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On the plus side he is an experienced cabinet minister, on the negative side I doubt he is actually a conservative.

Frankly, were I in Cameron's position I would boot him up to the Lords.

I could see Ken Clarke being used by the opposition and becoming a thorn in our side when things begin to get tough for us, as they inevitably will for a party in government. Having said that, Ken Clarke epitomises the broad coalition we have in the Conservative Party these days and perhaps it is time to embrace that and acknowledge that we all have our differences of opinion, no matter what we choose to brand ourselves as.

Where the hell has Clarke been for the last ten years? Doing his 21st century equivalent of Ted Heath's sulk because the party didn't acknowledge his leadership on issues such as the euro and dare to have different opinions?

Clarke has always been a powerful and popular national politician and his presence on the Tory shadow benches would have lifted their profile and visibility. Instead he witheld his help. Either he would be in charge (with the party lined up obediance to his obvious genius) or nothing.

So now, after over a decade, the Tories are back on the verge of government (WITHOUT his help, thank you very much) and he wants back in?

Too little, too late, no thank you, he can go off to Strasbourg or sit in the back benches and wonder why nobody asks his opinion.

We needed him in the depths of 1999, not in the heights of 2008...

...agree with Bexie!

Having read the article in the Financial Times I would say that Cameron would be wiser to bring back Rifkind if he is looking for experience. Clarke is just too divisive.

NOOOOOOO!!!!!!

The weakness in the front bench is in the Treasury team, with Clarke the main architect of our recent economic strength ( until Gordon Brown wrecked it) and people aware of his contribution here, it would be a massive boost to have Clarke in the role as Shadow Chancellor, for money, tax, and family finances are at the heart of most peoples politics, and right now neither the Government nor Osborne inspire any sort of confidence that they have what it takes to turn the country's finances or economy around.

Who would the Labour Party fear more - Ken Clarke or Malcolm Rifkind - that is really a no brainer. Clarke is a big hitter with Government experience and would be a welcome addition. Jeremy Paxman never takes liberties with him -say no more.

Ken Clarke would be an excellent addition to a Conservative front bench. In a time whilst we have a Labour Party Cabinet which is filled with completely insubstantial figures (with the exception of Jack Straw) it would help the party greatly to have figures of substance (that are still reasonably well liked across the general electorate) as part of the front bench team.

Clarke was a fantastic minister - just because we disagree with him on Europe doesn't mean he can't prove to be a very effective cabinet minister.

No. I like Ken Clarke, but no MP should feel able to withdraw themselves from guiding the party through the rough spells and helping the rebuilding effort, only then to expect a plum governmental job.

i think a big hitter like ken would be good as it would add substance to the front bench & also having someone who has been in a top job before adds experience.

Clarke voted for the Lisbon Treaty. The activists would never forgive Cameron if he was brought back into the Cabinet.

However, Cameron and Osborne have been cosying up to Hezza, Clarke and their Europhile cronies by joining their One Nation (sic) Group. Eurosceptics should be alarmed.

The story is here - http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/05/david_cameron_and_george_osbor.html.

Perhaps without Clarke, already possessing a defined position in the front-bench team, an outright election win is not achievable.

Yesterday's man. Not a good idea he can contribute in other ways.

Great idea. Clarke was always sent ito bat by Maggie when the Tories were in trouble. I dont agree with his European views and he should be allowed to air them if he wishes. As for a cabinet job.. difficult, but I wouldn't rule out the Treasury.

keep this europhile away from the front bench at all costs. we need a strongly eurosceptic position when in govt and clarke is trotted out every time to undermine that view.

I have to say that in interviews and on panels Ken always sounds very articulate and persuasive and when it's a subject where he's not at odds with the party line he's very good at rubbishing Labour.

Certainly we should bring back Ken Clarke as long as we can bring back John Redwood as well. Any resurrection of yesterday's men should be balanced. And they formed a famous if short-lived alliance in the course of the 1997 leadership election.

His primary loyalty is to the EU Empire, not this country - and certainly not the Conservative Party.

He only wants to come back so he can destabilise a new Conservative Government and weaken any euroscepticism.

This man is a Trojan Horse and is lethal.

"keep this europhile away from the front bench at all costs."

I agree his views on the EU are particularly unpalatable, but you cannot get away from the fact that the electorate would find his presence as Shadow Chancellor/Chancellor very reassuring and an electoral asset. The problem is how do you neutralise his EU fanaticism and reassure the electorate on that score, perhaps have John Redwood as his number two?

Question: Does anybody have confidence in having Osborne as Chancellor in control of your families finances?

I can't see Clarke accepting a role that he has done before in Government(outside the big three posts) so that rules out Health and Education. His views on Europe make him too divisive a figure to be Foreign Secretary and George Osborne should (and will be) retained as Chancellor, ditto for David Davis as Home Secretary. In my view there is a job which is senior enough for Clarke to accept and at which he could be put to good use, Leader of the House of Commons. This is the position he should be offered and hopefully he will accept it.

Please no, he's a has-been, a yesterday man. He'll damage us, and anyway, if HE is recalled it might give people the idea that other has-beens should be back. John Gummer anyone?!!!!!!!!!!

Clarke would have to agree to keep his trap shut on the EU before I would want him anywhere near the front bench, which he won't. So, a pity, but no. Redwood for chancellor. Osborne to Lord Chancellor, to put a stop to the dangerous nonsense: promotion, and out of the financial job.

Ken Clarke, was right on Iraq. That decision alone makes him head and shoulders above many of his collegues who supported the war. Additionally he has substance and gravitas linked to the likeablity factor, can the same be said for many of the "top names" on both sides currently.

He's a competent minister is he not...?

Who would make our Government front bench stronger.

Ken Clarke and Malcolm Rifkind....or Theresa Villiers and Peter Ainsworth ?

The idea that he can waltz into the Cabinet after doing nothing whatsoever to assist the Party since we lost office (other than sniping and undermining Hague, IDS, Howard and, to a lesser degree, Cameron) is sickening.

All very premature. let's get in first, then let the people who get us there pick their team. This is all rather like armchair pundits picking football teams. Mind you, I am all for being VERY Eurosceptic and very much for home grown farming!

Clarke & Rifkind in the Lords would be an awesome double!

'Essex Boys' is right. We're weak in the Lords. We need many more heavyweights there.

His differing views would completely destroy the convention of CMR from the start! Thanks, but no thanks. Lords or Backbenches.

Although, has got me thinking - how many really high profile MPs do we have who are as recognisable and well known as Ken Clarke? We need more!!

As an erstwhile fan of Mr C, I'm not sure what he has done in recent times to warrant return after others have achieved (hopefully) victory at next election. John Redwood has a far better claim for a front bench position.

If there is some particular and unique talent possessed by Mr C that is lacking in the current hierarchy, then so be it -- as long as it keeps him clear of influence on matters concerning EU and West Lothian Question. That would be like appointing Herod as a childminder.

CCHQ Spy: We have David Trimble! Wooo!

Shooooo

As a europhile Ken Clarke has consistently supported the subversion of British sovereignty by the EU. He is the archetypal political and ethical opportunist that Britain needs like a hole in the head. I sense that recent poll results have convinced him that the largest trough is about to move to the Conservatives, and he'd dearly love to get his snout back into it. He'll have a long queue ahead of him!

He should be Deputy PM, helping Cameron and other frontbenchers transition into government.

He's obviously got a great deal of experience that we could use to our advantage in some sort of advisory role.

After the General Election, whenever that will be, and assuming a majority win for us, Clarke could be put in charge of some sort of review in the Treasury, reporting to Osborne after six months ...

While he is experienced and has ability, he is too divisive. It is difficult to see where he could be deployed on a strong front bench without removing someone who has served the party through the difficult years.

Ken Clarke has always been Labour's best asset in the Tory Party. The man came close to destroying it once and seems to want to finish the job.

Clarke never misses a chance to sell out his country to Brussels.

Ken is a great operator and was a fine Chancellor. Just keep him a country mile away from any European issues, and he'll do well.

Clarke was good as Health Secretary. Perhaps he'd be good at that again...

In order to fully protect the integrity and practice of Conservatism, will the party now consider discouraging all but true and committed believers from voting Conservative at the general election?

After all, who here could possibly want to attract the votes of disillusioned New Labour voters or, worse still, floating and previously uncommitted voters just to gain the election of a Conservative government tainted by support from a wider constituency?

Perish the very thought.

Ken Clarke is a man of the past and would hamper our chances of getting back into power. So no, thank you for the offer but I think he should spend more time with his family or other interests.

Ken Clarke is and always has been a dedicated conservative A great politician a very clever man who served this country well. He is resposible for the 10years of prosperity Labour has claimed as theirs. He is a Tory Grandee and should be given high office. His wisdom and age are his assets

He'd add weight and depth to the cabinet - make him Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Ken Clarke has held the major offices of state with some distinction – Treasury, Home Office, Education, Health – he knows how the machinery of government works, or doesn’t, how policies can be subverted by civil servants if allowed. He would add some savvy to a Cameron government.

David Cameron’s Willie Whitelaw?

"Ken Clarke is and always has been a dedicated conservative "


Was that true when he sat on the same platform as Blair and Brown, of am I thinking of a different Ken Clarke?

I thought KC said he would be standing down as an MP at the next election.

Please no old-style europhiles in prominent positions. When Brown goes and Kate Hoey wins the Labour leadership, Conservatives might be seen as the europhile party if not careful.

A total europhile, who would split the party again on Europe, and not a true Conservative in my view.
Retire him off.

Shurely shome mistake. Some Junior didn't read the bold words from the press release.

Frontbench would need to be reinforced if Clarke returns


On a more serious note . . .

No thanks. You are yesterday's man and have proven yourself to be completely unwilling to join the fight in opposition when you could have carried some weight.

"Certainly we should bring back Ken Clarke as long as we can bring back John Redwood as well"

I have never been particularly impressed as to Clarke's domination of his brief.
His bonhomie style is old hat and his politics are divisive. His loyalties are highly compromised. He doesn't like England thats for sure! I can't see the younger generation being impressed by him .

With Redwood its a different matter. He knows his stuff. Argues well, particularly on things economic and is up to date and is not old hat.

How can we forgive him, Clarke, for taking the platform with Blair.

He is yesterday's man who has done nothing to contribute to our revival and his report re governance wash wishy washy and failed to address the West Lothian question.

Others mention Redwood and I would be delighted. He has devoted his energies to the cause throughout and writes one of the best and most telling blogs every day.

Clarke would certainly inspire more confidence as Chancellor than Osborne. Osborne just doesn't have the gravitas necessary for that position.

The last thing David needs is yesterdays men,with yesterdays ideas. Times have changed and so have the electorate who now want young fresh ideas and energy.
It's time to bow out Ken.

David Cameron has been cultivating a middle-of-the-road image for himself. This would be shattered by bringing an extremist like Kenneth Clarke.

Unlike Ken, the Conservative Party believes in preserving our parliamentary democracy.

I am a fan of Ken Clarke, all the more so for his positions on Europe and Iraq, but am genuinely undecided on this. His experience of the mechanics of government is invaluable but would he be able to resist rocking the boat?

The Lords would probably be best.

I suppose Cameron could give him a probationary period - put him on the front bench but keep quiet about Europe. Unfortunately if he didn't it would cause trouble for us in the media - accusations of divisions etc. Furthermore I'm not really sure what role Cameron could give him.

If I was a Labour politician I'd be praying that Mr. CLARKE was given a top job in the Conservative ranks. Just think of the ammunition it would give me to remind all my wavering supporters (those whose votes the Conservatives need) about life pre 1997. I could really get stuck in on the old myths and legends about high interest rates etc. AND I could use Mr. CLARKE's presence to cogently argue that the old enemy hasn't changed after all. In terms of pure politics bringing Mr. CLARKE back is a dreadful idea.

In terms of administrative efficiency, I wonder if his undoubted experience would really add that much. The world has changed a lot since he was last politically active and the problems faced now and the mood of the people are very different. The solutions needed now require different thinking to those Mr. CLARKE knew. Would he be the figure at the table wanting to fight yesterday's battles with yesterday's tactics. Perhaps he would be more of a Lord Raglan figure than a Lord Whitelaw.

Mr.CLARKE's day has been and gone, he should stick with selling tobacco.

The only reason Clarke would want back in (apart from the salary and perquisites) is to be able to resign if we did anything that threatened his beloved EU. If Cameron has him back it will prove he intends to do absolutely nothing serious about the EU

As to Iain's ludicrous assertion about his experience as Chancellor, have we forgotten that his tax rises in 1993 1994 were one of the principle reasons why we lost so heavily in 1997? That broken GE promise was one of the major sleazes of the Major years.

"As to Iain's ludicrous assertion about his experience as Chancellor,"

No I hadn't, and certainly his tax rises especially on heating fuel was a gift to Labour which they have used to clobber the Conservatives with over the last decade, but Clarke also comes with the record of having put our economy on the route to success it has had, and as peoples politics are dictated to by tax and their families finances, they will be looking to give their votes to the Party which can best look after them and inspire confidence. Right now I don’t believe Osborne is , or is likely to inspire that confidence, but perhaps I was grasping at straws when putting Clarke in the frame for this position, prompted more as a result of the misgivings I have about the current Shadow Treasury team than what Clarke may bring, for he certainly brings a lot of baggage with him, and with his EU fanaticism dangerous and divisive baggage, which probably makes him more trouble than the worth of his contribution.

As a committed anti-EU conservative I have to say that apart from being totally bonkers on this crucial issue he's a first class operator. Can he have a lobotomy or something? Pity; I ratherr like him!

Otherwise it must not be even suggested that he let anywhere near the levers of power in a Tory government. Otherwise the party would collapse in a heap as large numbers of members would : go UKIP, abstain or become suicidal/homicidal or emigrate.

Whilst the party's policy has been to have a referendum on the treaty of Lisbon, Clarke has done the rounds supporting the Labour Party's policy of reneging on their promise to hold one.

Giving him a job, however menial, would send the clear message that treachery to your party and to your country is no bar to resurrection from the grave, notwithstanding that he gives off not just the putrescence of the Major years but also the whiff of the Heath years where, as a whip, he colluded with pro-EEC forces to get the ECA 1972 passed.

I cannot imagine a more divisive appointment.

Who was it who said:

"NO! NO! NO!"

The guy has contributed nothing to the last 11 years of opposition apart from giving the impression that the party is divided over Europe - when it isn't, as the federasts are a tiny and unpopular minority.

Clarke loves the EU far more than he loves the party or even the country. It would end in tears...

The main area of concern about Mr. Clarke is his position on Europe. As DC is honour-bound to hold a national referendum on Europe when he is voted in by the electorate, why not also say that on the next Governments' part, the vote will be unwhipped? After all, the Europe question transcends Party politics. Parliamentarians can then be free to argue according to their consciences. If all MP's will agree to be bound by the will of the people, the inter-Party divisions will be far less disrupting than at present, and all Parties can move on.Furthermore,which ever way the Referendum goes, Mr. Clarke can be welcomed back into the fold for his strengths rather than be kept at bay because of his perceived disruptive influence.

Giovanni is right. The Party does not need Clark, who is not only disloyal to successive leaders but worse still, is obsesively pro-EU. He has nothing to offer. If the story is true it demonstrates once again the monumental self-importance of the man. His position is that he can sulk when in opposition, but would quite like to be part of a government after the hard work has been done.

We need big beasts on the front bench from all areas, gives balance and puts a bit of strife in the cabinet! Cameron needs to make sure he is surrounded by people who are not scared to row with each other and their leader as this can help stop problems from happening. If cabinet staff are too frighted to take on their colleagues or be frank with their leader telling them they may have got something wrong you get in a state like Labour where Brown is Dear Leader and all his staff are yes men.

The answer is obvious. He should be First Secretary of State, Lord President of the Council and Deptuty Prime Minister - similar to the role held by Heseltine.

Any other job outside the big three would be insulting. Personally I'd like to see him as Foreign Secretary (move Hague to Chancellor and get rid of the useless Osborne) but the Euro nutters would never stand for it.

I would be very surprised if at this stage of his career (and two years hence) if he were to want to serve n the front bench.

As has been commented on here, he's done all the big jobs (bar PM) so what's left?

...the Lords is a sensible idea, other than that as a helpful and able back-bencher

Masses of damage has been and is being done to the UK as a result of our EU membership, not to mention to cost in financial terms alone.

Ken Clarke would further entrench the UK by his increasingly dangerous gravitas.

Ken Clarke will be remembered by many tories as the Chancellor who introduced the fuel tax escalator and who, along with Heseltine and Major were responsible for the ERM debacle.

Its taken almost 11 years for the public to now trust the Tories more than Labour on the economy.

The ERM debacle, along with Black Wednesday did far more damage to the Tories than did sleaze although it was handily linked by Blair,s Nulab, because no one took personal responsibility nor resigned, indeed Clarke etal, when talking on a later TV documentary about Black Wednesday treated that time as joke.

Frankly, as a Tory supporter campaigning in the 1997 general election, I found Clarkes flippancy to be very annoying plus his sharing of a pro europe platform with Blair as traitorous.

No, DC should not bring into the new Tory cabinet, previous tory ministers who were intimately involved in these past events.

The new Tory Cabinet should be a new fresh start by new fresh ministers, people who have not been corrupted by the closeted and Euro supporting Westminister establishment (civil service, Foreign Office etc) and who can bring fresh independant thinking to government.

I'd be much keener to see Malcolm Rifkind returned to the front benches than Ken Clarke. Ken was a brilliant Chancellor but his recognisable gravitas if placed in a major cabinet post would eventually undermine David Cameron. Rifkind brings as much experience, but without that danger.

Ken Clarke as Leader of the House, as a member of the Treasury team in the Lords or as a Minister without Portfolio to drive our efficiency agenda would get around such difficulties.

Clarke has been a grand old man of the party for some time now - one of the four wise men who advised Michael Howard, and headed up the constitutional policy group for David Cameron. I'd get him to be Lord Chancellor - it's a role that needs to be kept for statesmen in their later years with an independent mind, rather than young bucks on their way up and keen to please the leadership.

Noooo! As quite a few posters are suggesting, it would bemuch better to promote him to the HoL, where he could really make an impact. Not in the Commons!

The issue of the sovereignty of Parliament and the supremacy of our own laws is so fundamental that, however broad we may claim our Tory church to be, we could never form a credible government unless the whole of the front bench was totally united upon this.
It is not so much simply the fact that Clarke holds strongly pro EU views that would make him unsuitable to hold any office, as the total patronising and contemptuous dishonesty with which he seeks to justify these views. Again and again he churns out the same old lies and denials in a manner so blatant that it is an insult to our intelligence.

Ken for Speaker? Or is that too much like hard work?

It's often a shame that on this blog the busiest threads seem to be those attacking fellow Conservatives.
I would agree with Roger Helmer in that Clarke is an experienced and formidable operator who would be an asset to the front bench on the condition that he was kept away from all matters affected by the EU. That may prove to be impossible but certainly worth considering.

IS Kenneth Clarke a conservative? Like others I have my doubts. BUT he is excellent as a spokesman! Why not ask him to be Chairman of the Conservative Party, during a general election he would be a most excellent face on the daily television press conferences.
Cameron should create a new cabinet position whereby his experience would be invaluable. Secretary of State for Ways and Means, perhaps!

But I do agree that John Redwood must be brought back into the front line and in the Treasury as Number 2, but in the cabinet.

Er, thanks then Ken.

Put your CV in the post with a covering letter describing what you've done to ensure a Conservative victory over the last 10 years.

Don't call us, we'll call you. Can we still reach you at Blair's platform?

Got to go.

Fortunately, I think this is no more than wishful thinking on the part of the FT and Kenneth Clarke.

However, if there is one thing that would make me question the sincerity of David Cameron it would be to further acknowledge the man who recently was reported as having the most disloyal voting record of any Conservative MP in this Parliamentary term.

To reward such disloyalty with a seat on the front bench would set a precedent that could cause Cameron no end of difficulties. Why should other Conservative MP's with far more integrity remain loyal to Cameron?

Combine this with Clarke's Anti-localist, Anti-democratic, Anti-British views on the EU, his anti-English views on the WLQ and his espousal of the 'ruling political class'(sic) and it would suggest that Cameron has little intention of making Britain a fairer, more devolved and more independent country.

In my eyes, Clarke is the greatest obstacle to Cameron moving his localist agenda forward on the Conservative benches.

Given the reports from those who have worked with them that indicate that Clarke only responds after the incident and the reports that he described David Cameron 'xenophobic' when he suggested an English Parliament and we get a picture of an arrogant, disrespectful, dismissive, complacent member of his 'ruling political class'(sic).

Exactly the image that Labour would relish, echoing the dire Major years. It would be a gift to Labour and would quickly play against a Conservative Government in the country and the media.

To recall him to the frontbench would be the ultimate hypocrisy and an act of utter stupidity on David Cameron's part.

Those with a robust view on Europe - just hold your nose and accept him! Ken Clarke is long on experience and an excellent communicator.

He would be a ticking time bomb - any provocative interviewer could press his 'euro-button' and create a 'party split' story. He is off message on the single most important Eco/Constitutional issue. Cameron mustn't touch him with a bargepole.

It would be extremely ill-advised, for the reasons given by many other correspondants here. The EU is the over-riding problem for Britain, and this soviet-style, unaccountable body affects (or rather, controls) all our economic decisions and dealings worldwide. Were Clarke to be in the cabinet, he would certainly promulgate policies that were in the interest of 'wider Europe'. I'm sorry to say, I have to agree with a previous correpondant that Clarke's main loyalty is the EU.
He would be extremely divisive inside the cabinet, and would be in a position virtually to veto any move to distance the UK from the EU, whether by 'negotiating' opt-outs, withdrawing from parts of Treaties (including the infamous Lisbon), withdawing from much of the Human Rights legislation that has enmeshed us, and so on. No, he should be kept on the backbenches, or booted to the Lords.

Ken is very much a Conservative, and it would be a great shame to see him pushed into the Lords simply because he represents a lot of Conservatives, just to the Right of center. Ken did indeed sit on the same platform as Blair and Brown. Isn't it time to bury the infighting over Europe ? I suppose there are those in the party who consider Ted Heath to have been a socialist at the very least or even worse a traitor because he took us into the Common Market. It would be a very great shame if the subject of Europe was to reemerge now, a divided party stands little chance of election. It will require discipline to debate our Future in or out of the EEC without it turning into yet another damaging civil war.

Good idea. I don't even think we need to worry that much about keeping him away from EU issues - don't forget that he was very, very close to being elected leader by ordinary party members.

I like the idea of making him Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

"Isn't it time to bury the infighting over Europe ? "

The issue isn't going to go away for as soon as a Conservative administration tries to enact any policies they are going to run smack into the EU and the tentacles its spread into every aspect of our lives. As a result the Conservatives will have to confront the evil empire, and as soon as they do that we will see EU fanatics like Ken Clarke kicking up rough, for as we have seen Ken Clarke will unquestioningly vote to give away any sovereign powers the EU wants , so will object to any attempt to redress the situation.

It would be a very great shame if the subject of Europe was to reemerge now, a divided party stands little chance of election.

The best way for it to reemerge would beto give Ken a job.

We need to represent the future, not the past. Kick him upstairs and be done with it.

OK as a Eurosceptic I a not the most unbiased, but I find him patronising in the extreme.

An emphatic no - the man is a divisive has been. Yes, he can charm and yes he is experienced, but beneath the charm there is a fanatic, ideological ruthlessness. This prevented the tories from suspending the issue of Europe as an issue of conscience and thus from avoiding the damaging splits of the nineties. I simply do not trust the man and neither do the voters. He trails clouds of ignominy and cigar smoke and reminds many people of quite why it was they were prepared to give the wretched charlatans of the Labour party a spell in office. Let the doors be shut upon him that he may play the fool nowhere but in's own house.

The most important job on a Conservative Government front bench would be Minister for Europe. This is so obviously the senior job, not excluding PM. Have you forgotten already that the House of Commons, fronted by the NuLab government handed the Constitution and government over to Brussels? So give the job to the chief EU conservative. Second job is to get rid of the Commons... as obsolete and not fit for purpose.

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