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Ken Clarke is one the most significant political figures of recent times. An outspoken pro-European voice in politics, he has held ministerial office under three Conservative Prime Ministers and is widely respected as an experienced and principled influence on his party.
Educated at Nottingham High School and Cambridge, the Rt. Hon Kenneth Clarke MP is a barrister-at-law, having been called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn in 1963 and becoming QC in 1980. He has practised on the Midlands Circuit, based in Birmingham.
Kenneth Clarke first became active in politics at Cambridge where he was President of the Union. Life in the House of Commons began on his election as MP for Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire, in the 1970 general election and he has retained the seat to this day.
His career within the House has been a long one and he held positions within the Department of Transport before being appointed Minister for Health in 1982. Kenneth Clarke joined the Cabinet in 1985 as Paymaster General and Minister for Employment. Following the 1987 general election he became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for Trade & Industry. He subsequently held the posts of Secretary of State for Health, Education & Science and Home Office before becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer in May 1993, a position he held until the general election of May 1997.
In January 2009, he rejoined the Conservative Party front bench team as Shadow Business Secretary. In May 2010 Clarke was appointed as Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor in the coalition government, a position he held until September 2012. He returned to the back benches following the Cabinet re-shuffle in July 2014.
During his time as a backbencher and shadow minister he broadened his business interests, taking on a number of non-executive directorships with companies including British American Tobacco, Alliance Unichem and Independent News and media (UK).
Renowned for his powerful performances in the House and credited with having taken the UK economy to a healthy state, Kenneth Clarke is one of the most impressive people on the political scene today.
Famous also for his lively sense of humour and “the chuckle”, Kenneth Clarke’s vast experience of world economic and political affairs make him a much requested keynote speaker at senior-level conferences.
Together with Dominic Grieve, Greg Clark, and Nicholas Soames, Ken Clarke was one of the twenty-one Conservative Members of Parliament to be deprived of the whip in September 2019. In 2020 Ken Clarke was elevated to the peerage as Lord Clarke of Nottingham.
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