Gregory David Clark (born 28 August 1967) is a British politician who served as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities from 7 July 2022 to 6 September 2022. A member of the Conservative Party, he has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Tunbridge Wells since 2005. He is currently the Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee.
Clark was born in Middlesbrough and studied Economics at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he was president of Cambridge University Social Democrats. He then gained his PhD from the London School of Economics. Clark worked as a business consultant before becoming the BBC's Controller for Commercial Policy and then Director of Policy for the Conservative Party under Conservative leaders Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard from 2001 until his election to parliament in 2005.
Clark served in the Cameron-Clegg coalition as Minister of State in the Department for Communities and Local Government from 2010 to 2012, Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 2012 to 2013, and Minister of State for Cities and Constitution at the Cabinet Office from 2013 to 2014. Between July 2014 and May 2015, he held the post of Minister for Universities, Science and Cities. Following the 2015 general election, Prime Minister David Cameron promoted Clark to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. In July 2016, he was appointed as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy by new Prime Minister Theresa May and remained in that role until 24 July 2019. He had the whip removed on 3 September 2019, for voting against the government, before it was restored on 29 October. In May 2022, he was named as the Prime Ministers' trade envoy to Japan by Boris Johnson.
Clark was born in Middlesbrough and attended St Peter's Roman Catholic School in South Bank. His father and grandfather were milkmen running the family business, John Clark and Sons, while his mother worked at Sainsbury's.
Clark read Economics at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) while at Cambridge and was an executive member of its national student wing, Social Democrat Youth and Students (SDYS) and, in 1987, president of Cambridge University Social Democrats. He then studied at the London School of Economics, where he was awarded his PhD in 1992 with a thesis entitled, The effectiveness of incentive payment systems: an empirical test of individualism as a boundary condition.
Clark first worked as a business consultant for Boston Consulting Group, before becoming special advisor to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Ian Lang, between 1996 and 1997. Subsequently, he was appointed the BBC's Controller, Commercial Policy, and was Director of Policy for the Conservative Party from 2001 until his election to parliament in May 2005. Between 2002 and 2005, he was also a councillor on Westminster City Council, representing Warwick ward and serving as Cabinet Member for Leisure and Lifelong Learning.
Member of Parliament
Clark was selected as the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Tunbridge Wells in December 2004. Clark was elected at the 2005 general election for the parliamentary constituency of Tunbridge Wells, after Archie Norman stood down as the MP.
He was elected with a majority of 9,988, and made his maiden speech on 9 June 2005, in which he spoke of the (then) forthcoming 400th anniversary of Dudley, Lord North's discovery of the Chalybeate spring and the foundation of Royal Tunbridge Wells, a town to which the royal prefix was added in 1909 by King Edward VII. He also noted with pride that Royal Tunbridge Wells had elected the country's first Jewish Member of Parliament.
Clark was appointed to the front bench, in a minor reshuffle in November 2006 by David Cameron, becoming Shadow Minister for Charities, Voluntary Bodies and Social Enterprise. Shortly after his appointment he made headlines by saying the Conservative party needed to pay less attention to the social thinking of Winston Churchill, and more to that of columnist on The Guardian, Polly Toynbee.
In October 2007, Clark campaigned to save Tunbridge Wells Homeopathic Hospital. In October 2008, Clark was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet, shadowing the new government position of Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. A spokesperson for West Kent PCT said 39 major studies had been made of homeopathy but there was "no clear evidence that it worked"
Minister of State for Decentralisation
Clark was appointed a Minister of State in the Department for Communities and Local Government from May 2010, with responsibility for overseeing decentralisation, a key policy of the Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition. In this role he called for the churches and other faith communities to send him their ideas for new social innovations for all, and made a major speech on "turning government upside down" jointly to the think tanks CentreForum and Policy Exchange. He was accused of hypocrisy, having staunchly opposed house-building while in opposition, while threatening to impose it as a government minister.
In November 2015, in his capacity of Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Clark called in the decision making power in the appeal against the Lancashire County Council's decision regarding a shale gas fracking application made by Cuadrilla Resources.
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
In a cabinet reshuffle in September 2012, Clark was appointed Financial Secretary to the Treasury with responsibility for financial services, known informally as the City Minister, he retained the ministerial brief responsible for cities policy.
Minister for Universities, Science and Cities
On 15 July 2014 Clark was appointed to the role of Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, replacing David Willetts who was generally praised for his service in the post. The new portfolio combined the universities and science brief held by Willetts with the cities policy already handled by Clark.
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Clark returned to the Department of Communities and Local Government as Secretary of State on 11 May 2015, appointed in David Cameron's first cabinet reshuffle following the 2015 general election.
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Clark was appointed Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 14 July 2016, in Theresa May's first cabinet. In October 2016, he appointed his predecessor as MP, Archie Norman, as Lead Non Executive Board Member for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
In May 2018, Clark suggested that 3,500 UK domestic jobs could be lost as a direct and explicit result of Brexit. Brexiteers, such as Jacob Rees-Mogg said this was a "revival of project fear". Clark argued in response that the job losses were 'substantiated' in the result of an inadequate customs union deal with the European Union, but stated that this did not include the transition/implementation period.
Clark opposed a no deal Brexit. In September 2018, Clark said, "People in good jobs up and down the country are looking to our national leaders to make sure a deal is approved. We are one of the world's leaders in the next generation of automotive technology. To see that slip through our fingers is something we would regret forever."
In January 2019, Clark, against the advice of Theresa May, suggested he might resign from Cabinet in the event of the United Kingdom not securing a deal with the European Union in Brexit negotiations. At the time he was the most senior minister to do so.
On 6 February 2019, Clark said to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that Theresa May had until 15 February to conclude Brexit negotiations in order to provide certainty to exporters to countries such as Japan because of the length of time that goods take to arrive. The EU-Japan free trade agreement would no longer apply to the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Under the tenure of Clark, who was responsible for workers' rights nationally, his department in London reportedly did not ensure that its staff, many of whom had been outsourced, were paid at least the London living wage. In February 2019, the staff went on strike for 26 hours.
Removal and restoration of Conservative whip
On 3 September 2019 Clark voted against the government on taking control of the House of Commons order paper to allow a bill to be debated in parliament which would stop a no-deal Brexit without explicit approval of parliament. He became an independent as the Conservative whip was withdrawn from him. On 29 October, the whip was restored to 10 former Conservative ministers, including Clark.
- "Greg Clark twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
- "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8743.
- Clark, David Gregory (1992). The effectiveness of incentive payment systems: An empirical test of individualism as a boundary condition (PhD). London School of Economics and Political Science. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
- "Michael Gove moved to chief whip in cabinet reshuffle". BBC News. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "Ministers". Gov.uk.
- "Russia on agenda as Johnson hosts Japanese PM". BBC News. 5 May 2022. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
- "A Conservative Who's Who". Financial Times. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "Greg Clark MP – From Middlesbrough to Minister for Giving Power to the People". Platform 10. 20 April 2012. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "Paul Goodman interviews Greg Clark". Conservative Home. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- Clark, David Gregory (1 January 1992). "The effectiveness of incentive payment systems: an empirical test of individualism as a boundary condition". LSE Theses Online. PhD thesis 1992 LSE. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
- "Tories pick general election candidate". kentonline.co.uk. 3 December 2004. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
- "9 Jun 2005 : Column 1440". Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
- "Greg Clark maiden speech". theyworkforyou.com. 9 June 2005. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- "Postcode lottery for homeopathic treatment". Kent News. 12 October 2007. Archived from the original on 6 August 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- Clark, Greg (30 July 2010). "It's time for Government to stop getting in your way". Catholic Herald. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- Countryside (24 August 2011). "Rural Britain prepares for the bulldozers". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 26 August 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- McCann, Kate (20 July 2011). "Greg Clark appointed minister for cities". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- Clark, Greg (9 December 2011). "A genuine New Deal is on offer for cities which take up our challenge". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "Greg Clark – About Greg". gregclark.org.
- Ghosh, Pallab (15 July 2014). "Science minister has tough job to follow". BBC News. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- Watt, Nicholas; Wintour, Patrick (15 July 2014). "Michael Gove demoted to chief whip as Cameron shows no sentimentality". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- Shaw, Claire; Ratcliffe, Rebecca (15 July 2014). "Greg Clark appointed universities and science minister". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP". gov.uk. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- "May adds energy policy to Business department". BBC News. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- "Business Secretary appoints Archie Norman as Lead Non-Executive Board Member". www.gov.uk. 3 October 2016.
- "Don't bother reading further – Vauxhall is dead". www.independent.co.uk. 14 February 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- "Thousands of jobs at risk if Theresa May drops Brexit 'customs partnership' plan with the EU, business secretary suggests". The Independent. 6 May 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
- Brexit: Business secretary Greg Clark insists 'we need to have a deal', contradicting Theresa May The Independent. 29 September 2018
- "Tory minister refuses to rule out resigning if Theresa May pushes no-deal 'disaster'". The Independent. 10 January 2019. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
- Kate Devlin (7 February 2019). "Deadline for agreeing Brexit deal is next week, business minister Greg Clark says". The Times. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
- Gayle, Damien (13 February 2019). "'Living in poverty': workers at business department go on strike". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
- Syal, Rajeev (17 December 2018). "BEIS faces strike over low pay for outsourced service workers". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
- "Business Secretary's Workers' Rights Blitz Takes Hit As His Own Staff Vote To Strike". HuffPost UK. 17 December 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
- "Who were the Conservative Brexit rebels?". 3 September 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- "Restoration of Conservative Whip". BBC News. 29 October 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
- Merrick, Jane (4 October 2009). "Greg Clark: Global warming is not on our back burner". Independent. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
- "Fall in number of Catholic MPs in the House of Commons ahead of landmark debate on assisted dying". The Tablet. 27 August 2015.
- Greg Clark MP official constituency website
- Profile at the Ministry for Communities and Local Government
- Profile at the Conservative Party
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- News articles
- Video clips