Nick Timothy

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Nick Timothy
Downing Street Chief of Staff
In office
14 July 2016 – 9 June 2017
Serving with Fiona Hill
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byEdward Llewellyn
Succeeded byGavin Barwell
Personal details
Nicholas James Timothy

1980 (age 40–41)
Political partyConservative
Alma materUniversity of Sheffield

Nicholas James Timothy CBE (born March 1980) is a British political adviser.[1] He served as Joint Downing Street Chief of Staff, alongside Fiona Hill, to Prime Minister Theresa May,[2][3][4][5] until his resignation in the wake of the 2017 general election.[6]

Early life[edit]

Timothy was born in Birmingham, the son of a steel worker and a school secretary.[7] He was educated at King Edward VI Grammar School in Aston, Birmingham,[8] and at the University of Sheffield, where he gained a First in Politics.[3][9]

He has cited as his inspiration in politics the Birmingham-born Liberal politician Joseph Chamberlain, of whom he wrote a short biography for the Conservative History Group.[10] He has supported conservative philosophies which he believes benefit poorer people and has suggested the Conservative party should focus on benefiting all citizens.[7][11]


Early posts[edit]

Following his graduation, Timothy worked at the Conservative Research Department (CRD) for three years, from 2001 to 2004.[3] In 2004, Timothy left the Conservative Research Department to work as corporate affairs adviser for the Corporation of London.[3] In 2005, Timothy took up a post as a policy adviser for the Association of British Insurers.[3] In 2006, Timothy returned to politics after two years in the financial sector, spending a year working for Theresa May - the first of three posts on May's staff.[3] In 2007, Timothy returned to the CRD, where he worked for a further three years.[3]

Home Office[edit]

In 2010, Theresa May was appointed Secretary of State at the Home Office and appointed Timothy as a special adviser. He spent five years working for the Home Secretary, before leaving, in 2015, to become a Director at the New Schools Network (NSN).[3][12][13]

New Schools Network[edit]

While at the NSN he spoke in favour of ending the 50% Rule which requires oversubscribed Free Schools to allocate half of their places without reference to faith.[14]

In 2015, Timothy wrote an article to express his worry that the People's Republic of China was effectively buying Britain's silence on allegations of Chinese human rights abuse and opposing China's involvement in sensitive sectors such as the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. He criticised David Cameron and George Osborne for "selling our national security to China" and asserted that "the Government seems intent on ignoring the evidence and presumably the advice of the security and intelligence agencies." He warned that security experts were worried that the Chinese could use their role in the programme to build weaknesses into computer systems which would allow them to shut down Britain's energy production at will and argued that "no amount of trade and investment should justify allowing a hostile state easy access to the country's critical national infrastructure."[15][16]

In October 2016, the Health Service Journal rated him as the fifth most influential person in the English NHS in 2016.[17]

Timothy has stated that he voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 membership referendum.[18][1]

Downing Street[edit]

Following David Cameron's resignation as Prime Minister in the wake of the Brexit referendum result, Timothy took a sabbatical from his position at the NSN to work on Theresa May's 2016 leadership campaign. May's campaign was a success and Timothy was appointed Joint Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister on 14 July 2016.[19]

In spring 2017, May called a snap general election. As a result of the election, the Conservative Party lost its majority and became a minority government dependent on the Democratic Unionist Party for their majority. Timothy, along with Fiona Hill, faced immediate calls for his removal.[20] Theresa May was also given an ultimatum by Conservative Members of Parliament, to sack Timothy or face her own leadership challenge.[21]

On 9 June 2017, Timothy resigned as Joint Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister.[22] He, along with Hill, had been blamed by members of the Conservative Party for a disastrous campaign, which resulted in May losing a 20-point lead in the polls.[6] Reflecting in 2020 on the projected cost of adult social care, Timothy wrote "Many things went wrong in that election campaign, but I resigned as joint Chief of Staff in Downing Street because our social care proposal blew up the manifesto."[23]


Since leaving Downing Street, Timothy has worked as a columnist for The Daily Telegraph newspaper.[24]

Brexit and antisemitism[edit]

In February 2018, Timothy denied allegations of antisemitism[25][26] following the publication of an article of which he was the principal author that claimed the existence of a "secret plot" to stop Brexit by the Jewish philanthropist George Soros.[26] In response, Timothy tweeted: "Throughout my career I’ve campaigned against antisemitism, helped secure more funding for security at synagogues and Jewish schools".[25]

2019 general election[edit]

In November 2019, Timothy failed in a bid to be selected as the Conservative candidate for the Meriden constituency in the West Midlands, for the 2019 UK general election.[27] The seat had previously been held by Dame Caroline Spelman, who opted to stand down as an MP and candidate over the "intensity of abuse arising out of Brexit".[28]

2022 Commonwealth Games[edit]

In January 2019 Timothy was appointed as a member of the organising committee of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, to be held in his home city of Birmingham.[29]


  1. ^ a b Hardman, Isabel. "Beware the aides of May! The people who'll really run the new government". The Spectator. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  2. ^ "BBC Politics Live – 14 July 2016". BBC News. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h McInerney, Laura. "Profiles: Nick Timothy". Schools Week. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Theresa May's Cabinet a triumph for state education and women as new Prime Minister sweeps away Cameron favourites in 'Day of the Long Knives'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Press Release: Downing Street political advisers". Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  6. ^ a b "May's key advisers Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy resign following election". The Guardian. 10 June 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  7. ^ a b "The sage of Birmingham: Theresa May's pugnacious chief-of-staff prescribes a new direction for the Conservative Party". The Economist. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  8. ^ Walker, Jonathan (14 July 2016). "Theresa May's top advisor is a Brummie who loves Aston Villa". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  9. ^ Richardson, Hannah. "School selection plans could undo years of reform – Morgan". BBC News. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Conservative History Group: Books". Conservative History Group. Retrieved 24 August 2016. Joseph Chamberlain was one of the dominant figures of Victorian and Edwardian Britain – but while he is remembered for his record as Mayor of Birmingham, his role in committing the Conservative Party to social reform has been neglected by modern Tories. In this study, Nick Timothy explores the many roles Chamberlain played during his political life – Radical and Unionist; outsider and Cabinet Minister – and argues that his legacy is every bit as important to modern Conservatism as Disraeli's 'One Nation' approach and Randolph Churchill's Tory Democracy
  11. ^ Gimson, Andrew. "Profile: Nick Timothy, May's thinker-in-chief and co-Chief of Staff". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Nick Timothy". Centre for Science and Policy. University of Cambridge. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  13. ^ Parker, George. "Nick Timothy: Theresa May's political 'brain'". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  14. ^ Coughlan, Sean (28 January 2016). "Call to end limit on religious free schools". BBC. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  15. ^ Why have ministers delayed final approval for Hinkley Point C?, The Guardian, 29 July 2016
  16. ^ Nick Timothy: The Government is selling our national security to China, Conservative Home, 20 October 2015
  17. ^ "HSJ100 2016: The list in full". Health Service Journal. 11 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  18. ^ Timothy, Nick. "I've already voted Leave – but these wretched campaigns show everything that's wrong with British politics". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  19. ^ Mason, Rowena (15 July 2016). "May appoints former advisers as joint chiefs of staff". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  20. ^ Anushka Asthana and Rowena Mason (9 June 2017). "Tories say Theresa May must sack 'monsters who sunk our party'". The Guardian.
  21. ^ "'A toxic clique': Calls for Theresa May's closest advisers, Nick and Fiona, to be sacked or PM will face leadership challenge on Monday". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  22. ^ "Nick Timothy: Why I have resigned as the Prime Minister's adviser". Conservative Home. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  23. ^ Timothy, Nick (2020). "The Politics of Elder Care". RSA Journal. London. CLXVI (2): 20–21. ISSN 0958-0433.
  24. ^ "Nick Timothy". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  25. ^ a b Weich, Ben (8 February 2018). "Theresa May's former aide accused of using antisemitic slur in Brexit article on George Soros". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  26. ^ a b Bush, Stephen (8 February 2018). "Why is Nick Timothy's Telegraph column on anti-Brexit billionaire George Soros so disturbing?". New Statesman. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ Brown, Rivkah (23 January 2019). "People like Nick Timothy don't get fired: they just fail into great new jobs". New Statesman. Retrieved 23 January 2019.

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