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Monday 2 December 2019

Ken Clarke: The Big Beast of British Politics

Politics &
Economics

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After 49 years as a Conservative MP, Ken Clarke will be stepping down at the general election on December 12. But despite being the Father of the House – Westminster’s longest-serving male MP – Clarke has no party. He was expelled from the Conservative party in September for refusing to back a no-deal Brexit, and unlike some of the other rebel Tories who have had the whip restored, he will end his illustrious career politically homeless.

On December 2 – just ten days before the election – Clarke comes to the Intelligence Squared stage where, in conversation with the BBC’s Nick Robinson, he will reflect on his many years in politics and the twists and turns of the Brexit saga that have brought him to the curious position he is in today.

Despite being home secretary and chancellor of the exchequer, Clarke never succeeded in his three attempts to win the ultimate goal of the Tory leadership. But he is one of the great characters of British politics, known for his love of jazz and his trademark brown suede Hush Puppies (which are in fact handmade brogues from Crockett and Jones). He became health secretary despite his fondness for beer and cigars, and was the last chancellor to take advantage of the convention of sipping whisky at the despatch box during his budget statements to the Commons.

Throughout his Commons career, Clarke was always an ardent Europhile, unwavering in his support for strengthening the UK’s ties with the European Union. And yet Clarke has always been at heart a pragmatist. Although he called Theresa May ‘a bloody difficult woman’, he backed her deal three times, preferring a soft Brexit to a second referendum which might allow for Britain to remain in the EU.

Join us as this giant of British politics shares his thoughts on the future of British politics, and how despite being dispirited by Brexit, he can’t help enjoying – just a little bit – this great drama of our times.

Event Name

Ken Clarke: The Big Beast of British Politics


Choose Tickets

Speaker
  • Kenneth Clarke

    Former Conservative chancellor of the exchequer and parliament’s longest-serving MP

Chair
  • Nick Robinson

    Presenter on Radio 4’s Today programme

 

Speakers are subject to change.


Location
  • Church House
  • Great Smith Street,
  • Westminster,
  • London,
  • SW1P 3NZ
Time
  • Monday 2 December 2019
  • 7pm to 8:30pm



Speakers

Speaker

Kenneth Clarke

Former Conservative chancellor of the exchequer and parliament’s longest-serving MP


Former chancellor under John Major who has also served in various Conservative governments as home secretary, Lord Chancellor and justice secretary, education secretary and health secretary. He has represented the constituency of Rushcliffe since 1970. A staunch Remainer, he was the sole Conservative MP to vote against article 50.
Chair

Nick Robinson

Presenter on Radio 4’s Today programme


Presenter on Radio 4’s Today programme and former BBC political editor.

 

Speakers are subject to change.