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Bring back Ken. He's one of the best talents we have got. Could someone please tell me of a single occasion when Ken spoke against the Party line on Europe when he was in the cabinet. Just one time???

Yes please.in plenty of time for the euro elections.

As the Telegraph says of Mandelson, his return 'has been a great success for Labour, uniting the party's warring factions and giving Mr Brown's top team more experience'. So why on earth are some people in the Conservative party so viscerally hostile to allowing the same thing to happen for us? It's at times like this that we are reminded just how big a coup was launched on the party by (extreme) right-wingers over the last 10 years who'd probably rather lose an election with a bunch of inexperienced pygmies in charge than have Clarke anywhere near the place. Time to grow up and get over European fanaticism.

Mondeo Man, because at the time the party was disasterously following his pro EU agenda.

There was an interesting Hardtalk on BBC24 with Lamont, here he made it very clear that it was Major, Hurd, Clarke and Hesletine who demanded that he defend the pound in the ERM against his advice, an act which the Conservative party is still trying to live down 16 years later.

We need Fat Ken back ............... like a hole in the head.

My point is that Ken is far too astute a politician to challenge party policy on the Euro if he was part of the shadow cabinet. There is no evidence that he has ever done anything like that. You could make the argument against a number of politicians including Heseltine, Redwood etc. But there is no evidence against Ken when he was in government either with Margaret Thatcher or with John Major.

I get the feeling that most of his detractors simply don't want him because they disagree with him on Europe. Get over it. We have bigger fish to fry right now. Europe is a non-issue for the public at the moment. The argument was won a long time ago.

What matters now is rescuing the economy. There is no politician better placed on this in Britain than Ken. BRING HIM BACK.

PS If you have any doubt on this point, you should have watched the programme on BBC1 last night about people who were getting their homes repossessed. It was absolutely heart breaking - seeing the full devestating effects of Brown's Bust.

Ken Clarke is the man who, on 27th November, receommended a VAT cut for fiscal stimulus. That seems at odds with the comments of Cameron who said it is a "criminal waste." Surely Cameron won't put a criminal in the Shadow Cabinet?

Can we just think back to 2001 and the leadership election?

Do people still believe that IDS was a better choice than Clarke? History may have taken a totally different course if we had done the sensible thing and elected as our leader a man who has consistently proved to be more popular in the country than the party as a whole as well as one of our most impressive advocates.

At a time when the Government should be on the run, we need as many fighters in prominent roles as we can get. Compared to Clarke, so many of the current shadow cabinet are rank amateurs who have little or no impact on their opposite numbers.

Think of the pleasure of seeing Clarke demolish someone like Jacqui Smith or Alistair Darling and then tell me that you still don't want him back.

At the very least Ken Clarke should be an economic adviser to Osborne. Osborne needs the support from those with government experience. Clarke may not want to be part of the Shadow Cabinet as a full member, but surely he wouldnt turn down an invitation to provide support to Osborne in the form of a soundboard for his policy ideas and economic views. Cant hurt...

Imagine that - someone in the shadow cabinet who can think for themselves and disagree with Cameron. 'Criminals' are preferable to Etonian Eco-Toffs!

Agree with Super Blue. Do we really want him back?
February 3 2000: Kenneth Clarke, the former Tory chancellor who is now deputy chairman of British American Tobacco, today admits that the multinational company supplies cigarettes knowing they are likely to end up on the black market
January 31 2000: British American Tobacco condoned tax evasion and exploited the smuggling of billions of cigarettes in a global effort to boost sales and lure generations of new smokers, secret company documents reveal.

He is best as a back-bench, former chanellor commentator. Not a front-bench spokesman. Especially with the European elections just round the corner.

The problem with Ken isn't that he's wrong on some of the most important issues, but that he's so consistently wrong on even the smallest.

It was Ken's advocacy of the ERM which fatally undermined our entire claim to economic competence, built over generations. He may have an opinion on economics - that doesn't mean he should be let anywhere near the subject.

Besides the EU, Clarke shows that he is a dinosaur at odds with the modern party, to a greater extent, as each year passes. The following shows just how out of touch with the party he has become:

Ken Clarke's voting record:

Rebel:

1 May 1997 to 14 May 2001, 5 votes out of 543, 0.9%

7 Jun 2001 to 11 Apr 2005, 26 votes out of 610 4.3%

5 May 2005 to date, 44 votes out of 497, 8.9%

Do you see a pattern emerging?

In almost one in ten votes, he votes against the party. Split anyone?

Ken Clarke may attract some people into the Conservative camp, BUT his appointment to the front bench will see many more leave.

It will be an enormous boost for UKIP in the Euro elections if K.Clarke joins the shadow cabinet. Then there is is the connection with the tobacco industry as well. So bring him on!

I worry about the country's future resting on the shoulders of one man, so I would like to see David Cameron appointing senior advisors, much like a Privy Council.

KC is a vote loser for us in the EP Elections in June.

Ken may be a maverick, but he's our maverick. He's also more or less resigned to the party's stance on Europe, is no longer a viable alternative leader and has a contribution to make, if for no other reason than he is well known and gets people's attention. Surely we can let the past lie and look to what is best for the party?

I'd also like to see John Redwood given a more leading role. He's an able politician, has a first class mind and again, has a media profile that could be put to better use.

Critics of Ken, of which I have been one in the past, need to look at this as dispassionately and objectively as possible. Could Ken help? Answer, undoubtedly yes. Ditto Redwood.

I am strongly against EU federalism but I think Clarke has an important role to play in politics in the UK and he is a big hitter the public, especially floating voters, like and listen to.

We desperately need to move on. Rather than going on and on it is surely time for him to say that he is stepping down at the next election to make way for new blood. He is one of the seat blockers. His support-without any apoology, for the cruel ERM policy debacle which harmed this country and nearly destroyed our party makes him totally unfit for any role whatever. A big cheer when he does go.

His apppointment would be very divisive. Clarke will never change and neither will those of us whose duty it is to fight the EuroLiars and keep the party honest on the question of Europe.

We are ahead in the polls.

We are likely to extend that lead as people realise the mess Brown has got us in.

The current team got us where we are without Clarke.

Clarke will turn people away from the party.

He is a risk. A risk we don't need to take.

Hmmm. So Clarke, though a "maverick" will accept the party's stance on Europe. I take it that is the European Union, as one cannot have a stance on a continent. So errrm, what is the party's stance on Europe? Those of us who are not mind readers and not good at understanding what the entrails say, would like to know. And if the stance could be outlined before the European election, so much the better.

Re: Ken Clarke.

There is so much about Ken I like: politically incorrect redoubled in spades, highly effective debater, a huge "presence" and indeed would slaughter so many of Brown's pygmies (and if necessary give GB the shakes)

BUT - and this is a question only Ken can answer - would is Ken prepared to accept party policy on Europe? Not stop arguing in private: however much I disagree with his views he dopes hold them sincerely and he has a right to promote them in private discussion - but in public debate? Can he respond *effectively* to the question from Labour "Given your beliefs, how can you be prepared to serve in a Government which the Shadow Foreign Secretary has stated would NEVER join the Euro?"

A Ken Clarke punching with all his considerable (metaphorical) weight against Labour would be a huge advantage to us: a Ken muttering darkly in public and being evasive when questioned over Europe would be a huge disadvantage. What say you, Ken?

PS It would be extremely disturbing if Ken is offered a job and David Davis isn't.

Yes True Blue we do. Look, this is not a matter of choice, Cameron and Osbourne need Clarke, Davis, Rifkind, Redwood and anybody else of ability and substance to boost the insubstantial and shallow image of the shadow cabinet if they are to stand any chance of avoiding defeat at the forthcoming election. I am of the opinion it will be sooner than many think, possibly called next month. The question is, can Clarke be persuaded to join such a lightweight outfit. Despite everything I read in these bloggs, the sound (well some of it is) advice available goes unheeded they still fail to act and they now lack any form of credibility. WHAT ARE THEY DOING? WHERE ARE THEY? What has happened to the real statesmen the Conservative Party once attracted. The cult of promoting youth for youths sake rather than valuing, nurturing and promoting ability, experience and judgment has and still will cost us dear, both party and country! We need an able and competent leader not a Blair look alike who surrounds himself with cronies. You will no longer be elected to office by default Mr. Cameron. The tidal wave of Labour unpopularity which you were relying on to carry you there, instead of the sound action on your part which is so desperately needed has gone.

Blair bit the bullett and against Brown's advice brought back Ken Livingstone to the Labour fold before the 2004 contest. Yes he won, but it's hardly an enviable precedent.

Ken Clarke is a big beast, but would he really want to return to a Tory Cabinet if -a big if - the party was to fluke an outright General Election victory?

The argument in favour is that the shadow cabinet is stuffed full of second rate politicians who have no public profile. The media would give Clarke the respect he is due and he would boost the number of TV and radio appearances.

Against - the mountain facing Cameron after the Euro elections, when Tory Euro MPs will be dragooned into some dodgy European Parliament grouping with the hard right of the eastern bloc. Ken Clarke would be in difficulties because of his belief in the EPP-ED.

I wonder what the last Conservative PM would have to say about Clarke's 'disloyalty'. I'd be prepared to bet (a small sum... I'm only a postgrad student!)that Sir John Major would support a KC return to the frontbench, based on the praise he's always given Ken's record in government in interviews.

Those who complain about KC's apparent 'disloyalty' to the last Conservative government are, in many cases, simply the very same (disloyal?) people who still hero-worship IDS and his Maastricht coterie. And look where that got us... Time to accept reality and move on.

"people who still hero-worship IDS and his Maastricht coterie. And look where that got us... Time to accept reality and move on."

IDS certainly moved on from the Maastrict days and is one of the finest performers in the Party these days so I think you should leave him out of criticism! Sadly not all the coterie from those days have succeeded in putting the Battle of Maastricht behind them - it is about time they did so.

no, no, No, No, NO, NO, NO, NO-OOOOO!

He is yesterday's man. Too closely tied with dismal failure and FAR, FAR too closely tied with opinionated opinions on Europe.

He cannot be trusted to keep his mouth buttoned on that very divisive subject and would be too easily taunted and baited by government.

Best thing for Ken is to let him retire gracefully and immediately to his jazz club.

No, no, no, No, No, NO, NO, NO-OOO return to the front bench for Kenneth Clarke. Disaster would follow as sure as night follows day.

SM

Any minute now you will be telling me that Sir JM was a great PM whereas it was his stewardship, including getting Maastricht completely wrong, that left our party in opposition since 1997. Not only that but hanging on to the bitter end probably cost us more seats than would have been the case a year earlier.

I don't feel strongly either way, but I must say the worries outlined above haven't registered with the average voter, who simply sees a jolly, down-to-earth politician who dominates discussions on the tele.

I am perhaps as euro-sceptic as the average UKIP voter, but as a conservative passionate at seeing the end of this horrific Labour government (which has undermined the pound and given up billions of our rebate) I would desperately like to see KC's return. He gives the party something we haven't really got buckets of - 'credibility'.

His european views matter with about 2% of the public, yet about 40% of the party. This probably reflects more on the state of the membership's obsession with Europe, though I can't understand why any Conservative would want to do anything to keep the most federalist government in history in office.

KC will hasten their exit, and as such should be roundly supported.

We need different strong voices in the shadow cabinet. The last thing we need is 24 clones, a shadow cabinet of nodding men all agreeing with their leader with a country none the wiser.

No-one can be in any doubt that we are a euro-sceptic party. Bringing back Ken Clarke to the shadow cabinet will not change that. He is not that naive, the public are not that naive and neither should Con Home.

Please bring back Ken Clarke - and in time for the Euro elections. Then we will really know where the Tories stand on the EU

Incldentally, I vote UKIP

If Kenneth Clarke is invited to become a member of the cabinet it will set back any lead the Conservative Party has gained. As Chancellor he wanted the euro to replace the pound - rejected recently in a recent survey by more than two-thirds of the of those taking part. He also implemented a policy of annually raising the tax on fuel by 6% above the rate of inflation.This ridiculous idea was again rejected by the electorate and helped in the defeat of the Conservatives in 1997. He was decisively rejected by the Conservative Party members who decided on Ian Duncan-Smith in preference to him. If David Cameron wishes to commit political suicide and destroy the chances of the next government being a strong Conservative one then he just needs to put Kenneth Clarke in the shadow cabinet.

Ken Clarke is the Blue Vince Cable.

More heat than light.

The head bangers and colonel blimps will never warm to Ken, surely a bloody good reason to get him into the shad cab.

Ken got the UK out of a recession in the nineties and remains popular throughout the land for doing so. It would be madness not to have Ken in the top team.

The nutters just can't accept that ordinary voters warm to likes of Ken but feel repelled by the likes of IDS, Redwood, Van Orden, Fox.

Are we sure that Ken is still a big hitter, rather than a semi retired, out of condition heavyweight?

Certainly, he is a likeable and experienced Parliamentarian who carries a certain gravitas, but I fear that many people overestimate the difference his presence in the shadow cabinet he would make to the partie's image or performance.

As to whether his promotion would cause splits within the party, probably, with a party seeking power at any price, not immediately, but he would be seen by many voters as a very large sticking plaster covering a festering sore.

"No, no, no, No, No, NO, NO, NO-OOO return to the front bench for Kenneth Clarke. Disaster would follow as sure as night follows day."

So....that'll be a NO then, David Roberts (no relation!)?

I pray that the reports are accurate and Clarke is back to where he has always belonged. The only drawback to his belated return to the Shadow Cabinet is that he will show just how dreadfully ineffectual most of the rest of them have been, and remain, in attacking the Government.

It seems to me that, over the past year, the Party's Leader has been moving increasingly to the left, voluntarily surrendering his poll-leading position in the process.

Instead of embracing the radical ideas for reforming the economy put forward by John Redwood, he has languished in the shadow of Old Labour's nationalisation programme.

To consider bringing a former Chancellor of the Exchequer out of retirement can only be seen as a snub to the present Shadow Chancellor.

What absolute madness!
With the issue of Britain adopting the euro on the cards, Labour would have a huge propaganda coup by placing in every newspaper in the country photos of Clarke sitting beside Blair and Ashdown advocating giving up our own currency! Why are people here so short-sighted?
As many have said, the EU will be a huge issue this year, with elections in June. People need to read more blogs, talk to ordinary people, and read sensible newspapers, to see that support for withdrawal from the EU is gaining ground every day.
If Clarke is brought back, the party that will benefit will be the British National Party, as most people realise that UKIP has "gone native" in Brussels! I personally know around 20 people who will not vote Tory if this egomaniac gets anywhere near the shadow cabinet. What a vote loser! Take the blinkers off, people, and face reality! Think long-term.

Those who complain about KC's apparent 'disloyalty' to the last Conservative government are, in many cases, simply the very same (disloyal?) people who still hero-worship IDS and his Maastricht coterie. And look where that got us...

Posted by: SW | January 07, 2009 at 10:56

Answer; LISBON

Clarke (the Fag - English translation) is the Laughing Assassin of the Tory Party. Thanks to him and his elk the EU garrote is being tightened remorselessly.

"elk"?! I didn't know Ken had a private Zoo! ;-)

When SW says "Move on" I suspect s/he means "Move back" - to John Major's vapidity and inability to stand up for Britain. It is worth noting that a Eurosceptic stance in 1995-97 would have prevented the Referendum Party's intervention - and while I do not think anything on earth could have kept Blair out in 1997 his majority would probably have been what he was expecting - 30 - 35.

It simply is not true to say that Europe is no longer an issue when Mandelson and the Eurofanatics are scheming to try to bounce us into the Euro as Margaret Thatcher was (to her eternal regret) bounced into supporting the ERM. With this difference - there would be no way back this time.

We have moved on from Major and Maastricht - in the Right (pun intended) direction. If Ken is happy to accept that, we need him (we shall need every Conservative of whatever shade in the coming fight) But to do this on SW's terms - that will lose us the election.


People will I am sure leave the party and not vote for it if Ken Clark returns but personally I think if the party is to become electable it needs to lose the right-wing euro fanatics and start appealing to the sort of moderate center ground majority who Clark does appeal to.

"elk"?! I didn't know Ken had a private Zoo! ;-)

Posted by: Sally Roberts | January 07, 2009 at 12:36

He has: its known as the EU (Elephants in the room United).

We need Ken Clarke like we need another hole in the head.
David Cameron & Co have got this far in spite of dinosaurs like KC holding the party back in the eyes of the public.

Mr Cameron - Just Say No !

Doreen says UKIP has "gone native" in Europe

Well, this is a UKIP statement today, Wednesday, 7th January 2009

"What has the European Union ever done for us?" asks UKIP leader Nigel Farage MEP. "It's more a case of what they have done TO us. "Just look at the news. There are three things they've done to us rather than for us. "They've banned the incandescent light bulb and are forcing us to use ones that contain posionous mercury instead. Then they have the effrontery to charge 60% import duties on these dim bulbs.
"They're trying to ban 85% of the pesticides and herbicides that make modern farming possible, driving up food prices in the teeth of the recession. "They're forcing us to store thousands upon thousands of tonnes of rotting paper in warehouses so that we can 'save resources'.
"So if we ask, 'What has the EU done for us', we're forced to answer, 'nothing good'. Because of their actions, we're to sift and sort detritus in the flickering dark unable to afford the food we grow.
"It really is time to leave the European Union, so that we can make our own decisions for ourselves, ones that benefit us rather than following the crazed diktats of a foreign bureaucracy."

So that is why THIS Tory is voting UKIP in June 2009 and will NEVER support a Tory party with K Clarke on its frint bench.

Ken Clarke definitely has my vote. We need a few rotweilers in the Party and he is one of them. He is also appealing to the electorate , has a plethora of experience and can relate to the electorate with his straighforward talking and using understandable expressions that even people up north can understand which is something that so often some of our Shadow Cabinet forget.

What nobody mentions is that Ken has a large following in the Midlands and North. If we are to have a fighting chance at the next election, we DO need someone of both his experience - to face up to Mandy now - and his standing with the electorate - to pull in votes.

resident leftie: Cameron may have said that the 2.5% VAT cut was a waste (which is clearly is) but he never stated that ANY cut in VAT would be a waste. Perhaps Ol' Kenny Clarke was thinking of a 10% cut in VAT, which really would have stimulated spending, rather than the pathetic 2.5% cut which has done nothing but cost £12bn?

New appointment, Lord Kenneth Clarke please with a business brief to talk the hind leg off a donkey about what "Lord I've got no policies and if I do I'm not telling anyone or putting them into action until the country is crippled Mandelson is doing to wreck the country" please, and for god sake will you please get Redwood into the Chancellors job at the next election before we end up drinking mud water and eating carrots as the national diet !

LOL! Dontmakemelaugh. You just did.

Lord Clarke of Rushcliffe as the new Shadow Business Secretary in the Lords.

(And nice safe seat available!)

Whilst as someone who is very much a Ken Clarke fan, could I pose a question (which I ask without knowing the answer!)

Couldn't Ken Clarke remain on the back-benchers but be more prominently used by the press/media team at CCHQ to respond for the party on economic matters - esp. if media outlets go to Vince Cable, couldn't their be an understanding that they should then go to KC for comment and he would be available for such? In short could not there be a a more intelligent, pro-active use of KC from the back-benchers?

I am pre-disposed to vote Conservative but feel disenfranchised by the activists and members. Under Hague, Duncan-Smith and Cameron I have been dismayed at how much talent with ex-ministers languishes on the back benches. I sit by the television with a mixture of admiration and dismay at the waste when they speak in debates driven by high principle.

The 'pretty boy syndrome' gave us Blair and Clinton. Can the activists and members not learn? Bring back the bruisers and their intellects.

Jack Stone says bring back Ken. Readers should take note that Jack Stone is suspected of being a Draper Rebuttal unit droid.

If Draper and Mcsnotty think Ken should be in the Shadow Cabinet, then shouldn't we all be careful what we wish for?

As I have previously advocated lets have Clarke and Redwood advising Osborne but there is no need for either in the Shadow Cabinet....

Craig Barrett is spot on about Ken Clarke & IDS. Ken (wisely) opposed the Iraq adventure, IDS, brainwashed by his pals in the US, foolishly placed the Tories right behind the Blair lies. (though I would agree IDS has done much to redeem himself lately). Ken MUST be brought back, DD MUST be brought back, Osborne MUST be relieved of his command. This is no time to be arguing about the euro and ancient history.

Great news, he's popular with the voters, and although his views on Europe grate some, we are all big boys and girls - get it on.

Angry of SE1. Don`t believe everything Superbore writes on this site.
Ken Clark would be an excellent addition to a Shadow Cabinet that lets face it is not exactly over flowing with recognisable characters.

We are now in a position where we have to plan (i) to win the next election, (ii) to win it by a large enough margin to avoid a hung parliament and then (iii) to govern.

There is hardly anyone in the current shadow cabinet with any experience of government (NuLab was in a similar position and look how hapless they were) and, as Labour has so destabilised the civil service, a number of old heads (perhaps from the Lords) need to assist in the process of settling things down again.

I just think that to suggest sweeping people like Clarke, Rifkind, IDS and Redwood under the carpet will reduce our chances of winning - and winning well - and they would be invaluable once in government because they know their way around.

The fact that they would be vastly superior to their Labour counterparts would also be a great advantage.

"Jack Stone says bring back Ken. Readers should take note that Jack Stone is suspected of being a Draper Rebuttal unit droid.

If Draper and Mcsnotty think Ken should be in the Shadow Cabinet, then shouldn't we all be careful what we wish for?

As I have previously advocated lets have Clarke and Redwood advising Osborne but there is no need for either in the Shadow Cabinet.... "

Absolutely, SE1. Apart from the fact that I am not the only one to have spotted Draper on our forum, football fans would ask "Why change a winning team?". We won in London, Crewe and local elections all over England and Wales last May.

To continue the analogy: in the Seventies, a Manchester City team led Division One, signed Rodney Marsh to improve the side and were overhauled. Ditto Newcastle United and Asprilla.

This party has no room for tobacco-smugglers who sign treaties without reading them.

Yesterdays man

Posted by: Ray | January 07, 2009 at 13:17

resident leftie: Cameron may have said that the 2.5% VAT cut was a waste (which is clearly is) but he never stated that ANY cut in VAT would be a waste. Perhaps Ol' Kenny Clarke was thinking of a 10% cut in VAT, which really would have stimulated spending, rather than the pathetic 2.5% cut which has done nothing but cost £12bn?

Well, a 10% cut would have cost us at least £48bn, so I sincerely hope not. I suspect it would have been against EU rules. I can't imagine Cameron would have supported it.

In a business with low margins such as software resale the 2.5% made a big difference to the bottom line.

My own view is the Ken Clarke, while tainted by his involvement with BAT, is certainly better than Osborne. Put him up against Mandelson, and tell him to shut up about the EU when it comes to June. Incidentally, I'm so looking forward to the the post-election departure from the EPP.

I would personally welcome Kenneth Clarke into the Shadow Cabinet. At the very least he will get plenty of air-time and also will add experience to a fairly inexperienced group. We need a better blend of the two and that is why this move would redress the balance. David Davis has some appeal, but he shot his bolt and anyway is struggling because he has been succeeded by a very competent politician in Dominic Grieve.

Conversely, the job believed earmarked for Clarke and presently occupied by Alan Duncan, is one that would benefit greatly from such a change, although I am sure Mr Duncan has done his best.

If Conservatives, still besotted with Europe, really want to reject a man who served under Margaret Thatcher as a leading Minister, then I cannot conceive of their logic in not trusting her judgement.

Kenneth Clarke will also appeal to the non-committed and we will rather require their support I presume??

I would strongly welcome him back.

I disagree with him on the Single Currency, and on other aspects of Europe.

But he has lots of experience and common sense. It is good news.

The return of Ken Clarke would be a disaster for Party unity. He did not need to speak out against party policy when he was in the Cabinet, because he and Heseltine decided what the policy would be - unashamedly pro-EU. We seem to have finally ended the party in-fighting over Europe, by adopting a cautiously Eurosceptic position and promising a referendum. Ken would spark off all the old battles again. I for one would not be prepared to campaign at a general election if victory would bring him back into office. There are a lot more activists and potential voters who feel the same way. We need to take votes off UKIP, not prove to our supporters that yet again we cannot be trusted on Europe.

..........BRING BACK DISRAELI !!!!!

Many of the earlier posts have extolled the praises of Clarke`s potential as a weapon to attack the present government and all its works. But surely there has been nothing to prevent him from doing this, strongly and frequently from the Back Benches. However there has been nothing much heard from Clarke on any subjects of real note during the last ten years. Would he really be prepared to play the role of elder statesman in a cabinet of younger men? I wonder. His outspoken approach would be as likely to inflict damage on his own side as on Labour/LibDems.
He has had plenty of oportunity to offer public support in a Front Bench role but has not seemed particularly keen to take it up. As long as he would be prepared to support a Conservative Government from the Back Benches, perhaps it is there that he should remain. To set him free in the House of Lords would be asking for trouble too. Think back to the trouble he caused at Health, Education and at the Home Office, where his political judgement was too often under question, with striking police, prison officers, nurses, doctors and teachers. IDS beat him out of sight at the hustings meetings in their leadership election. The Party grass roots did not like what they saw. Clarke lost that fight as much as IDS won it. He is probably in the right place at the moment

Hopefully he or someone will replace ski-lodge Duncan.

Absolutely we must have Ken back it is a no brainier. What’s more we can be assured that unlike some of the current shadow cabinet Ken will put all of his efforts into the job at hand. Ken has sensible views about Europe not crazy self-destructive ones. If anyone can give a little credibility to “Dave” then it is Ken. Right about now it should be dawning on the “people” that the capitalist are at their usual games. Barclays and M&S have shown that we can trust the millionaire capitalists only to look after their own interests. At the very least Ken Clark is a believable ONE Nation Conservative. To quote
Brown “this is no time for a novice” I say “stand aside children let loose the real beast”.We need a team of experts not a solo effort by a gifted amateur . Recently Cameroon and Hague are the only Tory’s with anything to say.

BRING BACK DISRAELI !!

God no he's was rubbish really.

Disraeli was just a flashman type.

Ken Clarke will attract many people into the Conservative camp.His personality and presence, allied to his ability to communicate effectively make him a winner.
Petty point-scoring and tribal differences should be set aside in the fight with Labour.
Clarke and Davis would bring much needed strength to the Tory front bench.

Clarke is worth 10 seats in a General Election - in the current climate, any in the Shadow Cabinet who moan about him coming in and want to earm £MMs - made possible by being career politicians should pipe down - do you want a Britain broken by another 5 years of the Prime Mentalist and a Labour party wholly unsuited to building a better Britain and protecting the countrys interests? There are bigger fish to fry here, get Ken in and unleash him on Brown.

when Ken spoke against the Party line on Europe when he was in the cabinet. Just one time???
Then again, how much of it did he actually read, the man who appeared on the media to defend The Maastricht Treaty and openly admitted he had not read any of it.

He reminds lots of people of the Major administration, he was one of the prominent figures, him and Michael Hestletine, Douglas Hurd and John Major in signing the UK up to the ERM which the desperate attempts to remain in lost the Treasury vast sums of money and involved cripplingly high interest rates that prolonged and intensified the reccession.

"We need a few rotweilers in the Party" says Thelma but the trouble with Ken when Europe crops up - as it will - he's not particular who he savages.

Hi, Sally (No relation), you are quite right no, no, no, No, No, No, NO, NO, NO, N0-OOOOOO means put him in a soundproof booth in the jazz record shop with a bunch of cigars, close the door, lock it and leave him tapping his Hushpuppies but don't bring him anywhere near the Tory leadership.

David Roberts said: (in a rather peevish voice I imagine)

"but don't bring him anywhere near the Tory leadership."

The Tory what ?

The (cough) Tory leadership is currently a three headed monster pulling in three different directions. We still have Hague putting off the voters and IDS making silly comforting noises like he cared from the sidelines. Cameron is doing a good job but were are the supporting players? Far to interested in making a quick buck off the nations troubles to do anything as petty as actually working for the money they get paid. They would rather spend their time working for more pressing employers than the people of Britain.

@another peter: Great then put Ken in Charge of the Midlands and orth campaign and free up Hague to get on with the important work of Shadow Foreign Secretary.
But absolutely NO to a positioni in the treasury, we may as well shut up shop and hand the keys to the future president Tony Blair of the United Federated States of Europe!

Ken is a throwback. His only appeal is to section of the loyal older tories who will probably turn out anyway - thats it on the scheming electoral angle covered.

Than as reagards principal - he is dubious at best.

I actually think that if our MEPs were like him then Englands corner could be well protected in europe -- but they aren't, and are never likely to be. He would lead us (the UK, not just the tories) into an exposed position that we could never hope to defend with out an army of kens that just doesn't exist (and never will).

Any chance of an answer to my question: what is the Conservative Party's policy on Europe a.k.a. European Union? Just so that some of us know which way to vote this coming June.

Ken Clarke back in the Shadow Cabinet? This is great news for UKIP. Clarke has advocated Britain joining the Euro - opposed by 72% of the electorate. Red Ken Clarke was one of three Tory MPs who voted against a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

UKIP looks forward to even more Tory defectors will join the rush to the only British party that represents the views of the majority of the voters - the 60% who want leave the EU.

We UKIPers, the true conservatives, rejoice at this news!

Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

Well if that's so, it's wonderful news for the Lib Dems!!
Vote UKIP=Get Lib Dem.
Particurlarly in the south west.
Golly, suspendors momentum

Kenneth Clarke has been a traitor to both his own party and to his country. Among other sins, he was instrumental in bringing down Margaret Thatcher. He's a liberal Tory rather than a Conservative. I think I'd sooner vote Labour.

Of course Ken Clarke should not be allowed back. The Conservative Party is not guaranteed to win the next election and the public are increasingly anti-EU, so get in some people who are FAR MORE eurosceptic, not more EU-loving, and adopt a policy to educate the few remaining EU fans why memberhsip of that club has been so disaterous for us.
That the UK will leave the EU eventually is inevitable - it's only when we're out that we can fix so many of the things that have gone wrong in this country. KC in the government (shadow or otherwise) can only delay this great day.
Until then, vote UKIP, which has real conservative policies on offer.

Ken Clarke is probably helping the Shadow Front Bench team already.He is a consumate team player and would certainly help where necessary. His affability is positive and cheery, but his opinions on the EU have previously caused consternation within the Party, so sadly he must remain outside the Shadow Cabinet.

Nicholas - there are two types of Tory, Ken is one (along with me) and you are another, both are Tories so pipe down laddie.

Lets get this straight. The opposition is primarily on the basis that Clarke is pro-Europe, even though Clarkes return to the Shadow Cabinet would actually have no bearing or make no amendment to the Conservative position on Europe?

Well if Dave brings back this man I will stop working for the party in my target marginal constituency with immediate effect.
Nothing would demonstrate the failure of the supply of talent in the current Conservative Paty more clearly than this move. It would be a return to the divisions that "Dangerous Dave" was supposed to be committed to addressing.
A Tory party with this unstable man back at its heart is not a party that I consider fit for government.

Helen

Tory policy is (I hope) to do the best for the people of the UK as an independent soverign country.

Working with other countries is obviously vital and as long as the UK's independance and soverignty is protected how it is done is a bit of a side issue (in my view).

The EU's commitment to 'ever closer union' is an attack on independant soverignty, so as it stands it is unacceptible we can stay members and ignore that bit, we can stay members and change that bit or we can leave.

As things stand staying and ignoring doesn't seem to be an option (although that seems to be what most of the rest of europe does in practice!); staying and changing it is sort of what we try to do (but it seems to be a battle that is being lost); leaving is always an option.

Being in the EU with a labour government is dangerous (don't let children play with sharp objects). But with a government who put the people of the UK first membership might be made to work.

Cameron needs to deliver on his EPP pledge (or is it already broken and discarded?) for me to even start to beleive a government of his could be trusted with membership of the EU.

If he does prove that he can be trusted on that then I could support continued membership on the basis set out earlier.

Overall it won't make any difference to my support - the choice is labour or tory, and labour have shown us what 'their britain' looks like - we see it all around us and it is a disaster.

Sorry pp, but that is meaningless. Putting the interests of UK as a sovereign country first. What does that mean? A member state of the EU is not a sovereign country because it does not and cannot legislate for itself. Since the Conservative Party has not even managed to understand how the EU works, let alone change anything, I am forced to conclude that the policy is more of the same with a bit of extra whingeing thrown in. Either that or, sadly, you don't know it either.

The choice in the general election may be as you say but there are other options in the European election. I suggest your party (I am assuming it is your party but if not, I apologize) gets a little knowledge and a few definite policies - how are you going to pull out of the bits you don't like and how are you going to reform the whole organization - before June. More important than haring off in all directions about Ken Clarke.

If Brown can bring his enemy into the fold to help his fortunes, its crazy for them not to bring in Ken simply because of the Euro. I agree with others that he is too astute a politician to make it such a big issue from the shadow cabinet. He is popular and voters find him sincere.

Helen

The point I was making is that I (as a random member of the tory party) don't actually care specifically whether we are in out or the EU - as long as we are in the best place to have the maximum direct control of our own lives thats fine by me.

The EU (as it currently exists) is an organisation that works directly against that principle, but while it is being changed are we better protected from it by being on the inside or the out?

Well, the answer will change continually, but as we can't join and leave every five minutes a balance has to be struck based on the resources we have available -- if we could rely on all of our MEPs protecting us then we may survive better as memebers, but if there is a risk that our MEPs will go native and sell us out then we need to put some distance between ourselves and it.

And you are wrong - we are still soverign (just) - if we chose to leave the EU noone is going to stop us.

If our money/national security etc is directly merged with the rest of the EU then that will not be the case, and our soverignty will have been given away - all to boost some politicians egos...

As I say - just the views of a random party member...

-One Nation Tories, cannot be sidelined for all eternity, that’s not party unity it is deliberate obstruction. We certainly have sensible views about Europe but are open to horse trades. Frankly you need us more than we you, as we can achieve some of our aims in Europe without even allowing you a sniff of the power. It would be far better to talk openly about the adoption of the Euro even if only to put it to bed for ever. I want a single minded party with a clear plan it seems to me that many of the current crop are rotten to the core. It is also abundantly clear that Cameroon is treading water and that even I would do a better job. We clearly need the steadying hand of the Monarch but have collaborated in her sidelined condition. For gads sakes bring out the National Bling.
If ever we needed a shot of national pride its right now as the accountants sack a sizable chunk of workers, This recession is a full on Con, and that’s the bitterest of ironies. Dave old chap lets work it out, for this England, you have no idea of the miserable despair that awaits many people this winter. I predict the hottest of summer’s three years from now and so I tend to hoard a little food away. Please Guys work on this problem not on your own nest eggs. Why should we put up with this abuse of the system, that will become the final nail in our coffins, if we are not careful. I see a sizable population of near critical mass education that requires answers. It will not wash this recession is clearly a fix, the systemic weakness is not being addressed. We really do need to ensure that those large wads of cash stay out of reach or we will have horrible inflation. The real numbers are not to bad and the retraction is utterly justified . We need very much to cut back and so I suppose the universal car has to be one of our first targets….lets ban in it to death . That’s really a choice, we could look at. After all do we really want to continue with this nasty 9 to 5 work world. Get rid of cars increase public forms of transport. It’s a no brainier but most of you will refuse even to consider it. So for now we are expected to swallow literally Millions of our fellow Britain’s being thrown into poverty. JSA is at punitive
Levels. We already have our second hand markets being run by charities, why not our other stores ? Clearly we are in deep shit and worse if we do not pull together in this.
I will not except the vilification of the unemployed, when so blatantly those being sold off are taking the hit for all of us. When can we really have the figures ? I think 20% looks fair, that will result in higher tax’s though. In fact higher Tax’s in the short term would be far preferable to the long drawn out recession that the butchers in boardrooms
Have concocted. I am glad Osborne is saying little, lets not get to drawn into this say I.
We are going to have to rethink unemployment guys. It should not be the end of pleasant living. I have insight I am willing to share. After all the unemployed has done nothing wrong he is just a random victim of an economic reassessment. A few lucky people will have time on their side’s for the first time in their lives. Unemployment has its upside.
What matters to Britain that its is as fair as is possible. We really do have to walk the tightrope of popularity that is a fact of life. Of course this loss of employment is going to cost and we have to calculate and provide something more sensible after all, in the long run you must pay if you expect to be paid in return. The Hole in our pensions is about to triple or maybe far more has been lost buried away in some billionaires back pocket. As long as it stays in his pocket it matters little , but we certainly don’t want him to spend any of it.

Perhaps Ol' Kenny Clarke was thinking of a 10% cut in VAT, which really would have stimulated spending
I doubt it as he is well aware that Member States of the EU are not allowed to cut the Standard Rate of VAT below 15%, it would require a change of position by his beloved EU. Kenneth Clarke is a proponent of extending VAT and switching more to indirect taxation away from direct taxation, however he also supports maintaining high levels of public spending, although lower than current levels - on many occasions he has said that 40% of GDP is about right for Public Spending.

JSA is at punitive
Levels.

The Labour and Conservative frontbenches are opposed to any raises in the main rate of JSA beyond indexation to inflation, and I doubt there is a single Conservative MP these days who thinks that JSA is punitive.

Kenneth Clarke was involved in cabinet discussions on the creation of JSA and the raising of Standard Rate VAT to 17.5% back in the 1990s.

I have always felt that if Ken Clarke had been elected leader in 1997 the Conservative Party would have been a lot closer to being re-elected long before now.I consider that this party has failed in its duty to provide the Country with an effective opposition to New Labour.

Those who oppose adopting the euro are adopting a very short sighted view. Still the reason this country is in such a mess is because of self interest and a lack of vision.

If the Tory party is still too Euro obsessed to reject Ken on the front bench then I'm not voting for them at the next election.

I don't want to join the Euro either, but if we can't respect someone of such great abilities just because we disagree with him on one issue, then we aren't fit for government.

Government will ultimately be about compromise - this would be a good place to start learning that.

Bring him back as shadow chancellor. That way we: a) have a speksman who'm labour would find it hard to attack on economic competence and b) bring some old, but talented blood into the Dave&George show.

I love rotweilers, but not those who sank their teeth into Mrs Thatcher.

I mean Clarke has spent years of his life advocating economic disaster for Britain inside the eurozone. A quick search of Britain's lunatic asylums would provide equally promising material.

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