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article imageUK: Ken Clarke 'will' stand for re-election in 2015

By Mathew Wace Peck     Oct 7, 2013 in Politics
Ken Clarke, the long-standing Conservative Party MP, is to seek re-election at the next British general election, it has been revealed.
Rushcliffe - Kenneth Clarke, now 74, first entered the UK parliament as an MP in 1970 – the year Edward Heath became Britain’s Prime Minister, following a Conservative win in that year’s general election.
Speaking of his decision not to step down from parliament in 2015, Clarke admitted to the BBC that he was surprised to find himself still doing it, but that he is “a bit of a political anorak”, adding, “I find politics are as fascinating as I ever did.”
Previously, there had been some hints that the 74-year-old was planning to stand down before the next election, with him maintaining that he would make no official announcement until six months before the election itself.
However, it seems, that has only led to more and more speculation. Currently in Cameron’s cabinet, but as a minister without portfolio, Clarke has been speaking to the BBC East Midlands political editor, John Hess. “I get on very well with David,” he confided to Hess. “He’s had me in the government for three and a half years, which is much longer than I expected.”
After Cameron became Prime Minister in 2005, Clarke was appointed by him as Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, positions that were subsequently handed to Chris Grayling.
Clarke, it seems, is keen to remain at Cameron’s side. “He may have me there for the rest of this Parliament […] I hope he’ll keep me for as long as I can contribute,” he told Hess.
Then till now
In 1988, the Rushcliffe MP joined the cabinet of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, as Health Secretary, and is responsible for introducing the internal market into Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).
When Thatcher was ousted by her own cabinet colleagues in 1990, her successor, John Major, moved Clarke from the Department of Health, to make him, first, the Secretary of State for Education, then to promote him to Home Secretary.
However, following the events of the what became known as “Black Wednesday” – 16 September 1992 – and the decision made by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Norman Lamont, to withdraw Britain from the European Union’s exchange-rate mechanism, Major sacked Lamont and gave the job to Clarke.
After the Conservative Party lost the general election to Tony Blair’s New Labour, in 1997, and Major resigned as Tory leader, Clarke stood in the party election to succeed him. On that occasion, he lost out to William Hague – the current Foreign Secretary.
During the Conservatives so-called “wilderness years”, there were three more changes in Tory leader, with Clarke standing in the party-leadership elections that were held in 2001 and 2005. He was unsuccessful on both those counts, too: in 2001, losing out to Iain Duncan Smith – the current controversial Department of Work and Pensions Secretary – and, in 2005, to his current boss, Britain’s incumbent Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Of any still-lingering ambitions to become leader of his party, Clarke replied, “David realises I’m not a candidate wanting to oust him from his job […] I’m not trying – at the moment – to catch the selector's eye!”
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