Tracey Elizabeth Anne Crouch MP (born 24 July 1975) is a British Conservative Party politician. She is Member of Parliament (MP) for Chatham and Aylesford, having gained the seat from Labour at the 2010 general election. She was appointed as Minister for Sport, Civil Society and Loneliness in 2017, but resigned in 2018 due to a delay over the introduction of reduced limits on the stakes of fixed odds betting terminals.
Early life and career
Crouch was a parliamentary researcher from 1996 to 1998 before working in PR for Harcourt Public Affairs from 1999 to 2000. She returned to Westminster and held posts as chief of staff to three shadow ministers, including the shadow Home Secretary between 2003 and 2005. Crouch was then employed by the Aviva insurance company where she was the head of public affairs between 2005 and 2010. Before becoming a minister, she coached a junior girls' football team.
Crouch was elected as the Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford with a majority of 6,069. She won with a 46.2% share of the vote – a swing of 9.4% to the Conservatives. The Daily Telegraph listed her as one of their "pragmatic, Eurosceptic" new MPs who seeks to "anchor the [Conservative] party to the right of centre". In 2014, Crouch described herself as a "compassionate, One-Nation Conservative".
On 9 December 2010, Crouch abstained in the vote to raise university tuition fees. She was one of two Conservative MPs to abstain, while six voted against the proposals. Crouch voted against the badger cull, speaking during the debates on the subject in October 2012 and June 2013. She congratulated other Conservative MPs for voting against or abstaining on the vote, describing the cull as "barbaric and indiscriminate". She has also rebelled against the government in voting against press regulation and in support of mesothelioma victims. She voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. Following the 2015 general election, when she retained her seat with a 50.2% vote share, she was made Minister for Sport on 12 May 2015.
Ahead of the 2016 referendum on the UK's continued membership of the European Union, Crouch stated that she had yet to decide. Subsequently, she chose to keep the way she had voted private "to avoid conflict in her Kent constituency".
As Minister for Civil Society, which was added to her existing ministerial brief in June 2017, she was, in January 2018, appointed to lead a government-wide group with responsibility for policies connected to loneliness.
She resigned as a minister on 1 November 2018 over the timing of the £2 maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals across the UK. She, among others, had called for the new legislation to come into force in April 2019, but it is currently set to come into force in October 2019.
Crouch had always wanted to be sports minister, but had a miscarriage during the 2015 general election campaign, leaving her initially uncertain as to whether to take up David Cameron's offer of the post. She gave birth to her first child in February 2016 with her partner Steve Ladner, and became the first Conservative minister ever to take maternity leave.