Ken Clarke is now a Liberal Democrat in all but name

19 May 2014

5:29 PM

19 May 2014

5:29 PM

Nick Clegg used to joke that he should include Ken Clarke in any list of senior Liberal Democrats. But Mr Steerpike hears things have moved way beyond that. Ken, who revealed to the Spectator that he was hoping for a coalition even before it was on the cards, is now acting with the Lib Dems on the notorious Home Affairs committee of the Cabinet. This little-known body is supposed to approve all moves the government makes — but it is now being used to allow Cleggy to veto anything he likes. He then holds the policy hostage, the demands a price for its release. So, for example, he’d try to veto the approval of pension reform unless Danny Alexander can announce minority status for Cornwall. And other such drivel.

A Lib Dem plot? Actually, it’s worse. Mr Steerpike is told by a Cabinet source that Ken Clarke has been acting as part of the Lib Dem axis — and helped to veto the plans for automatic sentencing of repeat knife crime offenders. Leaked documents exposed how the LibDems had vetoed the idea, but they were aided and abetted by Yellow Ken.


In today’s Sun, Nick Clegg is interviewed by the newspaper’s cabbie, Grant Davis. ‘Is there any Tory you like?’ he asks. ‘I get on with..look, I sit next to Ken Clarke in the Cabinet. Ken and I get on incredibly well,’ says the DPM.

Yes, Nick, so we gather.

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Show comments
  • Jonathan Sidaway

    A little side light on the tubby trickster. A friend of mine, very much a Whig or liberal like KC, attended a conference on mental health issues when Clarke was Minister. Some people receiving treatment were present and one of them gave a reasoned speech in criticism of whatever policy KC was defending. Clarke completely ‘lost it’ within seconds. Conniptive fit, etc.. Had you happened upon him at that moment, my friend says, you would have not a little have wondered at his general state of mind. Anyway, something to remember when you next hear him coming over all urbane about the joys of life in the duck-rearing regions of France and all the rest of the baggage.

  • Kaine

    Nice fella. Should have been leader.

    • Thomas Tidswell

      Unfit to lead a dog.

  • Grey Wolf

    ”Ken Clarke is now a Liberal Democrat in all but name”
    Hang on. There is something wrong here. Wasn’t he always a liberal – democrat?

  • Peter Stroud

    A pity that Ken has moved too far to the left. He really should resign the Tory Whip.

  • HookesLaw

    Yes Ken is over the hill. I thought he was a good minister under Thatcher considering he is on the left of the Conservative party.
    But if he does not think automatic sentencing is a goodthing then that does not mean he is somehow suddenly a LD.
    Whoever Steerpike is he is no improvement of Mr Nelson when it come to putting 2 and 2 together.

    • Grey Wolf

      ”considering he is on the left of the Conservative party”
      but that is true for everyone in conservative party

  • ButcombeMan

    I happen to agree with Ken on knives, Trust the judiciary and live with the fact they sometimes get it wrong.

    On almost everything else he is over the hill. He should not be in the government.

  • Martin Jennerson

    Ken Clarke is so attached to the liberal status quo and to the various self-interested orthodoxies established by liberal-leaning professions/groups that “bigot” doesn’t even begin to describe him. I’ve noticed from QT etc that he’s incapable of discussing any issue properly at all – he reduces every issue to lazy rebuttal of all non-liberal dissenters, just a spew of vacuous insults. I can’t stand him, so lazy.

  • Holby18

    What an utter silly article. A reminder that Mr Clark is a QC. It is an absolute nonsense to have a mandatory sentence for knive crime and like Mr Clark, I am all for trusting our Judiciary in such matters. We have a Sentencing Council in which all of us can contribute to range of sentences for different offences. The Senten cing judge knows a lot more about the crime and individual than the tabloid press.

    Many Labour MPs get on well with Ken Clark. your argument does not stand up that he is in cohorts with the Lib Dems.

    If I want to read a tabloid article I can do so. This is a very poor contribution.

    • Thomas Tidswell

      Mr Clark leaves nothing to the Judiciary. Nothing is left to them with the introduction of the Sentencing Matrices.
      Indeed, Clark’s history as a closet Social Democrat reached its apogee when he stood alongside Labour against the Tories.
      The man is as politically untrustworthy as Churchill. He was dead and buried until Cameron’s minders realised they had nobody that the Public actually remembered in the Cabinet and Clark’s price for resurrection was LC and empty prisons where your killers serve voluntary open sentences and knife-killers don’t have to wear fluorescent jackets on Community Service.