Kwasi Kwarteng

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Kwasi Kwarteng
Official portrait of Kwasi Kwarteng crop 2.jpg
Parliamentary Private Secretary
to the Chancellor of the Exchequer
Assumed office
27 June 2017
Preceded by John Glen
Member of Parliament
for Spelthorne
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by David Wilshire
Majority 13,425 (26.8%)
Personal details
Born Alfred Akwasi Addo Kwarteng[1]
(1975-05-26) 26 May 1975 (age 42)[2]
Waltham Forest, London, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
Harvard University
Occupation Parliament of the United Kingdom

Kwasi Alfred Addo Kwarteng[3] (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 Waltham Forest in 1975 to parents who migrated to the UK from Ghana as students in the 1960s.[4][5]

He attended Eton College as a King's Scholar before going up to the University of Cambridge where he read classics and history at Trinity College.[6] 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).[5][7] He attended Harvard University on a Kennedy Scholarship, and then earned a PhD in economic history at Cambridge University.[6]

Prior to becoming a member of Parliament, Kwarteng worked as an analyst in financial services. He has written a book, Ghosts of Empire, about the legacy of the British Empire, published by Bloomsbury in 2011.[5] He also co-authored Gridlock Nation with Jonathan Dupont in 2011 about the causes and solutions to traffic congestion in Britain.[8]

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".[4] 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]

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.[12] The book has been translated into Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. In 2015 he published Thatcher's Trial: Six Months That Defined a Leader.

Kwarteng was re-elected on 7 May 2015 with an increased majority.[13][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 for each MP.[15]

Kwarteng backed the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union in the 2016 referendum.[16]

Following the 2017 General Election and the resulting Conservative–DUP agreement, Kwarteng was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.



  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 8 January 2018. 
  2. ^ "Kwasi Kwarteng MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8745. 
  4. ^ a b "Tories adopt 'black Boris' as candidate", Staines News, 25 January 2010.
  5. ^ a b c "Biography". Archived from the original on 10 May 2010.  Archived at 10 July 2010.
  6. ^ a b " political database". 
  7. ^ "Trinity on University Challenge". Sean Blanchflower. 
  8. ^ Poole, Steven (7 October 2011). "Et cetera: Steven Poole's non-fiction choice – reviews". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  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". London Evening Standard. 17 August 2012. 
  12. ^ Anthony Sattin (12 May 2014). "War and Gold: A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, Adventures and Debt review – a comprehensive study of money and society". The Observer. 
  13. ^ "Spelthorne Borough Council". 
  14. ^ "Spelthorne Parliamentary constituency results (2015 General Election)". BBC News. 
  15. ^ Jon Stone (20 April 2016). "Saudi Arabia has paid for nearly a dozen Tory MPs to fly out and visit on 'fact-finding missions' this year". The Independent. 
  16. ^ Stuart Reid (10 July 2016). "A Brexiteer's Celebration – a conversation with Kwame Kwarteng". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 

External links[edit]

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