Sarah Teather

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Sarah Teather is the Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central, said to be the most ethnically diverse constituency in the UK. Following the formation of the Coalition government in May 2010, Teather was appointed Minister of State for Children and Families in the Department for Education, a position she held until September 2012.[1][2]

Teather left the Government in September 2012.[3] A year later, she announced that she had decided to quit Parliament because she could no longer pretend to support the Coalition or Nick Clegg’s leadership.

For various reasons, to do with some aspects of Government policy and the very particular issues that brought me to politics in the first place, I now feel that come the next general election, it will be the right time for me to step aside.

Teather believes certain Coalition policies were harming the most vulnerable members of society, such as the benefits cap and plans for making some immigrants pay a financial “bond” before entering Britain.

As with most party members, there have always been a few issues where I have disagreed with party policy. But over the last three years, what has been difficult is that policy has moved in some of the issues that ground my own personal sense of political vocation – that of working with and serving the most vulnerable members of society. I have disagreed with both Government and official party lines on a whole range of welfare and immigration policies, and those differences have been getting larger rather than smaller. Disagreements with the party on other areas of policy I have always felt could be managed, but these things are just core to my own sense of calling to politics. I have tried hard to balance my own desire to truthfully fight for what I believe on these issues with the very real loyalty and friendship I feel to party colleagues, but that has created intense pressure, and at times left me very tired. I don't think it is sustainable for me personally to continue to try and do that in the long term.[4]



  1. About Sarah - Biography, undated, acc 10 September 2013
  2. Full list of new cabinet ministers and other government appointments,, 13 May 2010.
  3. Cabinet reshuffle: Lansley replaced by Hunt in health job, BBC News, 4 September 2012.
  4. Sarah Teather statement on decision not to stand for Parliament in the next General Election, Website of Sarah Teather and Brent Liberal Democrats, September 7, 2013 9:00 PM, acc 10 Sept 2013