MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, Tim Loughton, has requested a government inquiry to discover the source of a personal attack labelling him as a “lazy narcissist” during his time as a minister.
The move emerged following an interview with the Spectator magazine last month, in which it quoted an unidentified person within the Department for Education, who had made the barbed comments towards the former minister for children and families.
It is thought they were in response to previous remarks Mr Loughton had reportedly made regarding the organisation of the education department.
He had also voiced an opinion that children’s welfare issues had missed out as a priority over a larger focus on school reform.
Concerned by the criticism, the MP has made a request for an inquiry into the matter, which sparked national media interest.
Tweeting on the incident, he said: “Oh dear, senior sources at the Department for Education briefing about lazy, narcissistic Loughton. I thought they were rewriting the history curriculum, not history!”
Speaking to the Herald, Mr Loughton felt the comments made against him were completely unjustified given his commitment to his former role.
He said: “Politics can be a tough old business, but anyone who knows the amount of work and dedication that I put in as minister will know those comments are ridiculous.
So I have asked the secretary of state for an inquiry on this, as such remarks bring politics into disrepute and hope the secretary of state will want to distance himself from this,”
According to reports in several national newspapers, Mr Gove has gone on record stating that he did not know the identity of the person within his department who had made the comments against Mr Loughton.
Mr Gove had said the remarks were “wrong” and that he had found the former minister to be a hard-working individual who had demonstrated a strong sense of humour.
However, he education secretary would not confirm whether an inquiry would be held into the incident, on the basis that it could prove costly and drawn out.
He doubted whether the exact source of the comments could in fact be positively traced.