|Sarah Teather MP|
|Minister of State for Children and Families|
13 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||Dawn Primarolo|
|Succeeded by||Liz Truss (as Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Education and Childcare)|
|Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Housing|
8 October 2008 – 13 May 2010
|Preceded by||Lembit Opik|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
|Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform|
20 December 2007 – 8 October 2008
|Preceded by||Lembit Opik|
|Succeeded by||John Thurso|
|Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Innovation, Universities and Skills|
4 July 2007 – 20 December 2007
|Preceded by||Department Created|
|Succeeded by||Stephen Williams|
|Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Education and Skills|
3 March 2006 – 4 July 2007
|Preceded by||Edward Davey|
|Succeeded by||Department Abolished|
|Member of Parliament
for Brent Central
Brent East (2003–2010)
18 September 2003
|Preceded by||Paul Daisley|
1 June 1974 |
Enfield, London, England
|Political party||Liberal Democrats|
|Alma mater||St John's College, Cambridge|
Sarah Louise Teather (born 1 June 1974 in Enfield, London) is a British Liberal Democrat politician, Member of Parliament for Brent Central, and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Guantanamo Bay.
She was first elected on 18 September 2003 in the Brent East by-election and re-elected with an increased majority on 5 May 2005 in the 2005 general election. After the seat was abolished due to boundary changes she was selected as the Liberal Democrat Candidate for the new constituency of Brent Central. Her main opponent was sitting Labour MP Dawn Butler, whose seat of Brent South was also abolished. Teather won by a small margin and after the election, she served as Minister of State in the Department for Education in the coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats until she returned to the backbenches on 4 September 2012.
 Early life
Teather initially embarked on a PhD at University College London, but left the course at the end of her first year. She went on to work as a policy advisor for a number of prominent groups including the Royal Society and the charity Macmillan Cancer Relief.
 Member of Parliament
Teather first contested an election on 7 June 2001 in the seat of Finchley and Golders Green. On 3 May 2002 she was elected to Islington London Borough Council as one of the three councillors representing Hillrise Ward. She was then appointed by the council to serve as a school governor at Ashmount School.
The by-election took place during the early stages of the Iraq War, in which Britain's involvement had proved a controversial decision with voters and dented support for the Labour government. The Liberal Democrats came from third place behind Labour and the Conservatives, with a 39.12% share of the total and 1,118 majority. At 29, Teather was the youngest Member of Parliament in Britain at the time.
Subsequent to her first election as an MP she resigned from Islington Council, resigned as a school governor at Ashmount school and withdrew as a candidate for the Greater London Assembly seat in North East London.
She successfully defended her seat in the 2005 general election, increasing her majority to over 2,700. On 6 May 2010, Sarah Teather defeated Labour's Dawn Butler, a former Brent MP, by over 1,000 votes in the new Parliamentary constituency of Brent Central. In May 2009, she was listed by The Daily Telegraph as one of the "Saints" in the expenses scandal. However, in September 2010 The Sunday Times reported that she had been accused by several Members of Parliament of lobbying her boss, the Education Secretary Michael Gove, for two schools in her constituency to be spared from the government's plans to cancel refurbishment projects on over 700 schools nationwide. The plans for refurbishment of the two schools, which had been previously cancelled, were reinstated.
As of 6 February 2012 Teather was part of a ministerial working group together with Tim Loughton and justice minister Jonathan Djanogly that has been asked to come up with proposals within two months on how the law should be changed regarding how to amend the Children Act of 1989. According to The Guardian of 3 February 2012 that working group is aimed to include in the new Children Act one "presumption of shared parenting" for children's fathers and mothers after cases of divorce or spousal break up.
 Liberal Democrats Frontbench Team
In parliament Teather became one of the highest-profile Liberal Democrat MPs. Initially acting as her party's spokesperson on London, after the 2005 general election she was promoted to the front bench to serve as Liberal Democrat spokeswoman on Community and Local Government.
On 6 January 2006, 25 Liberal Democrat MPs signed a letter drafted by Teather and fellow frontbencher Ed Davey, indicating their unwillingness to continue working under party leader Charles Kennedy. The Guardian claimed the letter to be "the most damning" of the publicly expressed sentiments regarding Kennedy's position, and later that day Kennedy announced his resignation. Teather supported Menzies Campbell in the subsequent leadership election.
She was promoted again to Shadow Secretary of State for Education following Menzies Campbell's election as leader on 2 March 2006. In 2007 Teather became Shadow Secretary of State for Business, followed by becoming Shadow minister for Housing from 2008 until her appointment as Minister of State for Children and Families in the formation of the coalition government. On 4 September 2012, she was sacked from that post, as part of a broad Cabinet reshuffle, and returned to the backbenches.
 Higher education
In her maiden speech when first elected as an MP in 2003, Teather spoke about her opposition to tuition fees:
|“||I feel intense frustration when we talk of widening participation, only then to debate introducing a policy which would deter the very students we hope to attract. Fear of debt is as real to many people as real debt.
Top-up and tuition fees are serious issues of concern to my constituents. All the evidence suggests that fear of debt will deter those from lower income families and ethnic minority communities. This is particularly the case for Muslims – a large community in my constituency – where attitudes to debt are very different.
Fundamentally, I believe that this is about whether we want to encourage a world class education system, or a class based education system where students choose universities according to their ability to pay, and universities are judged on the level of their fees.
That is not a system I am comfortable with. It is an issue of great concern to my constituents, and many millions of people around this country. I hope honourable members will oppose the measures when the time comes.
In her campaign for re-election in May 2010, Teather re-iterated her opposition to tuition fees, signing a pledge to vote against them. However in December 2010 she voted for increasing tuition fees to £9,000.
In April 2011, Teather was questioned on BBC Question Time over replacing the Education Maintenance Allowance. Arguing against the claim that fewer poor pupils would be served by its replacement, Teather claimed that it would actually be targeted better at those who actually needed government support.
 Other activities
She established the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Guantanamo Bay in March 2007, and has used the group to campaign against the detention without charge of Jamil el-Banna, a constituent. She has visited Washington twice to lobby on his behalf, and also works closely on the case with the anti-death penalty charity, Reprieve and Amnesty International.
 Boundary changes
Brent East and neighbouring Brent South were abolished at the 2010 general election. On 31 August 2006 Teather announced her intention to stand for the new Brent Central constituency. She faced, and defeated, Labour MP Dawn Butler, who had been member for Brent South, despite Butler having a notional majority of 7,000 in the redrawn constituency.
 See also
- Mark Greaves (14 May 2010). "Election ushers in new Catholic MPs". Catholic Herald (London). Retrieved 2010-05-17.
- "Sarah Teather". BBC NEWS.
- "Sarah Teather MP, Brent Central". TheyWorkForYou.com. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- "UK Parliament: Member Profile: Sarah Teather". Biographies.parliament.uk. 18 September 2003.
- "Who is Sarah Teather?". The Guardian (London). 19 September 2003. Retrieved 2010-04-13. Unknown parameter
- "Sarah Teather - MP for Brent East". Liberal Democracts. No date. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- "Islington Borough Council 2002 Election Results and Turnout Statistics". Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- Brent East By-election 2003
- "Youngest Members of Parliament since 1895". Election.demon.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- "Guardian: Politics: Election 2005, Brent East". Politics.guardian.co.uk. London. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- "Brent Central election results". BBC. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
- "MPs' Expenses: the saints". The Daily Telegraph (London). 18 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- "Gove saved schools in deputy's back yard". The Sunday Times (London). 12 September 2010. p. 13
- "Politics: Sarah Teather". London: Politics.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- David Hencke; Julian Glover (7 January 2006). "Kennedy's days numbered as party erupts in open revolt". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- Matthew Tempest (9 January 2006). "Ashdown backs Campbell for leadership". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- Ben Russell (9 January 2006). "Leadership contenders square up to battle over Lib Dems' top job". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- "Teather promoted to education job". BBC News. 8 March 2006. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- "Benefit cap is immoral and divisive, says top Liberal Democrat". The Observer (London). 17 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
- "Minister and audience clash over EMA". BBC News. 1 April 2011.
- Sarah Teather (2 October 2006). "Sarah Teather: An emotional visit to the Manor". London: Blogs.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- "People of 2007". New Statesman. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- Robert Verkalk (31 May 2008). "Guantanamo Briton will face US military court". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2011-02-19.
- "Brent Central Lib Dems: Brent is my home, says Sarah". Brent Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- Sarah Teather MP official site
- Profile at the Liberal Democrats
- Brent Liberal Democrats
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Electoral history and profile at The Guardian
- Voting record at PublicWhip.org
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou.com
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- Articles authored at Journalisted
- Video: Sarah Teather speaks about parliamentary demographics hosted by YouTube on the BBC's official channel
- Contributor page at The Guardian
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Brent East
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for Brent Central
|Baby of the House
|Minister of State for Children and Families