MP’s political career hangs in the balance after Boris vote
24th July 2019
THE high flying career of Tunbridge Wells MP, Greg Clark, was thrown into doubt last night [Tuesday] after bookmaker’s favourite, Boris Johnson, succeeded in becoming leader of the Conservative party.
Mr Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, backed rival Jeremy Hunt to take over from Theresa May to become both party leader and the next British Prime Minister, but he has now said that while Mr Johnson was not his choice, he wants him to succeed.
Writing in his monthly column for the Times, the local MP said yesterday [Tuesday]: “Boris Johnson has formidable abilities – personal and intellectual – which, if deployed in bringing people together and finding a good solution, with energy and creativity, mean that he could succeed where Theresa May did not.”
Mr Clark added that he had been ‘clear and consistent’ in his view that the best course of action was for Britain to secure a deal with the EU before leaving on October 31, and that he was ‘not going to change them for political convenience’.
“Boris has said that he wants and expects to reach the good deal I want. He told me so to my face as recently as Monday,” revealed the MP.
He added: “To secure such an agreement, and to help the United Kingdom overcome its divisions, will be a fine legacy and I wish Boris the very best in the historic task ahead.”
Despite this, Mr Johnson, who has pledged to take Britain out of the EU with or without a deal on October 31, is expected to form his own Cabinet as one of his first tasks as British Prime Minister.
It is expected that the Business Secretary will be among a number of MPs that face being replaced as Mr Johnson forms his own government, and prepares for the challenge of taking the UK out of the EU.
Mr Clark has remained critical of any plans to take Britain out of the EU without a deal. Only last week, he was one of four ministers who defied the party whip and abstained in a vote that would allow any future PM to suspend Parliament to push through a no-deal Brexit.
He defended his decision at the time saying he ‘couldn’t support the idea that we would allow the doors of Parliament to be locked against MPs at this crucially important time’.
If Greg Clark is replaced, it will be the first time since the Conservatives were elected into power under David Cameron that the Tunbridge Wells MP will not have a government job.
He has served in the Cabinet since 2015, first as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government before becoming Business Secretary in July 2016.
Before that, Mr Clark held a number of junior minister roles and was also a member of the shadow front bench during Cameron’s opposition.
Mr Clark served as Shadow Minister for Charities, Voluntary Bodies and Social Enterprise.
He has been the serving member of parliament for Tunbridge Wells since 2005.