Pensions  

Altmann comes out Tweeting ‘I am about policy, not politics’

Altmann comes out Tweeting ‘I am about policy, not politics’

Ros Altmann, the Conservatives pensions minister, has broken her silence to comment on reports of her expulsion from the Labour Party after it was discovered she has been a member for more than 18 months despite being a Tory minister since May.

The Huffington Post UK revealed Tory minister Ros Altmann was made a peer by David Cameron and appointed pensions minister soon after his general election victory in May when she was still a Labour party member as her membership renewed automatically in March this year.

Ms Altmann, via her Twitter account @rosaltmann, tweeted this morning that her work on pensions, savings and retirement always focused on policy, not politics.

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As an “independent” she pointed out she had wanted to know all three parties policies on these issues.

Ms Altmann said: “Upset at reports of me voting in Labour leadership election. Of course I didn’t and had no intention of doing so.

“I joined three main parties as independent policy adviser to keep an eye on each party’s policies in my areas of interest ahead of the election.

“Paid my membership of all parties-never hidden who I am. Labour didn’t pick it up despite their ‘scrupulous’ checks until media called them.

“Should I ask for a refund of my membership? You join for a whole year. Was just amused to get texts asking for my vote. Big storm in teacup.

Yesterday the Department for Work and Pensions defended the Conservative Party minister’s Labour party membership to FTAdviser.

A spokesman for the DWP told FTAdviser: “Ros has taken an interest in all three parties (this is because prior to the election she worked on policy, not politics, and wanted to keep in touch with what each party was doing).

“The story here is surely that despite the Labour Party boasting of its scrupulous checking they still sent a Conservative Minister a voting form.”

As FTAdviser pointed out yesterday Ms Altmann has in fact worked closely - and had her expertise called upon - by all three main political parties during her career.

Ms Altmann was first brought in to the Westminster fold by Tony Blair’s New Labour government.

emma.hughes@ft.com