By Ben Wright
BBC political correspondent
A look at the career of Kenneth Clarke
The economic crisis continues to contort politics in rather extraordinary ways.
Would Peter (now Lord) Mandelson have buried the hatchet and returned to Gordon Brown's government in more benign economic times? Perhaps not.
But a big crisis requires big people. So one of the Conservative Party's most recognisable characters has been tempted down from the backbenches to fight on the front line.
Ken Clarke has been considering it for a while.
In November, with a hint of the lip-licking ambition that might have deserted most 68-year-olds, he said in a newspaper interview: "It's a pity I'm not chancellor at a time like this because I like a crisis.
"It gets the adrenalin going. This one really is tricky, so it would be fun to be involved."
But replacing George Osborne as the Tories' shadow chancellor was not on the cards and party sources have been anxious to stress that the plan to bring Ken Clarke back was in fact the work of Mr Osborne.
So BERR - the Department of Business and Regulatory Reform - will be the area that Ken Clarke shadows.
And that pits Mr Clarke against Lord Mandelson - though not in Parliament, where one is in the Commons, the other in the Lords.
So why the return?
Cameron and Clarke have agreed to disagree on Europe
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