Kenneth Clarke has been the Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe since 1970. He was in permanent ministerial employment throughout the 18 years of successive Conservative governments from 1979 to 1997, serving in the cabinets of both Margaret Thatcher and John Major.
He held Ministerial office in several Departments of State, culminating in periods as Secretary of State for Health, Secretary of State for Education and Science and Home Secretary. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1993 to 1997.
During a period on the back benches, he combined his duties as a Member of Parliament with a variety of business appointments and chaired the Conservative’s Democracy Task Force. In January, 2009, David Cameron appointed Mr. Clarke as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Following the General Election in May 2010 Kenneth Clarke returned to the Cabinet in the Coalition Government as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. In October 2012 he moved to the Cabinet Office as Minister of State without Portfolio and worked to develop key trade relationships on the Prime Minister’s behalf, particularly the US/EU negotiations. He had an advisory brief on the economy and also sat on the National Security Council.
He returned to the back benches in July 2014, when he was appointed a Companion of Honour. He is currently Chairman of the All Party Parlimentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition. As the Member of the House of Commons with the longest continuous service he is currently the Father of the House.