Ken Clarke returns to UK Shadow Cabinet
UK Conservative Party leader David Cameron is taking a big gamble by bringing controversial Tory politician Ken Clarke back to the front of the party lineup. Clarke held numerous high-profile positions in the government until the Conservative's massive defeat in the 1997 election. After that, he has been relegated to the back benches. Clarke is controversial among Conservatives for a variety of reasons, one of them being his pro-Europe stance.
On Monday, the former Chancellor will be appointed shadow business secretary, opposing Peter Mandelson. Tory sources say Mr Cameron believes only Mr Clarke has the economic credibility to counter Lord Mandelson's growing influence.
Mr Clarke will replace Alan Duncan, who will be given another senior party role. Caroline Spelman, the party chairman facing in investigation into her use of Commons expenses, could be dropped.
George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, is understood to have instigated Mr Clarke's return to frontline politics. The appointment was sealed at a lunch at Mr Osborne's London home between Mr Cameron, Mr Osborne and Mr Clarke.
Mr Clarke, 68, took his first ministerial post in 1979 and held every major Cabinet post except the premiership before the Tories' defeat in 1997. He has been on the backbenches ever since.