James Cleverly
James Cleverly Official Cabinet Portrait (cropped).jpg
Official portrait, 2022
Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs
Assumed office
6 September 2022
Prime MinisterLiz Truss
Rishi Sunak
Preceded byLiz Truss
Secretary of State for Education
In office
7 July 2022 – 6 September 2022
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byMichelle Donelan
Succeeded byKit Malthouse
Minister of State for Europe and North America
In office
8 February 2022 – 7 July 2022
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byChris Heaton-Harris
Succeeded byGraham Stuart[a]
Minister of State for Middle East, North Africa and North America[b]
In office
13 February 2020 – 8 February 2022
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byAndrew Murrison
Succeeded byAmanda Milling[c]
Chairman of the Conservative Party
In office
24 July 2019 – 13 February 2020
Serving with Ben Elliot
LeaderBoris Johnson
Preceded byBrandon Lewis
Succeeded byAmanda Milling
Minister without Portfolio
In office
24 July 2019 – 13 February 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byBrandon Lewis
Succeeded byAmanda Milling
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union
In office
4 April 2019 – 24 July 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byChris Heaton-Harris
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party
In office
8 January 2018 – 4 April 2019
LeaderTheresa May
Preceded byAmanda Sater
Succeeded byHelen Whately
Member of Parliament
for Braintree
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byBrooks Newmark
Majority24,673 (48.9%)
Leader of the Conservative Party
in the London Assembly
In office
2011–2012
Preceded byRoger Evans
Succeeded byAndrew Boff
Member of the London Assembly
for Bexley and Bromley
In office
4 May 2008 – 5 May 2016
Preceded byBob Neill
Succeeded byGareth Bacon
Personal details
Born
James Spencer Cleverly

(1969-09-04) 4 September 1969 (age 53)
Lewisham, London, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse
Susannah Sparks
(m. 2000)
Children2
Alma materThames Valley University
Occupation
Websitecleverly4braintree.com
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Branch/serviceBritish Army (Army Reserve)
Years of service1989–present
Rank
British Army OF-4.svg
Lieutenant colonel
UnitRoyal Artillery

James Spencer Cleverly TD VR (born 4 September 1969) is a British politician and Army Reserve officer who has served as Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs since 2022.[1] A member of the Conservative Party, he has been the member of Parliament (MP) for Braintree in Essex since 2015. He previously served as Secretary of State for Education from July to September 2022, Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party alongside Ben Elliot from 2019 to 2020 and as the member of the London Assembly (AM) for Bexley and Bromley from 2008 to 2016.

Cleverly advocated a vote for Brexit in the 2016 EU membership referendum. In the second May ministry, he served as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party from 2018 to 2019 and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union from April to July 2019. After Boris Johnson was appointed Prime Minister in July 2019, Cleverly was promoted to the Cabinet as Minister without portfolio. He served as Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party alongside Ben Elliot from 2019 to 2020. Cleverly was demoted from the Cabinet in the 2020 cabinet reshuffle and appointed Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa. He became Minister of State for Middle East, North Africa and North America in December 2021, before being appointed Minister of State for Europe and North America in February 2022. In July 2022 he succeeded Michelle Donelan as Secretary of State for Education. In September 2022 he was appointed Foreign Secretary by then-Prime Minister Liz Truss, making him the first black Foreign Secretary.

Early life and education

Cleverly was born on 4 September 1969 in Lewisham, London, to James Philip and Evelyn Suna Cleverly.[2] His father is British and worked as a surveyor and his mother worked as a midwife and is from Sierra Leone.[3] He was privately educated at Riverston School and Colfe's School, both in Lee, London. Cleverly then trained in the army, but his training was cut short by a leg injury in 1989. He went on to gain a Bachelor of Arts degree in hospitality management studies from Ealing College of Higher Education (now University of West London) in 1991.[4][5]

After graduating, he worked for the publishing company Verenigde Nederlandse Uitgeverijen; he joined Informa as international sales manager in 2002. Two years later, Cleverly joined Crimson Publishing as an advertising manager. He became online commercial manager for Caspian Publishing in 2006. The following year, he co-founded web publishing company Point and Fire, turning over £550.91 in 2008.[2][4]

Military service

On 6 October 1991, Cleverly was commissioned into the Territorial Army, as a second lieutenant (on probation).[6] In January 1993, his commission was confirmed and he was made a substantive second lieutenant.[7] He was promoted to lieutenant on 6 October 1993,[8] to captain on 26 May 1998,[9] and to major on 1 November 2003.[10] Until 2005, he was Battery Commander of 266 (Para) Battery Royal Artillery (Volunteers).[11]

Cleverly was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 1 March 2015.[12]

Cleverly is currently part of Central Volunteers HQ Royal Artillery (now known as National Reserve Headquarters, Royal Artillery), working as a Staff Officer in 1st (UK) Armoured Division.[13]

Political career

London Assembly

In March 2007, Cleverly was selected as the candidate for the Bexley and Bromley constituency of the London Assembly in a very tightly fought selection contest. The London Assembly election was held on 1 May with the count and declaration on 2 May, where he received 105,162 votes (52.6% of the vote) and a majority of 75,237.[14]

In January 2009, Cleverly was appointed as the mayor of London's youth ambassador, a newly created role which was seen as being a replacement post for the deputy mayor for young people, a post left vacant after the resignation of Ray Lewis. The creation of the role caused some controversy as it was not filled by a mayoral appointment but by a member of the Assembly whose formal role was to scrutinise the Mayor. The decision was defended because of the precedent set by the appointment of Kit Malthouse as Deputy Mayor for Policing.[15]

In February 2010, Cleverly was appointed as the chairman of the London Waste and Recycling Board, replacing Boris Johnson who had stood down.[16]

In August 2010 Cleverly posted a tweet in which he called Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes "a dick", in response to a suggestion by Hughes that backbench MPs should be able to veto Coalition policies. The full tweet stated: "We may be coalition partners but it doesn't stop me thinking Simon Hughes is a dick."[17] He later apologised.[18]

In November 2010, Cleverly was re-selected to be the Conservative candidate for Bexley and Bromley at the 2012 London Assembly election, going on to win the seat with 88,482 votes (once again 52.6% of the votes) and a majority of 47,768.[19] After the defeat of Brian Coleman at the election, Cleverly was appointed to the chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.

House of Commons

In January 2015, Cleverly was selected to be the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Braintree for the 2015 general election, after the sitting Conservative MP Brooks Newmark stood down following controversy over sexting and the sending of obscene images online.[20] His selection came after the initial selection process was quietly suspended by Conservative Campaign Headquarters, after the local party chose someone not on the approved candidates list and was told to "think again".[21] He was subsequently elected as the constituency's MP,[22] following which he did not defend his seat at the 2016 London Assembly election.[23]

In November 2015 Cleverly was criticised for pushing through the closure of 10 fire stations in London after the death of an elderly man in Camden following delays in the arrival of fire crews. In response, Cleverly said: "It is impossible for them to say that with certainty. I think it would be much wiser for the FBU to wait for the details of that fire investigation to come out before they start making these opportunistic allegations."[24]

Cleverly advocated a vote for Brexit in the 2016 EU membership referendum.[25]

Cleverly was re-elected, with an increased majority (62.8% of the votes cast), at the 2017 general election.[26] In January 2018 he was appointed as a deputy chairman of the Conservative Party[27] before moving to become a junior minister at the Department for Exiting the European Union in April 2019.

In October 2018 Cleverly defended Conservative London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey over potentially Islamophobic and Hinduphobic comments he had made in a pamphlet and suggested that black boys were drifting into crime as a result of learning more about faiths other than "their own Christian culture".[28]

On 29 May 2019, Cleverly announced he was standing to replace Theresa May in the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election,[29] but announced his withdrawal from the race on 4 June 2019.[30]

Following the appointment of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, Cleverly was appointed Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party, serving alongside Ben Elliot.

In the 2020 cabinet reshuffle, Cleverly was appointed Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa.

On 7 July 2022, Cleverly succeeded Michelle Donelan as Secretary of State for Education, a post that he held for almost two months.[31]

Foreign Secretary

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Cleverly with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in New York City in 2022
Cleverly with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in New York City in 2022

Cleverly was appointed Foreign Secretary by incoming Prime Minister Liz Truss on 6 September 2022.

Cleverly attended the UN Security Council meeting on 22 September, where he called on other countries to reject the referendums due to take place in Russian occupied areas in eastern and southern Ukraine.[32]

On 20 October, he announced that the United Kingdom would pursue sanctions against Iran for supplying drones to attack civilian targets in Ukraine. Cleverly stated that "Iran cannot be allowed to violate UN resolutions".[33]

Cleverly endorsed Boris Johnson in the October 2022 Conservative Party Leadership Election but Johnson did not end up standing and Cleverly instead endorsed Rishi Sunak.[34] Sunak re-appointed him to this position as part of his cabinet on 25 October 2022.

In October 2022, due to doubts raised that British homosexual football fans would be safe at the 2022 Football World Cup taking place in Qatar, Cleverly suggested that gay fans should show "a little bit of flex and compromise".[35] He added that he thought it was "important when you're a visitor to a country that you respect the culture of your host nation." He described Qatar as "an Islamic country with a very different set of cultural norms to our own [those of Britain]".[36] While Labour called his advice "shockingly tone-deaf",[37] many[who?] praised his comments for being conscientious. Due to the fact that gay activity is illegal in Qatar and that Cleverly had known that if gay people expressed their homosexuality openly in Qatar they would be arrested, it was suggested that Cleverly was trying to protect LGBT people without directly speaking against the practices of the Qatari Government. Earlier in 2022, LGBT organisations stated that "progress has been slow" in attempting to ensure the safety of LGBT football fans with FIFA in Qatar – and additionally that reassurances from Qatar had "not been adequate".[38] In Qatar sex between men carries a penalty of up to 7 years in prison.[39]

In May 2022, the country’s emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, said that he believed criticism about Qatar being chosen to host the World Cup came from "people who cannot accept the idea that an Arab Muslim country would host a tournament like the World Cup."[40][41] Rishi Sunak's spokesperson distanced itself from Cleverly's comments, saying that fans should not have to "compromise who they are", and that "Qatar's policies are not those of the UK government and not ones we would endorse."[42]

Personal life

Cleverly married Susannah Sparks in 2000; the couple have two sons.[2] Cleverly lives in Blackheath.[43]

Cleverly was accused of causing damage to a fellow motorist's car while driving on the M11 motorway. The incident occurred in August 2019, with the other driver claiming that Cleverly had been speeding while using his phone.[44][needs update]

His cousin Chris Cleverly is a lawyer and businessman.[45]

Cleverly is a fan of the miniature wargame Warhammer 40,000, and has a private YouTube channel dedicated to painting the game's miniatures.[46]

Honours and decorations

Cleverly was awarded the Efficiency Decoration (TD) for 12 years' commissioned service in the Territorial Army in January 2012,[47][48] as well as the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.[49]

He was sworn of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 2019 as part of his appointment as Minister without portfolio and Conservative Party Chairman in the Johnson ministry. This entitled him to the honorific title "The Right Honourable".

Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.svg
Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal.png
Efficiency Decoration (Territorial & Volunteer Reserve).png

Ribbon Description Notes
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
  • 2002
  • UK version of this medal
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.svg
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 2012
  • UK version of this medal
Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal.png
Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal
  • 2022
  • UK version of this medal
Efficiency Decoration (Territorial & Volunteer Reserve).png
Efficiency Decoration (TD)

Notes

  1. ^ As Minister of State for Europe. Rehman Chishti assumed responsibility for North America.
  2. ^ Jointly with the Department for International Development until September 2020; Middle East and North Africa until December 2021.
  3. ^ As Minister of State for Asia and the Middle East. The Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon assumed responsibility for North Africa.

References

  1. ^ UK Prime Minister [@10DowningStreet] (6 September 2022). "The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP @JamesCleverly has been appointed Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs @FCDOGovUK #Reshuffle" (Tweet). Retrieved 6 September 2022 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b c "Cleverly, James Spencer, (born 4 Sept. 1969), MP (C) Braintree, since 2015". Who's Who. 2008. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.246959.
  3. ^ Lavender, Matthew (29 May 2019). "Conservative leadership race: Who is James Cleverly?". Sky News. Archived from the original on 24 August 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  4. ^ a b Mulholland, Hélène (6 May 2009). "Man of action". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 24 August 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  5. ^ Page 4: The Journey to Leadership from UWL. In: Your University - The Magazine for UWL Alumni and Friends - Winter 2019 Archived 5 October 2022 at the Wayback Machine at electronic publishing platform Issuu.com
  6. ^ "No. 52740". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 December 1991. p. 18966.
  7. ^ "No. 53171". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 January 1993. p. 436.
  8. ^ "No. 53479". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 November 1993. p. 17888.
  9. ^ "No. 55228". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 August 1998. p. 8984.
  10. ^ "No. 57252". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 April 2004. p. 4383.
  11. ^ "James Cleverly". London.GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 25 November 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  12. ^ "No. 62207". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 February 2018. p. 3151.
  13. ^ Cleverly MP, James. "About James". cleverly4braintree.com/about. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  14. ^ "London Elections: Bexley & Bromley". BBC News. Archived from the original on 3 November 2021. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  15. ^ "London's youth ambassador James Cleverly". The Guardian. 6 May 2009. Archived from the original on 24 August 2020. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  16. ^ "James Cleverly". London Waste and Recycling Board. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  17. ^ "Tory in 'abusive' Twitter insult to MP Simon Hughes". BBC News. 18 August 2010. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  18. ^ "Boris aide apologises for abusing Lib-Dem Simon Hughes". Evening Standard. 19 August 2010. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  19. ^ "LONDON ELECTION 2012: Conservative James Cleverly retains Bexley & Bromley seat". SW Londoner. 4 May 2012. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  20. ^ "Cleverly selected as Conservative parliamentary candidate for Braintree". Braintree and Witham Times. Archived from the original on 14 April 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  21. ^ "David Cameron's secret A-list". The Spectator. 28 March 2015. Archived from the original on 27 March 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  22. ^ "Election as MP". eadt.co.uk. 8 May 2015. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  23. ^ "Former members of the London Assembly". London City Hall. 26 November 2015. Archived from the original on 13 October 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  24. ^ "The men who pushed through cuts to fire brigade close ranks". Camden New Journal. 19 November 2015. Archived from the original on 4 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  25. ^ Perraudin, Frances (1 November 2015). "Tory MP reveals he smoked marijuana and watched online porn". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 November 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  26. ^ "Braintree Parliamentary constituency". BBC News. Archived from the original on 11 June 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  27. ^ "Party Structure and Organisation". Conservatives. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  28. ^ Sabbagh, Dan (4 October 2018). "Tory deputy chairman admits concerns about Shaun Bailey remarks". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 October 2018. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  29. ^ Acharya, Bhargav (29 May 2019). "Junior Brexit Minister James Cleverly enters race to be next UK PM..." Reuters. Archived from the original on 29 May 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  30. ^ Wills, Ella (4 June 2019). "James Cleverly withdraws from Tory leadership race". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 4 June 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  31. ^ UK Prime Minister [@10DowningStreet] (7 July 2022). "The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP @JamesCleverly has been appointed Secretary of State for Education @educationgovuk" (Tweet). Retrieved 7 July 2022 – via Twitter.
  32. ^ Brown, Faye (22 September 2022). "Foreign Secretary James Cleverly calls on countries to reject Putin's 'sham' referenda in Ukraine". Sky News. Archived from the original on 23 September 2022. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  33. ^ "Britain readies sanctions in response to Iran supplying weapons in Ukraine". Reuters. 20 October 2022. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  34. ^ "New prime minister - latest: Sunak tight-lipped as he arrives in Westminster - as bookies say race all-but over". Sky News. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  35. ^ "LGBT football fans told to be respectful at Qatar World Cup". BBC News. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  36. ^ "Top U.K. diplomat tells LGBT World Cup fans to 'be respectful' in Qatar". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  37. ^ Mitib, Molly Hudson. "James Cleverly accused of 'tone-deaf' advice to gay World Cup fans heading to Qatar". The Times. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  38. ^ "LGBT football fans told to be respectful at Qatar World Cup". BBC News. 26 October 2022. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  39. ^ "Top U.K. diplomat tells LGBT World Cup fans to 'be respectful' in Qatar". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  40. ^ "Top U.K. diplomat tells LGBT World Cup fans to 'be respectful' in Qatar". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  41. ^ "Foreign Secretary James Cleverly criticised for saying LGBT football fans should 'respect' Qatar". Sky News. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  42. ^ "LGBT+ fans should be 'respectful' of Qatar during World Cup, UK foreign secretary says". The Independent. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  43. ^ Rayner, Gordon (27 August 2022). "How Liz Truss's Cabinet could look: Who's in and who's out?". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 27 August 2022. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  44. ^ Forrest, Adam (21 August 2019). "Tory minister 'crashed into car while talking on phone', driver claims". The Independent. Archived from the original on 17 February 2020. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  45. ^ Nimmo, Jamie. "The curious past of the West Ham bid team". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 12 September 2022. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  46. ^ Carter, Gus (28 September 2022). "In defence of Warhammer". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 29 September 2022. Retrieved 29 September 2022. It turns out the Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, is a fan. His private YouTube channel is dedicated to following expert miniatures painters. In 2012, he tweeted out a video on how to paint Astorath the Grim, high chaplain of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter.
  47. ^ "No. 60031". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 January 2012. p. 782.
  48. ^ "James Cleverly AM". Old Bexley & Sidcup Conservatives. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  49. ^ "James Cleverly Uniform City Hall". June 2014. Archived from the original on 16 April 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
Civic offices Preceded byBrian Coleman Chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority 2012–2016 Succeeded byFiona Twycross Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byBrooks Newmark Member of Parliamentfor Braintree 2015–present Incumbent Political offices Preceded byChris Heaton-Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 2019 Position abolished Preceded byBrandon Lewis Minister without portfolio 2019–2020 Succeeded byAmanda Milling Preceded byAndrew Murrison Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa 2020–2021 Succeeded byHimselfas Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa and North America Preceded byHimselfas Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa Minister of State for Middle East, North Africa and North America 2021–2022 Succeeded byAmanda Millingas Minister of State for Asia and the Middle EastThe Lord Ahmad of Wimbledonas Minister of State for South and Central Asia, North Africa, United Nations and the Commonwealth Preceded byChris Heaton-Harrisas Minister of State for Europe Minister of State for Europe and North America 2022 Succeeded byGraham Stuartas Minister of State for Europe Preceded byMichelle Donelan Secretary of State for Education 2022 Succeeded byKit Malthouse Preceded byLiz Truss Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs 2022– Incumbent Party political offices Preceded byAmanda Sater Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party 2018–2019 Succeeded byHelen Whately Preceded byBrandon Lewis Chairman of the Conservative Party 2019–2020 Served alongside: Ben Elliot Succeeded byAmanda MillingBen Elliot