and Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central Sarah Teather. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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