Kwasi Kwarteng

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Kwasi Kwarteng
Kwasi Kwarteng MP at Global Growth- Challenge or opportunity for the UK? - 03.02.2014 (12303536486).jpg
Kwarteng in 2014
Member of Parliament
for Spelthorne
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by David Wilshire
Majority 14,152 (28.8%)
Personal details
Born (1975-05-26) 26 May 1975 (age 41)[1]
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
Harvard University
Occupation Member of Parliament

Kwasi Alfred Addo Kwarteng[2] (born 26 May 1975) is a British politician and historian. A member of the Conservative Party, he has served as a member of parliament (MP) since 2010 representing the constituency of Spelthorne in Surrey.

Early life[edit]

Kwarteng was born in London.[3] His parents migrated to the UK from Ghana as students in the 1960s.[4]

Kwarteng attended Eton College as a King's Scholar. He then went on to the University of Cambridge where he read Classics and History at Trinity College.[5] He was a member of the team which won University Challenge in 1995 (in the first series after the programme was revived by the BBC in 1994).[4][6] He attended Harvard University on a Kennedy Scholarship, and then earned a PhD in Economic History at Cambridge University.[5]

Prior to becoming an MP, Kwarteng worked as an analyst in financial services. A widely known historian, he has written a book, Ghosts of Empire, about the legacy of the British Empire, published by Bloomsbury in 2011.[4] He has also co-authored (with Jonathan Dupont) the book Gridlock Nation on the causes and solutions to traffic congestion in Britain.[7]

In 2014 he published War and Gold: A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, Adventures and Debt – a history of capital and the enduring ability of money – when combined with speculation – to ruin societies.[8] War and Gold has been translated into Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. In 2015 Kwarteng published Thatcher's Trial: Six Months That Defined A Leader.

Political career[edit]

Considered "a rising star on the right of the party",[9] Kwarteng was the Conservative candidate in the constituency of Brent East at the 2005 general election. He finished in third place behind the incumbent Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather (who had won the seat in a 2003 by-election) and Yasmin Qureshi of the Labour Party. Kwarteng was chairman of the Bow Group in 2005–06. In 2006, The Times suggested that he could become the first black Conservative cabinet minister.[10] He was sixth on the Conservative list of candidates for the London Assembly in the 2008 London Assembly election, but was not elected as the Conservatives claimed only three London-wide list seats.

Kwarteng was selected as the Conservative candidate for Spelthorne at an open primary in January 2010 after the incumbent Conservative MP, David Wilshire, became mired in controversy arising from the Parliamentary expenses scandal and announced that he would be retiring from Parliament at the next general election. Kwarteng was described by a local paper as a "black Boris".[3] At the 2010 general election, Kwarteng won the seat with 22,261 votes (numerically more votes but a lower percentage of the vote than his predecessor).

In August 2012, Kwarteng co-authored a book with four fellow MPs Britannia Unchained. In it, the authors made controversial remarks and suggestions, as highlighted in one outlet of the national press on publication, including that "Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world...".[11] The book also argues for a radical shrinking of the welfare state in order "to return it to the contributory principle envisioned by its founder Sir William Beveridge – that you get benefits in return for contributions", according to BBC News.[9]

Kwarteng was re-elected on 7 May 2015 with an increased majority.[12][13]

Kwarteng backed United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union in the 2016 referendum.[14]



In April 2016, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs paid for Kwarteng and ten other Conservative MPs to visit Saudi Arabia on a "parliamentary fact-finding" mission. The Saudi Arabian government paid between £1,500 and £3,700 on each MP.[15]

Parliamentary timeline[edit]

2010 Elected as MP for Spelthorne

2010–2013 Transport Select Committee member

2013–2015 Work and Pensions Select Committee member

2015 Re-elected as MP for Spelthorne

2015– PPS to the Leader of the House of Lords


Ghosts of Empire: Britain's Legacies in the Modern World, Bloomsbury, London, 2011

After The Coalition – co-authored with Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Liz Truss – Biteback, London, 2011

Gridlock Nation – co-authored with Jonathan Dupont – Biteback, London, 2011

Britannia Unchained: Global Lessons for Growth and Prosperity – Co-authored with Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Liz Truss. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2012

War and Gold: A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, Adventures and Debt – Bloomsbury, London, 2014

Thatcher's Trial: Six Months That Defined A Leader, Bloomsbury, London, 2015


  1. ^ "Kwasi Kwarteng MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  2. ^ "no. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8745. 
  3. ^ a b Tories adopt 'black Boris' as candidate, Staines News, 25 January 2010
  4. ^ a b c "". 
  5. ^ a b " political database". 
  6. ^ "Trinity on University Challenge". Sean Blanchflower. 
  7. ^ Poole, Steven (7 October 2011). "Et cetera: Steven Poole's non-fiction choice – reviews". London: Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  8. ^ Anthony Sattin. "War and Gold: A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, Adventures and Debt review – a comprehensive study of money and society". the Guardian. 
  9. ^ a b "Turn benefits into repayable loan, says Tory group". BBC News. 11 June 2015. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "Power couple behind the new Tory throne", The Times, 26 March 2006.
  11. ^ "Tackle 'lazy' Britain, fellow Tories tell David Cameron". Evening Standard. 17 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "Spelthorne Borough Council". 
  13. ^ "Spelthorne Parliamentary constituency results (2015 General Election)". BBC News. 
  14. ^ "A Brexiteer's Celebration - a conversation with Kwame Kwarteng". Foreign Affairs. 10 July 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  15. ^ "Saudi Arabia has paid for nearly a dozen Tory MPs to fly out and visit on 'fact-finding missions' this year". 20 April 2016. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Wilshire
Member of Parliament for Spelthorne