James Cleverly

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James Cleverly
James Cleverly casual.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Braintree
Assumed office
8 May 2015
Preceded by Brooks Newmark
Majority 17,610 (35.0%)
Leader of the Conservative Party in the London Assembly
In office
Preceded by Roger Evans
Succeeded by Andrew Boff
Member of the London Assembly
for Bexley and Bromley
In office
4 May 2008[1] – 5 May 2016[1]
Preceded by Bob Neill
Succeeded by Gareth Bacon
Majority 47,768
Personal details
Born James Spencer Cleverly
(1969-09-04) 4 September 1969 (age 47)
London, England
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Susannah Sparks
Children 2 sons
Alma mater University of West London
Religion None (atheist)
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Army Reserve
Years of service 1991–present
Rank Major
Unit Royal Artillery

James Spencer Cleverly TD (born 4 September 1969) is a British Conservative Party politician and Territorial Army officer.

He currently serves as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Braintree,[2] and was the member of the London Assembly for Bexley and Bromley from 2008-16.[1] He won his seat in parliament at the 2015 general election.

Early life and education[edit]

Cleverly was born in Lewisham Hospital, to a British father and mother from Sierra Leone. He attended Riverston School and Colfe's School, both in Lee, South East London. After a period serving in the British Army (which was cut short due to injury),[3] he gained a degree in business at Thames Valley University (now known as the University of West London).[citation needed]

Before being elected he worked in the magazine and web publishing industry and is the author of a blog.

Military service[edit]

On 6 October 1991, Cleverly was commissioned into the Royal Regiment of Artillery, Territorial Army, as a second lieutenant (on probation).[4] In January 1993, his commission was confirmed and he was made a substantive second lieutenant.[5] He was promoted to lieutenant on 6 October 1993,[6] to captain on 26 May 1998,[7] and to major on 1 November 2003.[8] Until 2005, he was Officer Commanding of 266 (Para) Battery Royal Artillery (Volunteers).[9] He is currently based at Central Volunteers HQ Royal Artillery, in Woolwich, London, and is a Staff Officer in the 1st (UK) Armoured Division.[3][10]

He has been awarded the Efficiency Decoration (territorial) (TD) for long service in the Reserves of the British Army.[11]

Political career[edit]

Unsuccessful candidacy[edit]

Cleverly had previously stood unsuccessfully in a number of elections for the London Borough of Lewisham; including the borough council elections of 2002, a borough council by-election in 2003, for the Lewisham East seat for the UK Parliament in the 2005 general election and as the Conservative candidate for the directly elected mayor of Lewisham in 2006.

London Assembly[edit]

In March 2007, Cleverly was selected as the candidate for the Bexley and Bromley constituency of the London Assembly in a very tightly fought selection contest. The London Assembly election was held on 1 May with the count and declaration on the 2 May, where he received 105,162 votes (52.6% of the vote) and a majority of 75,237.[citation needed]

In January 2009, Cleverly was appointed as the Mayor of London's Youth Ambassador, a newly created role which was seen as being a replacement post for the Deputy Mayor for Young People, a post left vacant after the resignation of Ray Lewis. The creation of the role caused some controversy as it was not filled by a mayoral appointment but by a member of the assembly whose formal role is to scrutinise the Mayor. The decision was defended because of the precedent set by the appointment of Kit Malthouse as Deputy Mayor for Policing.[12]

In February 2010, Cleverly was appointed as the Chairman of the London Waste and Recycling Board, replacing Boris Johnson who had stood down.[13] After the defeat of Brian Coleman at the 2012 London elections he was appointed to the Chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA).[14]

In November 2010, Cleverly was re-selected to be the Conservative candidate for Bexley and Bromley in the 2012 GLA elections, going on to win the seat with 88,482 votes (once again 52.6% of the votes) and a majority of 47,768.[15] Following his election to parliament in 2015, he did not defend his seat at the 2016 assembly election.[1]

House of Commons[edit]

In January 2015, Cleverly was selected to be the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Braintree in the 7 May general election.[16] He was elected on 8 May 2015.[17]


In August 2010, Cleverly posted a tweet in which he called Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes "a dick". The full tweet stated: "We may be coalition partners but it doesn't stop me thinking Simon Hughes is a dick.".[18] He later apologised.[19]

On 1 November 2015, Cleverly was interviewed by John Pienaar as part of Backbencher’s Questions on BBC Radio 5 Live.[20] During the interview, he admitted to smoking cannabis while at university.[21]

In March 2016, Cleverly was asked to step down as patron of Advocacy for All, a charity supporting disadvantaged people in South East England. The charity felt he was no longer a suitable person for the role, given that he had voted to cut ESA (the benefit paid to disabled people who are unable to work).[22] In a statement, Advocacy for All said they were "disappointed and surprised" by his support for the cut, and that the loss of £30 a week "will have a profound and detrimental affect on the lives of disabled people and the quality of their lives. It will severely impact on all areas of their lives and could leave them isolated and disconnected from the rest of the community."[23]

Personal life[edit]

Cleverly is married to Susannah Janet Temple Cleverly (née Sparks).[citation needed] Together, they have two sons; Freddy and Rupert.[3] He is an atheist.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d "Former members of the London Assembly". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 22 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "Election as MP". eadt.co.uk. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "About James Cleverly". Braintree Conservatives. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52740. p. 18966. 9 December 1991. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53171. p. 436. 11 January 1993. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53479. p. 17888. 8 November 1993. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 55228. p. 8984. 17 August 1998. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57252. p. 4383. 6 April 2004. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  9. ^ "James Cleverly". London.GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 25 November 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  10. ^ "Central Volunteer HQ RA (CVHQ RA)". ARMY.MOD.UK. British Army. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  11. ^ "James Cleverly AM". Old Bexley & Sidcup Conservatives. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  12. ^ "London's youth ambassador James Cleverly". The Guardian. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  13. ^ "James Cleverly". London Waste and Recycling Board. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "James Cleverly". London Fire Brigade. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Conservative James Cleverly retains Bexley & Bromley seat". Old Bexley & Sidcup Conservatives. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  16. ^ "Cleverly selected as Conservative parliamentary candidate for Braintree". Braintree and Witham Times. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "Election as MP". eadt.co.uk. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  18. ^ "Tory in 'abusive' Twitter insult to MP Simon Hughes". BBC. 18 August 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  19. ^ "Boris aide apologises for abusing Lib-Dem Simon Hughes". Evening Standard. 19 August 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  20. ^ "Backbencher's Questions: Tory MP James Cleverly goes under the grill". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 1 November 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  21. ^ a b Perraudin, Frances (1 November 2015). "Tory MP reveals he smoked marijuana and watched online porn". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  22. ^ Winterbottom, Summer (15 March 2016). "Second Tory MP told to resign as charity patron after voting for £30 ESA cuts - EvolvePolitics.com". Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  23. ^ "Advocacy for All". Retrieved 23 March 2017. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Bob Neill
Member of the London Assembly
for Bexley and Bromley

Succeeded by
Gareth Bacon
Civic offices
Preceded by
Brian Coleman
Chair of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Brooks Newmark
Member of Parliament
for Braintree