Long-serving British minister Clarke to quit government: Reports

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - 00:51

London: British politician Kenneth Clarke, a veteran pro-EU Conservative, is expected to retire from government as part of a reshuffle that draws the battle-lines ahead of next year`s general election.

Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to reveal full details of the reshuffle imminently, and reports said on Monday that Clarke would announce he was stepping down from his role as minister without portfolio.

The 74-year-old, well known for his love of ale and jazz, first became an MP in 1970, and held top positions in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major.
He has spent 20 years on the front bench of parliament, and has filled the key roles of finance minister and interior minister during his time at Westminster.

Despite three bids, the long-serving lawmaker never became leader of his party.

Clarke`s strong support of Britain`s membership in the European Union is at odds with many in the Conservative Party.

The leading party in the governing coalition has promised a referendum on British EU membership, under pressure from the advance of the Eurosceptic UK Independence Party.

Welsh Secretary David Jones also revealed that he was leaving government as part of the reshuffle.

"The Prime Minister is carrying out a reshuffle," he explained. He is reshuffling the team and he has asked me to stand down. I totally understand his decision."

AFP

First Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - 00:51

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