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Ken Clarke

Official portrait of Mr Kenneth Clarke crop 2.jpg
Father of the House of Commons
Assumed office
26 February 2017
Preceded by Gerald Kaufman
Minister without portfolio
In office
4 September 2012 – 14 July 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Baroness Warsi
Succeeded by Robert Halfon (2015)
Secretary of State for Justice
Lord Chancellor
In office
12 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Attorney General Dominic Grieve
Preceded by Jack Straw
Succeeded by Chris Grayling
Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
In office
19 January 2009 – 11 May 2010
Leader David Cameron
Shadowing The Lord Mandelson
Preceded by Alan Duncan (Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform)
Succeeded by Pat McFadden
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
2 May 1997 – 11 June 1997
Leader John Major
Shadowing Gordon Brown
Preceded by Gordon Brown
Succeeded by Peter Lilley
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
27 May 1993 – 2 May 1997
Prime Minister John Major
Chief Secretary Michael Portillo
Jonathan Aitken
William Waldegrave
Preceded by Norman Lamont
Succeeded by Gordon Brown
Home Secretary
In office
10 April 1992 – 27 May 1993
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Kenneth Baker
Succeeded by Michael Howard
Secretary of State for Education and Science
In office
2 November 1990 – 10 April 1992
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded by John MacGregor
Succeeded by John Patten (Education)
Secretary of State for Health
In office
25 July 1988 – 2 November 1990
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by John Moore (Social Services)
Succeeded by William Waldegrave
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
13 July 1987 – 25 July 1988
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Norman Tebbit
Succeeded by Tony Newton
Minister of State for Trade and Industry
In office
13 July 1987 – 25 July 1988
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Sec. of State The Lord Young of Graffham
Preceded by Giles Shaw
Succeeded by Eric Forth
Paymaster General
In office
2 September 1985 – 13 July 1987
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by John Gummer
Succeeded by Peter Brooke
Minister of State for Employment
In office
2 September 1985 – 13 July 1987
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Sec. of State The Lord Young of Graffham
Preceded by Peter Morrison
Succeeded by John Cope
Minister of State for Health
In office
5 March 1982 – 2 September 1985
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Sec. of State Norman Fowler
Preceded by Gerard Vaughan
Succeeded by Barney Hayhoe
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport
In office
7 May 1979 – 5 March 1982
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Sec. of State Norman Fowler
David Howell
Preceded by John Horam
Succeeded by Lynda Chalker
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
8 January 1974 – 4 March 1974
Prime Minister Edward Heath
Chancellor Anthony Barber
Preceded by Hugh Rossi
Succeeded by Donald Coleman
Member of Parliament
for Rushcliffe
Assumed office
18 June 1970
Preceded by Antony Gardner
Majority 8,010 (13.7%)
Personal details
Kenneth Harry Clarke

2 July 1940 (1940-07-02) (age 80)
West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, England
Political party Conservative
Gillian Edwards
(m. 1964; died 2015)
Children 2
Alma mater Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge

Kenneth Harry Clarke (born 2 July 1940) 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.

Opinion polls indicate 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.

Clarke was one of only five ministers 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.

Early life

Clarke was born in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, and was christened with the same name as his father, Kenneth Clarke. He attended Nottingham High School 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.

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.

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