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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
Charles Clarke
Charles Clarke

Date of birth

21 September 1950

Political profile

Charles Clarke took over one of the high offices of state when he replaced David Blunkett as home secretary in December 2004.

He moved from education, another job he took after a resignation - in that case of Estelle Morris in October 2002.

As education secretary he introduced the government's tuition-fee proposals to the a rowdy reception in the House of Commons in January 2004.

His reputation as a political bruiser took a thumping during the passage of the bill as large numbers of Labour MPs rubbished his proposals but he nonetheless got them onto the statute books.

Mr Clarke first joined the Cabinet in 2001 as chairman of the Labour Party - the first person to hold such a ministerial position.

The move caused great controversy, since constitutionally Labour already had its own elected party chairman.

The row overshadowed the astonishing rise of a politician who only entered Parliament in 1997 and was one of the first of his intake to join the government.

Mr Clarke already had a background in the upper echelons of Labour, having served as chief of staff to Neil Kinnock throughout his years as Labour leader.

He had a hand in writing the speech in which Kinnock attacked Militant's administration of Liverpool.

Mr Clarke was tipped for office from the moment he was elected, despite a few off-message wobbles.

He made clear his opposition to cuts in lone-parent benefits (although he supported it in the lobbies) and called for a full elected second chamber.

Since joining the government, he has become one of the most aggressively loyal members of New Labour, and often serves as a general media trouble-shooter for the party.

Contact

Commons office: 020 7219 1194
Constituency office: 01603 661144
clarkec@parliament.uk

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