Simon Clarke
Official portrait of Mr Simon Clarke MP crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2020
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Assumed office
15 September 2021
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded bySteve Barclay
Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government
In office
13 February 2020 – 8 September 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byJake Berry
Succeeded byLuke Hall
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
In office
27 July 2019 – 13 February 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byRobert Jenrick
Succeeded byKemi Badenoch
Member of Parliament
for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland
Assumed office
8 June 2017
Preceded byTom Blenkinsop
Majority11,626 (24.3%)
Personal details
Born (1984-09-28) 28 September 1984 (age 37)
Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, England
Political partyConservative
EducationRed House School
Alma materUniversity College, Oxford

Simon Richard Clarke[1] (born 28 September 1984) is a British politician serving as Chief Secretary to the Treasury since 2021. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland since the 2017 general election.

Following Boris Johnson's appointment as Prime Minister, Clarke was appointed Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury. In the February 2020 cabinet reshuffle he was moved to the post of Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government, before resigning for personal reasons in September 2020. In the 2021 cabinet reshuffle he was returned to government as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, becoming the youngest cabinet minister in the ministry.

Early life

Clarke was born in North Tees Hospital and grew up in the village of Marton. His parents Richard and Jill Clarke were a solicitor and stay-at-home mother.[2][3] He was privately educated at Red House School in Norton,[4] before going on to study History at University College, Oxford. At university, he was chairman of the Oxford University Conservative Association in Michaelmas Term, 2005.[5]

After leaving university he moved to London and trained as a solicitor with Slaughter and May before going to work in 2010 for the Surrey-based Conservative MP Dominic Raab, and then the Yorkshire-based Conservative MP Graham Stuart.[6]

Political career

Clarke unsuccessfully stood as the Conservative candidate in the Middlesbrough constituency in the 2015 general election, coming third and suffering a swing against his party of 2.3%. Whilst being employed as a Policy Advisor to the Conservative MP Graham Stuart, he was selected as the candidate for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland in April 2017.[7] He was elected at the 2017 general election,[3] winning the seat from Labour after the sitting MP Tom Blenkinsop stood down.[8]

Clarke has served on the Treasury Committee, the Treasury Sub-Committee and the Regulatory Reform Committee.[9] He clashed with both the then-Labour MP for Redcar and the Labour-run Middlesbrough Council over plans for transport improvements in the local area,[10][11] while he argued against his own party's opposition to onshore windfarms.[12]

On 12 June 2019 the UK Government amended the Climate Change Act of 2008 by introducing a target for a 100% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (compared to 1990 levels) in the UK by 2050.[13] At the forefront of this change in policy was Clarke, who, in September 2018, organised a letter signed by more than 130 cross-party MPs which indicated their support for net zero emissions and stressed opportunities for UK businesses, including in the North-East.[14][15]

Clarke has been an advocate of regeneration both locally and nationally. In his role as Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Clarke said that towns and coastal communities had not shared the benefits of the economic growth experienced in other parts of the UK.[16] Clarke said he supported regenerative measures undertaken by private initiatives in his constituency such as the reopening and expanding of the Teesside International Airport, alongside the Tees Valley Mayor's plans to redevelop the SSI steelworks site.[17][18][19]

On 27 July 2019 he was appointed Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury in Boris Johnson's administration.[20] On 13 February 2020 he had his portfolio changed to a Minister of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, a role he remained in until 8 September 2020, when he resigned for personal reasons.[21]

In a cabinet reshuffle on 15 September 2021, Clarke succeeded Steve Barclay in the cabinet-attending post of Chief Secretary to the Treasury.[22]

Political views

Clarke is a strong supporter of Brexit, having voted for the UK to leave the European Union, and is a supporter of the Eurosceptic campaign Leave Means Leave.[23] He called the new Brexit deal secured by Boris Johnson "marvellous news", stating that the "anti-democratic backstop" had been abolished.[24] He was critical of the negotiating approach taken by Theresa May[25] and had submitted a call for a vote of no confidence in her leadership.[26]

Personal life

Clarke lives in the market town of Guisborough and London.

His height, 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m), makes him Britain's second-tallest MP and earned him the nickname 'Stilts' at school.[27]

Prior to the 2021 autumn budget Clarke said he would not take part in the traditional publicity photo with the Chancellor of the Exchequer as he suffers from agoraphobia.[28]

Honours

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (November 2021)


References

  1. ^ "No. 61961". The London Gazette. 19 June 2017. pp. 11783–4.
  2. ^ "About Simon Clarke". Simon Clarke. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  3. ^ a b Ian Johnson (9 June 2017). "Who is Simon Clarke? Teesside Tory MP who loves George Boateng and was nicknamed 'Stilts' at school". Gazette Live. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Clarke, Simon Richard". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. Vol. 2018 (February 2018 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 13 February 2018. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ "Past Presidents". Oxford University Conservative Association. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  6. ^ LinkedIn
  7. ^ "Ford is selected in Chelmsford. Bennett withdraws from Saffron Walden. Latest candidate selection news". Conservative Home. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Labour seat goes blue as Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland elects Conservative Simon Clarke". The Northern Echo. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  9. ^ "Simon Clarke MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  10. ^ Felicity Collinson (13 February 2018). "War of words over Teesside new trains snub: 'We're getting hand-me-downs' says one MP". Gazette Live. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  11. ^ Mike Brown (23 July 2017). "Tory MP Simon Clarke has put the debate back on the agenda, but Middlesbrough Council says it's always working on solutions". Gazette Live. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Simon Clarke: The case for lifting the national bar on onshore wind". Conservative Home. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  13. ^ Hirst, David; Bolton, Paul; Priestley, Sara. "Net zero in the UK" – via commonslibrary.parliament.uk.
  14. ^ "Go For Zero". The Climate Coalition.
  15. ^ "StackPath" (PDF). www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk.
  16. ^ "Re-Thinking Local: A Vision For The Future - Simon Clarke MP". local.gov.uk.
  17. ^ "Delivering Jobs and Growth". Simon Clarke MP.
  18. ^ "Mayor reiterates vow to return steelmaking to Teesside after £71 million Government support". North East Times.
  19. ^ "Teesside Airport: A New Beginning". Simon Clarke MP.
  20. ^ Mattha Busby (27 July 2019). "Nadine Dorries joins Department of Health and Social Care". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  21. ^ "MP Simon Clarke resigns from government for personal reasons". BBC News. 8 September 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  22. ^ UK Prime Minister [@10DowningStreet] (15 September 2021). "Simon Clarke MP @SimonClarkeMP has been appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury @HMTreasury He will attend Cabinet. #Reshuffle" (Tweet). Retrieved 18 September 2021 – via Twitter.
  23. ^ "Co-Chairmen - Political Advisory Board - Supporters". Leave Means Leave. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  24. ^ "North-East MPs react to Boris Johnson's Brexit deal". The Northern Echo. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  25. ^ "North-East MPs react to Theresa May departure - with one backing Boris Johnson to be PM". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  26. ^ "Tory MP delivers damning verdict on Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  27. ^ Johnson, Ian (9 June 2017). "Simon Clarke: The 6ft 7ins new Tory MP who loves George Boateng". TeessideLive. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  28. ^ "Treasury minister skips pre-budget photo citing agoraphobia". The Guardian. 27 October 2021. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  29. ^ "ORDERS APPROVED AND BUSINESS TRANSACTED AT THE PRIVY COUNCIL HELD BY THE QUEEN AT BALMORAL ON 20TH SEPTEMBER 2021" (PDF). Privy Council Office. Retrieved 23 November 2021.