On Air Now
Heart Breakfast with Jamie Theakston and Zoe Hardman 6:30am - 10am
17 September 2013, 09:05 | Updated: 17 September 2013, 09:39
Tim Loughton has come under pressure to apologise after apparently suggesting that a Liberal Democrat was a bad families minister because she does not have children.
The Tory MP for Shoreham and East Worthing reportedly said Sarah Teather failed to support married couples while in government as she "doesn't really believe in family''.
According to the Daily Telegraph, he told activists that policies such as a married couples' tax break had been frustrated by her opposition.
"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,'' he said.
"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.''
Mr Loughton is said to have since described the remark as "throwaway'' and admitted it was unfair.
The father-of-three took to Twitter on Monday night and denied any "personal'' attack on Miss Teather saying he would apologise for the comments as reported, but insisted they were "certainly not intended or indeed said in that way''.
He said: "My criticism was lack of Lib Dem family policy not of Sarah Teather personally who I always respected.
"I will of course apologise to Sarah for the comments that have been reported and were certainly not intended or indeed said in that way.''
Mr Loughton and Miss Teather were colleagues at the Department for Education before both being fired in the 2012 reshuffle.