EDWARD Timpson says he has had enough of politics – for a few years anyway.

The former Conservative MP,  who spent nearly 16 years in parliament, said the discourse in politics has deteriorated ‘so that’s alienated me a little from wanting to throw everything at it  and make all the sacrifices that you do have to make’.

By sacrifices, he mainly means his family.

Edward was just 34 when he was elected as the first Conservative MP for Crewe & Nantwich in the 2008 by-election following the death of Labour stalwart Gwyneth Dunwoody.

He held on to the seat in 2010 and again in 2015 before losing it in 2017 by just 48 votes to Labour’s Laura Smith.

Edward Timpson and his wife, Julia, celebrate his re-election as Crewe & Nantwich MP in 2015Edward Timpson and his wife, Julia, celebrate his re-election as Crewe & Nantwich MP in 2015 (Image: Belinda Ryan)

Two years later he was elected as MP for neighbouring Eddisbury – the seat he has decided not to contest this time.

“I’ve spent all of that time, with my family living in Cheshire while I’ve lived in London,” he said. adding he was now going to spend some quality time with his wife and children.

Children have been a driving force in Edward’s life and career  – both as a barrister in family law and then as a politician.

His parents, John and Alex, fostered more than 80 children over three decades.

And he can’t really remember a time growing up when his parents’ home wasn’t full of foster children.

“Having to share my toys, my mum’s affection -  that was quite tough to take when they first started fostering when I was about six,” he recalls.

But as he grew older he, too, became a bit of a carer for the younger foster children.

“I suppose I learned how to be a parent before I was actually a parent,” he said.

“And I got an insight and understanding into why my mum and my dad were giving up so much of their time and energy and love and emotion to help these children, because you do start to see the difference it makes, right in front of your eyes.”

Edward secured his ‘dream job’ as Children’s Minister in 2012 where he worked hard ‘doing really significant work on improving the lives of vulnerable children’.

Which is why he was gutted when he lost his seat in the snap election called by Theresa May in 2017.

“So that massive piece of legislation in 2014, the Children & Families Act, with reforms on adoption, special education needs, family justice, raising the age of foster care from 18 to 21…

“I got to the point, in 2017, where I'd been in post for almost five years as Children's Minister… I really understood my brief, I’d built lots of trust and credibility,” he said.

“I’d just done another big Bill in 2017, the Adoption and Children Act, and was in the process of starting to implement the special educational needs reforms - and then it all stopped.”

He paused: “If I'm honest, it took me about three months to get my head around what had happened.

“And I'd also had, during that campaign in 2017, a very nasty incident at home, with protesters on the roof.

“We all had to leave under police protection for three days and the whole discourse of politics had got really quite nasty during that particular campaign.

“So some parts of me were relieved that I didn't have that pressure and that worry for me and my family, but I came away from it thinking, I've not left on my own terms and I’ve still got unfinished business.

“That's why I came back, principally because I felt I still had more to give. “

Edward returned to parliament in 2019, this time as MP for Eddisbury, a constituency very different to Crewe & Nantwich.

In Crewe & Nantwich he had marched through the streets in protest with Royal Mail workers fighting the proposed transfer of the sorting office to Warrington.

Edward Timpson supported the Royal Mail workers during his time as MP in CreweEdward Timpson supported the Royal Mail workers during his time as MP in Crewe (Image: Image supplied)

He was invited by the union to address the workers as they assembled in Crewe.

“And I thought, wow, what have I let myself in for here?” he said.

“But actually, you know what, it turned out to be exactly the right thing to do.

“People, had to feel that I was speaking for them, rather than either for myself or just my party, because I was the first ever Conservative MP most people had ever seen around there.”

He was also thrown out of the tax office in Crewe after hot-footing it up from London when he was contacted by distraught workers who had just been told their office was closing.

Management didn’t like it because he hadn’t followed the proper protocol and asked their permission.

In the end, he was forced to meet with worried staff, some of them in tears, on a car park near the office.

“It certainly ruffled a few feathers, for sure, because people just assumed that I would either have no interest in those issues, or I would just send a polite letter asking them to consider a different course of action,” he said.

“Eddisbury’s a very different scenario for an MP. It’s geographically vast and lots of smaller communities.”

Edward Timpson with students at Petty Pool Vocational College & Outdoor Centre, SandiwayEdward Timpson with students at Petty Pool Vocational College & Outdoor Centre, Sandiway (Image: Supplied)

High on the agenda in Eddisbury were things like broadband coverage and buses.

“We had only seven per cent of households had access to gigabit capable broadband in the whole of Eddisbury,” said Edward.

“We're now up to I think, 78 per cent. My office worked really hard on that.”

Edward praised the work of  the ‘great group’ who had been fighting for the re-opening of a local rail station.

“There have been a few unsuccessful attempts in the past, to refloat the idea of the Beeston Castle and Tarporley Station reopening,” he said.

“But we've now managed to do a full business case, which has been accepted by the Department for Transport.

“That is now in its last stages of getting all the ducks in a row before it can start to move on to  construction.

“So that will be a big potential game changer… So, that would be a great legacy.

“There's also opportunities that come up that you weren't expecting.

“So we had the levelling-up money and we worked with Cheshire West and Chester Council to put a bid into the redevelopment of Winsford Town Centre.

“And then there was Tarporley War Memorial Hospital… that was essentially at real risk of closure, and we needed to find  a new partner to bring it back to life.

“I'm really pleased to say it's still open and providing new services.

“So there's plenty that we've been able to achieve, even in just under five years.”

But will he be back?

“I think it's highly unlikely that I'll ever be standing for parliament again,” Edward said.

And then, after a pause: “I think, if you've got that bug, you'd be silly to say, well, actually, I'm going to close that door forever, as I've already found out.”

But, for now, Edward Timpson CBE KC is going to spend time with his family, return to legal work and help out with a few children’s charities.