Kenneth Clarke

Kenneth Harry Clarke CH QC (born 2 July 1940), often known as Ken Clarke, is a British Conservative politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe since 1970. He is currently the Father of the House.

Clarke, described by the press as a 'Big Beast' of British politics, has served in the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Education Secretary, Health Secretary and minister without portfolio. He has been the President of the Tory Reform Group since 1997. Clarke identifies with economically and socially liberal views.[2]

Clarke contested the Conservative Party leadership three times—in 1997, 2001 and 2005—being defeated each time. Opinion polls indicated he was more popular with the general public than with his party, whose generally Eurosceptic stance did not chime with his pro-European views. He is President of the Conservative Europe Group, Co-President of the pro-EU body British Influence and Vice-President of the European Movement UK.[3]

Clarke was one of only five ministers (Tony Newton, Malcolm Rifkind, Patrick Mayhew and Lynda Chalker are the others) to serve throughout the whole 18 years of the Governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, which represents the longest uninterrupted Ministerial service in Britain since Lord Palmerston in the early 19th century. He returned to government in 2010 and his total time as a minister is the fifth-longest in the modern era; having spent over 20 years serving under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron.[4]

Ken Clarke

Official portrait of Mr Kenneth Clarke crop 2
Father of the House of Commons
Assumed office
26 February 2017
Preceded byGerald Kaufman
Personal details
Kenneth Harry Clarke

2 July 1940 (age 78)
West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, England
Political partyConservative
Gillian Edwards
(m. 1964; died 2015)
Alma materGonville and Caius College, Cambridge

Early life and education

Clarke was born in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, and was christened with the same name as his father, Kenneth Clarke, a Nottinghamshire mining electrician and later a watchmaker and jeweller.[5] He attended Nottingham High School[6] before going to read for a law degree at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he graduated with an upper second honours degree. Clarke initially held Labour sympathies, and his grandfather was a Communist, but while at Cambridge he joined the Conservative Party.

As Chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA), Clarke invited former British Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley to speak for two years in succession, prompting some Jewish students (including his future successor at the Home Office, Michael Howard) to resign from CUCA in protest.[7] Howard then defeated Clarke in one election for the presidency of the Cambridge Union Society, but Clarke subsequently became President of the Cambridge Union a year later, being elected on 6 March 1963 by a majority of 56 votes. Clarke opposed the admission of women to the Union, and is quoted as saying upon his election, "The fact that Oxford has admitted them does not impress me at all. Cambridge should wait a year to see what happens before any decision is taken on admitting them."[8]

In an early-1990s documentary, journalist Michael Cockerell played to Clarke some tape recordings of Clarke speaking at the Cambridge Union as a young man, and he displayed amusement at hearing his then-stereotypical upper class accent. Clarke is deemed one of the Cambridge Mafia, a group of prominent Conservative politicians who were educated at Cambridge in the 1960s. After leaving Cambridge, Clarke was called to the bar in 1963 at Gray's Inn, and "took silk" (was promoted to Queen's Counsel) in 1980.[9]

Parliamentary career

Clarke sought election to the House of Commons almost immediately after leaving university. His political career began by contesting the Labour stronghold of Mansfield at the 1964 and 1966 elections. In June 1970, at the age of 29, he won the East Midlands constituency of Rushcliffe, south of Nottingham, from Labour MP Tony Gardner. Along with Dennis Skinner (Labour–Bolsover), who has also served continually since the 1970 general election, he is one of the two most senior sitting MPs and is currently Father of the House.

Clarke was soon appointed a Government whip, and served as such from 1972 to 1974; he, with the assistance of Labour rebels, helped ensure Edward Heath's government won key votes on British entry into the European Communities (which later evolved into the European Union). Even though Clarke opposed the election of Margaret Thatcher as Conservative Party Leader in 1975, he was appointed as her Industry Spokesman from 1976 to 1979, and then occupied a range of ministerial positions during her premiership.

He is the subject of a portrait in oil commissioned by Parliament.[10][11]

Early ministerial positions

Clarke first served in the government of Margaret Thatcher as Parliamentary Secretary for Transport (1979–81) and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (1981–82), and then Minister of State for Health (1982–85).

He joined the Cabinet as Paymaster-General and Employment Minister (1985–87) (his Secretary of State, Lord Young, sat in the Lords), and served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister of the DTI (1987–88) with responsibility for Inner Cities. While in that position, Clarke announced the sale to British Aerospace of the Rover Group, a new name for British Leyland, which had been nationalised in 1975 by the Government of Harold Wilson.[12]

Health Secretary

Clarke was appointed the first Secretary of State for Health when the department was created out of the former Department of Health and Social Security in July 1988.[13] Clarke, with backing from John Major, persuaded Thatcher to accept the controversial "internal market" concept to the NHS.[14][15] Clarke claimed that he had persuaded Thatcher to introduce internal competition in the NHS as an alternative to her preference for introducing a system of compulsory health insurance, which he opposed.[16]

He told his biographer Malcolm Balen: "John Moore was pursuing a line which Margaret [Thatcher] was very keen on, which made everything compulsory medical insurance. I was bitterly opposed to that...The American system is...the world's worst health service – expensive, inadequate and with a lot of rich doctors".[17] In her memoirs Thatcher claimed that Clarke, although "a firm believer in state provision", was "an extremely effective Health minister – tough in dealing with vested interests and trade unions, direct and persuasive in his exposition of government policy".[18]

In January 1989, Clarke's White Paper Working for Patients appeared; this advocated giving hospitals the right to become self-governing NHS Trusts, taxpayer-funded but with control over their budgets and independent of the regional health authorities.[19] It also proposed that doctors be given the option to become "GP fundholders". This would grant doctors control of their own budgets in the belief that they would purchase the most effective services for their patients. Instead of doctors automatically sending patients to the nearest hospital, they would be able to choose where they were treated. In this way, money would follow the patient and the most efficient hospitals would receive the greatest funding.[20]

This was not well received by doctors and their trade union, the British Medical Association, launched a poster campaign against Clarke's reforms, claiming that the NHS was "underfunded, undermined and under threat". They also called the new GP contracts "Stalinist". A March 1990 opinion poll commissioned by the BMA showed that 73% believed that the NHS was not safe in Conservative hands.[20] Clarke later claimed that the BMA was "the most unscrupulous trade union I have ever dealt with and I've dealt with every trade union across the board".[20] Although Thatcher tried to halt the reforms just before they were introduced, Clarke successfully argued that they were necessary to demonstrate the government's commitment to the NHS. Thatcher told Clarke: "It is you I'm holding responsible if my NHS reforms don't work".[20]

By 1994 almost all hospitals had opted to become trusts but GP fundholding was much less popular.[21] There were allegations that fundholders received more funding than non-fundholders, creating a two-tier system. GP fundholding was abolished by Labour in 1997 and replaced by Primary Care Groups.[22] According to John Campbell, by "the mid-1990s the NHS was treating more patients, more efficiently than in the 1980s...the system was arguably better managed and more accountable than before".[22] Studies suggest that while the competition introduced in the "internal market" system resulted in shorter waiting times it also caused a reduction in the quality of care for patients.[23][24]

Clarke has been the subject of criticism over the decades for his involvement in the contaminated blood scandal.[25][26][27] It was the largest loss-of-life disaster in Britain since the 1950s and claimed the lives of thousands of haemophiliacs.[28] Theresa May ordered a public inquiry into the contaminated blood Scandal in July 2017.[29]

Later ministerial positions

Just over two years later he was appointed Secretary of State for Education and Science in the final weeks of Thatcher's Government, following Norman Tebbit's unwillingness to return to Cabinet after the resignation of Sir Geoffrey Howe. Clarke was the first Cabinet Minister to advise Thatcher to resign after her victory in the first round of the November 1990 leadership contest was less than the 15% winning margin required to prevent a second ballot; she referred to him in her memoirs as a candid friend: "his manner was robust in the brutalist style he has cultivated: the candid friend".[30]

Clarke came to work with John Major very closely, and quickly emerged as a central figure in his government. After continuing as Education Secretary (1990–92), where he introduced a number of reforms, he was appointed as Home Secretary in the wake of the Conservatives' victory at the 1992 general election. In May 1993, seven months after the impact of "Black Wednesday" had damaged Norman Lamont's credibility as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Major sacked Lamont and appointed Clarke in his place.

Chancellor of the Exchequer

At first, Clarke was seen as the dominant figure in Cabinet, and at the October 1993 Conservative Party Conference he defended Major from his critics by pronouncing "any enemy of John Major is an enemy of mine."

In the party leadership contest of 1995, when John Major beat John Redwood, Clarke kept faith in Major and commented: "I don't think the Conservative Party could win an election in 1,000 years on this ultra right-wing programme".[31]

Clarke enjoyed an increasingly successful record as Chancellor, as the economy recovered from the recession of the early 1990s and a new monetary policy was put into effect after Black Wednesday. He reduced the basic rate of income tax from 25% to 23%, reduced UK Government spending as a percentage of GDP, and reduced the budget deficit from £50.8 billion in 1993 to £15.5 billion in 1997. Clarke's successor, the Labour Chancellor Gordon Brown, continued these policies, which eliminated the deficit by 1998 and allowed Brown to record a budget surplus for the following four years. Interest rates, inflation and unemployment all fell during Clarke's tenure at HM Treasury. Clarke's success was such that Brown felt he had to pledge to keep to Clarke's spending plans and these limits remained in place for the first two years of the Labour Government that was elected in 1997.[15]

Differences of opinion within the Cabinet on European policy, on which Clarke was one of the leading pro-Europeans, complicated his tenure as Chancellor. Whereas other ministers such as Malcolm Rifkind wished to imply that British euro membership was unlikely, Clarke fought successfully to maintain the possibility that Britain might join a single currency under a Conservative Government, but conceded that such a move could only take place with the mandate of a referendum. When Tory Party Chairman, Brian Mawhinney, was understood to have briefed against him on one occasion, Clarke memorably declared: "tell your kids to get their scooters off my lawn" – an allusion to Harold Wilson's rebuke of Trades Union leader Hugh Scanlon in the late 1960s.

Role as a backbencher

After the Conservatives entered opposition in 1997, Clarke contested the leadership of the Party for the first time. In 1997, the electorate being solely Tory Members of Parliament, he topped the poll in the first and second rounds. In the third and final round he formed an alliance with Eurosceptic John Redwood, who would have become Shadow Chancellor and Clarke's deputy, were he to have won the contest. However, Thatcher endorsed Clarke's rival William Hague, who proceeded to win the election comfortably. The contest was criticised for not involving the rank-and-file members of the Party, where surveys showed Clarke to be more popular. Clarke rejected the offer from Hague of a Shadow Cabinet role, opting instead to return to the backbenches.

Clarke contested the party leadership for a second time in 2001. Despite opinion polls again showing he was the most popular Conservative politician with the British public,[15] he lost in a final round among the rank-and-file membership, a new procedure introduced by Hague, to a much less experienced, but strongly Eurosceptic rival, Iain Duncan Smith. This loss, by a margin of 62% to 38%, was attributed to the former Chancellor's strong pro-European views being increasingly out-of-step with the party members' Euroscepticism.[15] His campaign was managed by Andrew Tyrie.

Clarke opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq. After choosing not to stand for the leadership after Duncan Smith departed in 2003 in the interests of party unity, he returned to fight the 2005 leadership election. He still retained huge popularity among voters, with 40% of the public believing he would be the best leader.[32] He was accused by Norman Tebbit of being "lazy" whilst leadership rival Sir Malcolm Rifkind suggested that Clarke's pro-European views could have divided the Conservative Party had Clarke won.[33] In the event, Clarke was eliminated in the first round of voting by Conservative MPs. Eventual winner David Cameron appointed Clarke to head a Democracy Task Force as part of his extensive 18-month policy review in December 2005, exploring issues such as the reform of the House of Lords and party funding. Clarke is President of the Tory Reform Group, a liberal, pro-European ginger group within the Conservative Party.

In 2006, he described Cameron's plans for a British Bill of Rights as "xenophobic and legal nonsense".[34]

Expenses scandal

On 12 May 2009, The Daily Telegraph reported that Clarke had "flipped" his Council Tax. He had told the Parliamentary authorities that his main home was in the Rushcliffe constituency, enabling him to claim a second-home allowance on his London residence, leaving the taxpayer to foot the bill for Council Tax due on that property. However, he told Rushcliffe Borough Council in Nottinghamshire that he spent so little time at his constituency address that his wife Gillian should qualify for a 25% Council Tax (single person's) discount, saving the former Chancellor around £650 per year. Land Registry records showed that Clarke no longer had a mortgage on his Nottinghamshire home where he has lived since 1987. Instead he held a mortgage on his London property, which was being charged to the taxpayer at £480 per month.[35]

Return to the frontbench

In 2009, Clarke became Shadow Business Secretary in opposition to then-Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson. David Cameron described Clarke as about the only one able to challenge Mandelson and Brown's economic credibility. Two days later it was revealed that Clarke had warned in a speech a month earlier that President Barack Obama could see David Cameron as a "right-wing nationalist" if the Conservatives maintained Eurosceptic policies and that Obama would "start looking at whoever is in Germany or France if we start being isolationist".[36] The Financial Times said "Clarke has in effect agreed to disagree with the Tories' official Eurosceptic line".[37]

Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary

On 12 May 2010, Clarke's appointment as Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in the Coalition Government formed between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties.[38] James Macintyre, political editor of Prospect, argued that in this ministerial role he had instigated a process of radical reform.[39]

In June 2010, Clarke signalled an end to short prison sentences after warning it was "virtually impossible" to rehabilitate any inmate in less than 12 months. In his first major speech after taking office, Clarke indicated a major shift in penal policy by saying prison was not effective in many cases. This could result in more offenders being handed community sentences. Clarke, who described the current prison population of 85,000 as "astonishing", received immediate criticism from some colleagues in a Party renowned for its tough stance on law and order. He signalled that fathers who fail to pay child maintenance, disqualified drivers and criminals fighting asylum refusals could be among the first to benefit and should not be sent to prison.[40]

Clarke announced in February 2011 that the Government intended to scrutinise the relationship between the European Court of Human Rights and national parliaments.[41]

In May 2011, controversy related to Clarke's reported views on rape resurfaced after an interview on the radio station BBC 5 Live, where he discussed a proposal to further reduce the sentences of criminals, including rapists, who pleaded guilty pre-trial.[42]

In 2011 and 2012, Clarke faced criticism for his Justice and Security Bill, in particular those aspects of it that allow secret trials when "national security" is at stake.[43][44] The Economist stated: "the origins of the proposed legislation lie in civil cases brought by former Guantánamo detainees, the best-known of whom was Binyam Mohamed, alleging that government intelligence and security agencies (MI6 and MI5) were complicit in their rendition and torture".[45][46] Prominent civil liberties and human rights campaigners argued: "the worst excesses of the war on terror have been revealed by open courts and a free media. Yet the Justice and Security Green Paper seeks to place Government above the law and would undermine such crucial scrutiny."[47]

Minister without Portfolio

Following the 2012 Cabinet reshuffle, Clarke was moved from Justice Secretary to Minister without Portfolio. It was also announced that he would assume the role of roving Trade Envoy with responsibility for promoting British business and trade interests abroad, a position which he enjoyed.

In the 2014 Cabinet reshuffle, after more than 20 years serving as a Minister, it was announced that Clarke had stepped down from government, to return to the backbenches.[48] Clarke was honoured with appointment as a Companion of Honour, upon the Prime Minister's recommendation, in July 2014.[49]

Return to the backbench

Clarke was opposed to Brexit during the 2016 referendum on the United Kingdom's continued membership of the European Union, and opposed the holding of the referendum in the first place.[50] He was the sole Conservative MP to vote against the triggering of Article 50.[51]

During the 2016 Conservative Party leadership election Clarke was interviewed by Sky News on 5 July 2016 and made negative comments to Sir Malcolm Rifkind,[52] about the "fiasco" (leadership contest) and about three of the candidates. In a widely circulated video clip, he referred to Theresa May as a "bloody difficult woman", joked that Michael Gove, who was "wild", would "go to war with at least three countries at once" and characterised some of the utterances of Andrea Leadsom as "extremely stupid". Clarke added that Gove "did us all a favour by getting rid of Boris. The idea of Boris as prime minister is ridiculous."[53]

In February 2017, following the death of Sir Gerald Kaufman, Clarke became Father of the House of Commons. He was re-elected as an MP in the 2017 general election.

In December 2017 he voted along with fellow Conservative Dominic Grieve and nine other Conservative MPs against the government, and in favour of guaranteeing Parliament a "meaningful vote" on any Brexit deal May agrees with the European Union.[54]

Corporate and other work

Whilst serving as a backbench MP and as a Shadow Cabinet Minister, Clarke accepted several non-executive directorships:

  • Deputy Chairman and a director of British American Tobacco (BAT) (1998–2007), for which Clarke faced allegations relating to activities of BAT in lobbying the developing world to reject stronger health warnings on cigarette packets and evidence that that corporation had been involved in smuggling and targeting children with advertisements.[55][56]
  • Deputy Chairman of Alliance Unichem
  • Chairman (non-executive) of Unichem
  • Director of Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust
  • Member from June 2007 of the Advisory Board of Centaurus Capital, a London-based hedge fund management company.[57]
  • Clarke is a member of the advisory board of Agcapita Farmland Investment Partnership,[58] a Canadian farmland investment fund.
  • Director (non-executive) of Independent News and Media (UK).[59]
  • Participant at the annual meeting of the Bilderberg Group in 1993, 1998-2000, 2003, 2004, 2006–08, 2012 and 2013.[60][61][62][63][64]

Media work

Also as a backbencher, Clarke declared engagement in non-political media work:

Personal life

In 1964, Clarke married Gillian Edwards, a Cambridge contemporary.[66] They had a son and a daughter.[15] Edwards died of cancer in July 2015.[67]

Clarke's enthusiasm for cigars, jazz, and motor racing is well known,[15] and he enjoys birdwatching as well as reading political history. He is also popularly recognised for his affection for suede Hush Puppies, a brand of shoe, which became a "trademark" of his during his early ministerial days.[68] His autobiography denies he wore Hush Puppies and says these suede shoes were hand-made by Crockett & Jones.[69]

Clarke is a sports enthusiast, being a supporter of both local clubs Notts County[70][71] and Nottingham Forest, who offered him a chair[72] and a former President of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. He is President of both Radcliffe Olympic and the Radcliffe on Trent Male Voice Choir, and a keen follower of Formula One motorsport. He was involved with tobacco giant British American Tobacco's Formula One team British American Racing (BAR) and has attended Grands Prix in support of the BAR team. BAR was sold to Honda in 2005. He also appeared on the podium of the 2012 British Grand Prix to present the first-place trophy to Mark Webber.

He attended the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final and jokingly claims to have been influential in persuading the linesman, Tofiq Bahramov, to award a goal to Geoff Hurst when the England striker had seen his shot hit the crossbar of opponents West Germany, leaving doubt as to whether the ball had crossed the line. Clarke's position in the Wembley crowd was right behind the linesman at the time, and he shouted at the official to award a goal.[73]

Clarke is a lover of real ale and has been an active member of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).[74] His memoir, Kind of Blue, was published in October 2016.[75]

Styles of address

Companion of Honour
Insignia of Companion of Honour
  • 1940–1970: Mr Kenneth Harry Clarke
  • 1970–1980: Mr Kenneth Harry Clarke MP
  • 1980–1985: Mr Kenneth Harry Clarke QC MP
  • 1985–2014: The Rt Hon Kenneth Harry Clarke QC MP
  • 2014–present: The Rt Hon Kenneth Harry Clarke CH QC MP


  1. ^ Parliamentary Secretary (1979-81)
  2. ^ Stadler, Liliane (6 December 2016). "Ken Clarke's Kind of Blue". OxPol. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
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  6. ^ "My School Days: Ken Clarke". 9 June 2014. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014.
  7. ^ Anthony, Andrew (27 March 2005). "Howard's way". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  8. ^ "News in Brief". The Times (55643). London. 7 March 1963. col B, p. 5.
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  12. ^ "Rover Group (Privatisation) (Hansard, 29 March 1988)".
  13. ^ John Campbell, Margaret Thatcher, Volume Two: The Iron Lady (London: Jonathan Cape, 2003), p. 552.
  14. ^ Campbell, p. 552.
  15. ^ a b c d e f "Contender: Kenneth Clarke". BBC News. 2 August 2005. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  16. ^ Rawnsley, Andrew (19 July 2014). "Kenneth Clarke: I had a lot of views, but they didn't coincide with No 10's". The Observer. London. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
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  18. ^ Margaret Thatcher, The Downing Street Years (London: HarperCollins, 1993), p. 614.
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  20. ^ a b c d Campbell, p. 553.
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  22. ^ a b Campbell, p. 554.
  23. ^ Propper Carol, Burgess Simon, Green Katherine (1 July 2004). "Does competition between hospitals improve the quality of care?: Hospital death rates and the NHS internal market". Journal of Public Economics. 88 (7–8): 1247–1272. doi:10.1016/S0047-2727(02)00216-5. ISSN 0047-2727.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  24. ^ Propper, Carol; Burgess, Simon; Gossage, Denise (1 January 2008). "Competition and Quality: Evidence from the NHS Internal Market 1991–9*". The Economic Journal. 118 (525): 138–170. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0297.2007.02107.x. ISSN 1468-0297.
  25. ^ Hattenstone, Simon (3 March 2018). "Britain's contaminated blood scandal: 'I need them to admit they killed our son'". the Guardian.
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  27. ^ Johnson, Diana. "Contaminated Blood - Hansard Online".
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  29. ^ "Home - Infected Blood Inquiry". Infected Blood Inquiry.
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  33. ^ "Tories round on candidate Clarke". BBC News. 4 September 2005. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
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  35. ^ Rayner, Gordon (12 May 2009). "MPs expenses: Ken Clarke's council tax 'flip'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 9 April 2010.
  36. ^ Winnett, Robert (21 January 2009). "Ken Clarke warns Barack Obama could see David Cameron as right wing nationalist". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  37. ^ "Interactive graphics – A Conservative Who's Who". Financial Times. London. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  38. ^ "Election 2010 – Live coverage – General Election 2010". BBC News. May 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  39. ^ Macintyre, James (2010). "Public service innovators". Ethos. Hook, Hants: Serco. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  40. ^ Whitehead, Tom (30 June 2010). "David Cameron insists short prison sentences to stay". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  41. ^ Stratton, Allegra (21 February 2011). "Kenneth Clarke offers hope to Tory critics of human rights court". The Guardian. London. p. 8.
  42. ^ "In full: Ken Clarke interview on rape sentencing". BBC News. 18 May 2011.
  43. ^ Rozenberg, Joshua (16 November 2011). "The justice and security green paper is an attack on liberty". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  44. ^ "Ken Clarke's justice bill passed despite 'attacks'". BBC News. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  45. ^ "A question of balance". The Economist. London. 2 June 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  46. ^ Cobain, Ian (9 April 2012). "Special report: Rendition ordeal that raises new questions about secret trials". The Guardian. London. p. 1. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  47. ^ Chakrabarti, Shami; Davis, David; Kennedy, Helena; Macdonald, Ken; Mercer, Nicholas; Rose, Dinah (6 March 2012). "Secrets and scrutiny (Letter)". The Guardian. London. p. 35. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
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  49. ^ "Kenneth Clarke appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour". Prime Minister's Office. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  50. ^ Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. London. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  51. ^ Sparrow, Andrew (7 December 2016). "MPs vote to demand Brexit plan and say article 50 should be triggered by end March". The Guardian. London.
  52. ^ "Ken Clarke caught on camera ridiculing Conservative leadership candidates - but Sky News face backlash after releasing footage". The Telegraph. London. 5 July 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  53. ^ Mason, Rowena; Asthana, Anushka (5 July 2016). "Ken Clarke caught on camera ridiculing Conservative leadership candidates". The Guardian. London.
  54. ^ Austin, Henry (13 December 2017). "Brexit vote: The 11 Tory rebel MPs who defeated the Government". The Independent. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  55. ^ British American Tobacco.
  56. ^ Monbiot, George (23 August 2005). "BAT role makes Clarke unfit for office". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  57. ^ "Hedge fund Centaurus appoints Ken Clarke as adviser". Reuters. 1 June 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  58. ^ "Agcapita Partners LP". Farmland Investment Partnership. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
  59. ^ "Kenneth Clarke MP". TheyWorkForYou.
  60. ^ "Memorandum submitted by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards — Complaint against Mr Kenneth Clarke". United Kingdom Parliament. 11 July 1997. Mr Clarke subsequently explained that he and Mr Blair considered that they were attending the conference as representatives of the Government and the Opposition respectively, and stated that "I was quite confident that I was at the time meeting the rules applying to Ministers, and it did not occur to me that the new rules concerning registration could apply to this visit".
  61. ^ "Register of Members' Interests". United Kingdom Parliament.
  62. ^ "His secret's out: how Georgie met Kissinger". London Evening Standard. 15 August 2008. p. 14. Ken Clarke, Peter Mandelson and former mandarin Lord Kerr were also among the select group of British figures at the gathering of politicians and tycoons.
  63. ^ Duffy, Jonathan (3 June 2004). "Bilderberg: The ultimate conspiracy theory". BBC News. Retrieved 24 September 2008. The group, which includes luminaries such as Henry Kissinger and former UK chancellor Kenneth Clarke, does not even have a website.
  64. ^ "Kenneth Clarke: Full register of members' interests". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 5–8 June 2008, to Chantilly, Virginia, USA, to attend Bilderberg Conference. Hotel accommodation paid for by the conference sponsors. (I paid my travel costs.) (Registered 12 June 2008)
  65. ^ "Register of Members' Interests".
  66. ^ "Is there more to Ken the Bloke?". The Daily Telegraph. London. 23 July 2001. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  67. ^ "Gillian Clarke: Historian, political activist and quilt-maker who stood at Ken Clarke's right hand for more than half a century". The Independent. London. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  68. ^ Naughton, Philippe (14 May 2010). "Ken Clarke sheds Hush Puppies for new job". The Times. London. (subscription required)
  69. ^ Kind of Blue, Ken Clarke 2016
  70. ^ The Notts County Miscellany by David Clayton, The History Press, 17 March 2017
  71. ^ Chandhoke, Harcharan (4 June 2001). "Kenneth Clarke: I was there when . ." The Guardian. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  72. ^ "Football: Forest offer chair to Kenneth Clarke". 23 June 1997. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  73. ^ Chandhoke, Harcharan (4 June 2001). "I was there when... England won the World Cup". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  74. ^ Hall, Sarah (6 August 2002). "Campaign to include women in real ale round". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  75. ^ Clarke, Ken (6 October 2016). Kind of Blue: A Political Memoir. Pan Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-5098-3724-3.

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Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Gerald Kaufman
Father of the House of Commons
1997 Conservative Party (UK) leadership election

The 1997 Conservative Party leadership election was triggered in the British Conservative Party when John Major resigned on 2 May 1997, following his party's landslide defeat at the 1997 general election, which ended 18 years of Conservative Government of the United Kingdom. Major had been Conservative leader and Prime Minister since November 1990.

2001 Conservative Party (UK) leadership election

The 2001 Conservative Party leadership election was held after the British Conservative Party failed to make inroads into the Labour government's lead in the 2001 general election. Party leader William Hague resigned, and a leadership contest was called under new rules Hague had introduced. Five candidates stepped forward: Michael Ancram, David Davis, Kenneth Clarke, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Portillo.

2005 Conservative Party (UK) leadership election

The 2005 Conservative Party leadership election was called by party leader Michael Howard on 6 May 2005, when he announced that he would be stepping down as Leader of the Conservative Party in the near future. However, he stated that he would not depart until a review of the rules for the leadership election had been conducted, given the high level of dissatisfaction with the current system. Ultimately, no changes were made and the election proceeded with the existing rules, which were introduced in 1998.

The contest formally began on 7 October 2005, when the Chairman of the 1922 committee, Michael Spicer, received a letter of resignation from Howard. Nominations for candidates opened immediately, and closed on 13 October.

The first round of voting amongst Conservative Members of Parliament took place on 18 October and Kenneth Clarke was eliminated (38 votes) leaving David Davis (62 votes), David Cameron (56 votes) and Liam Fox (42 votes) to go through to the second ballot on 20 October. In the second ballot, Fox was eliminated (51 votes), leaving Cameron (90 votes) and Davis (57 votes) to go through to a postal ballot. The ballot, whose result was declared on 6 December, saw Cameron win 68% of votes to Davis' 32%.

BBC Jazz Awards

The BBC Jazz Awards were set up in 2001 and had the status of one of the premier jazz awards in the United Kingdom (among those presenting the awards were Denis Lawson, Sue Mingus, Humphrey Lyttelton, Ian Carr, Clive James, Mike Gibbs, Julian Joseph, Moira Stuart, Annie Whitehead, Mark Knopfler, Dave Brubeck, and Kenneth Clarke). There were awards for Best Musician, Best Vocalist, Rising Star, Best Album, Jazz Innovation, Radio 2 Jazz Artist, Services to Jazz, Best of Jazz and others.

Programmes linked to the awards were broadcast on both Radio 2 and Radio 3. In March 2009, the BBC announced that the Jazz Awards were closed.

Britain in Europe

Until August 2005, Britain in Europe was the main British pro-European pressure group. Despite connections to Labour and the Liberal Democrats, it was a cross-party organisation with supporters from many different political backgrounds. Initially founded to campaign for a “Yes” vote for the euro, it then progressed to support a “Yes” vote for the referendum on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe.

The organisation was launched in 1999 by Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Kenneth Clarke, Michael Heseltine and Charles Kennedy. In 2003, the organisation formally linked itself with the Brussels-based, pro-European, international organisation European Movement.

The director of Britain in Europe was Simon Buckby and later Lucy Powell. The director of communications was the Scottish Liberal Democrat politician Danny Alexander.

On 17 August 2005, the group was wound up following the French and Dutch "No" votes on the proposed European Constitution. Its resources were turned over to the European Movement.

A successor pro-EU campaign, founded in 2012, is British Influence.

British Influence

British Influence, formally the Centre for British Influence Through Europe, was an independent, cross-party, pro-single market foreign affairs think tank based in the United Kingdom. The group was founded in 2012 to make the case for the European Union amid increasing calls for British withdrawal from the EU. It appointed Danny Alexander (Liberal Democrat), Kenneth Clarke (Conservative) and Peter Mandelson (Labour) as joint presidents ahead of a possible 2017 referendum.. In 2016 it changed its name to The Influence Group and advised UK businesses on the single market.

Brooklands, (Trafford ward)

Brooklands is an electoral ward of Trafford, Greater Manchester, covering the south-east of the town of Sale, including most of the Brooklands, Sale area. It is represented in Westminster by Mike Kane MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East The 2011 Census recorded a population of 10,434.

Conservative Europe Group

The Conservative Group for Europe (CGE), sometimes called the Conservative Europe Group (CEG) exists to promote Britain's vigorous and purposeful relationship with the European Union, advancing national interests through influence, collaboration and compromise by engaging in the shared challenges all European countries face. The organisation supports a Europe built on Conservative principles of an open market, individual and business opportunity and a responsible engagement in world affairs. CEG asserts that if a Conservative government is to have any chance of effectively tackling trans-national challenges including climate change, energy supplies, transport infrastructure, population shifts, common borders and free movement within, trans-border crime, terrorism, economic and financial turbulence, open markets and competition policy and security, then open, flexible working alliances with mainstream European colleagues are the only solution.

The Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP is the current Chairman, and The Rt. Hon. Kenneth Clarke MP is the President.

Jonathan Hill, Baron Hill of Oareford

Jonathan Hopkin Hill, Baron Hill of Oareford, (born 24 July 1960) is a British Conservative politician and former European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. Hill was Leader of the House of Lords and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 2013 to 2014. Prior to that, he served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools from 2010 to 2013 in the Conservative-Lib Dem Government.

Hill, a former political lobbyist and PR consultant, was special adviser to Cabinet Minister Kenneth Clarke and an adviser to the Conservative Prime Minister John Major before being appointed a Government Minister in 2010. Prime Minister David Cameron put Hill's name forward, on 15 July 2014, to be the next British EU Commissioner, upon which Lord Hill resigned from the Cabinet. On 10 September 2014, President Juncker appointed Hill as the European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union.

He took office as Britain's representative in the Juncker Commission on 1 November 2014 but announced his resignation on 25 June 2016 following the referendum in the UK to leave the EU, leaving office on 15 July.

July 2015 United Kingdom budget

The 2015 United Kingdom summer budget was delivered by George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to the House of Commons on Wednesday, 8 July 2015.This was the first fully Conservative budget since that presented by Kenneth Clarke in 1996.

Ken Clarke (disambiguation)

Ken Clarke (born 1940) is a British politician.

Ken Clarke, Kenny Clarke or Kenneth Clarke may also refer to:

Ken Clarke (bishop) (born 1949), Irish Anglican bishop

Ken Clarke (American football) (born 1956), American football defensive tackle

Ken Clarke (Australian footballer) (1883–1965), Australian rules footballer

Kenny Clarke (1914–1985), American jazz drummer

Kenneth A. Clarke, President and CEO of Pritzker Military Museum and Library in Chicago

List of ministers under Margaret Thatcher

This article lists government ministers who served under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, during which time she led a Conservative government. She was the first woman to hold that office. During her premiership, Thatcher retained the Falkland Islands, moved to liberalise the British economy through deregulation, privatisation, introducing the Right to Buy, through lower taxation and the promotion of entrepreneurialism.

Peter Brooke, Baron Brooke of Sutton Mandeville

Peter Leonard Brooke, Baron Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, (born 3 March 1934) is a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he served in the Cabinet under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and was a Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Cities of London and Westminster from 1977 to 2001.

Peter Lilley

Peter Bruce Lilley, Baron Lilley, PC (born 23 August 1943) is a British Conservative Party politician who was a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1983 to 2017 representing the constituency of Hitchin and Harpenden from 1997 and, prior to boundary changes, St Albans. He was a Cabinet minister in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, serving as Trade and Industry Secretary from July 1990 to April 1992, and as Social Security Secretary from April 1992 to May 1997, when he introduced Incapacity Benefit.

On 26 April 2017, he announced his retirement as an MP. He has been a long term critic of the European Union and backed Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum. Lilley has since been supportive of the Eurosceptic pressure group Leave Means Leave. In May 2018, he was nominated for peerage in the House of Lords.


Rushcliffe is a local government district with borough status in Nottinghamshire, England. The population of the Local Authority at the 2011 Census was 111,129. Its council, Rushcliffe Borough Council (0115 981 9911), is based in West Bridgford. It was formed on 1 April 1974 by merging the West Bridgford Urban District, the Bingham Rural District and part of Basford Rural District.

The district was named after the old Rushcliffe wapentake. Rushcliffe means "cliff where brushwood grows", from Old English hris "brushwood" and clif "cliff".

Rushcliffe (UK Parliament constituency)

Rushcliffe is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 1970 by Ken Clarke, a Conservative and the current Father of the House.

Third Thatcher ministry

Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 4 May 1979 to 28 November 1990, during which time she led a Conservative government. She was the first woman to hold that office. During her premiership, Thatcher moved to liberalise the British economy through deregulation, privatisation, and the promotion of entrepreneurialism.

This article details the third government Thatcher led at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II from 1987 to 1990.

Tony Newton, Baron Newton of Braintree

Antony Harold Newton, Baron Newton of Braintree, OBE, PC, DL (29 August 1937 – 25 March 2012) was a British Conservative politician and former Cabinet member. He was the member of Parliament for Braintree from 1974–1997, and was later a member of the House of Lords.

West Bridgford

West Bridgford is a town in the Rushcliffe borough of Nottinghamshire, England, immediately south of the city of Nottingham, delimited by the River Trent. The population of the town at the 2011 census was 47,109.It is part of the Rushcliffe constituency which is held by 'The Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke, QC', (Conservative Party), who is also a native of West Bridgford.

Ministerial offices
Minister without portfolio
In office
4 September 2012 – 14 July 2014
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byThe Baroness Warsi
Succeeded byRobert Halfon (2015)
Secretary of State for Justice
Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
In office
12 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Attorney GeneralDominic Grieve
Preceded byJack Straw
Succeeded byChris Grayling
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
27 May 1993 – 2 May 1997
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Chief SecretaryMichael Portillo
Jonathan Aitken
William Waldegrave
Preceded byNorman Lamont
Succeeded byGordon Brown
Home Secretary
In office
10 April 1992 – 27 May 1993
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Preceded byKenneth Baker
Succeeded byMichael Howard
Secretary of State for Education and Science
In office
2 November 1990 – 10 April 1992
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded byJohn MacGregor
Succeeded byJohn Patten (Education)
Secretary of State for Health
In office
25 July 1988 – 2 November 1990
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byJohn Moore (Social Services)
Succeeded byWilliam Waldegrave
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
13 July 1987 – 25 July 1988
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byNorman Tebbit
Succeeded byTony Newton
Minister of State for Trade and Industry
In office
13 July 1987 – 25 July 1988
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Sec. of StateThe Lord Young
Preceded byGiles Shaw
Succeeded byEric Forth
Paymaster General
In office
2 September 1985 – 13 July 1987
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byJohn Gummer
Succeeded byPeter Brooke
Minister of State for Employment
In office
2 September 1985 – 13 July 1987
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Sec. of StateThe Lord Young
Preceded byPeter Morrison
Succeeded byJohn Cope
Minister of State for Health
In office
5 March 1982 – 2 September 1985
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Sec. of StateNorman Fowler
Preceded byGerard Vaughan
Succeeded byBarney Hayhoe
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
for Transport[1]
In office
7 May 1979 – 5 March 1982
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Sec. of StateNorman Fowler
David Howell
Preceded byJohn Horam
Succeeded byLynda Chalker
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
8 January 1974 – 4 March 1974
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
ChancellorAnthony Barber
Preceded byHugh Rossi
Succeeded byDonald Coleman
Shadow Secretary of State
for Business, Innovation and Skills
In office
19 January 2009 – 11 May 2010
LeaderDavid Cameron
ShadowingThe Lord Mandelson
Preceded byAlan Duncan (Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform)
Succeeded byPat McFadden
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
2 May 1997 – 11 June 1997
LeaderJohn Major
ShadowingGordon Brown
Preceded byGordon Brown
Succeeded byPeter Lilley
Parliamentary offices
Member of Parliament
for Rushcliffe
Assumed office
18 June 1970
Preceded byAntony Gardner
Majority8,010 (13.7%) in 2017

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