Kwasi Kwarteng

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Kwasi Kwarteng

Official portrait of Kwasi Kwarteng crop 2.jpg
Kwarteng in 2017
Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth
Assumed office
24 July 2019
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byClaire Perry
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union
In office
16 November 2018 – 24 July 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded bySuella Braverman
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Member of Parliament
for Spelthorne
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byDavid Wilshire
Majority18,393 (37.2%)
Personal details
Alfred Akwasi Addo Kwarteng

(1975-05-26) 26 May 1975 (age 45)
Waltham Forest, London, England
Political partyConservative
EducationEton College
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge (BA, PhD)
Harvard University
OccupationParliament of the United Kingdom

Kwasi Alfred Addo Kwarteng (born 26 May 1975)[1][2][3] is a British Conservative Party politician serving as Member of Parliament (MP) for Spelthorne since 2010. On 16 November 2018, Kwarteng was appointed Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU), following the resignation of Suella Braverman. Following the election of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister in July 2019, Kwarteng was promoted to Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, and as part of his role attends the Cabinet.

Early life and education[edit]

Kwarteng was born in Waltham Forest in 1975[1] to parents who migrated to the UK from Ghana as students in the 1960s.[4][5] His mother was a barrister and his father an economist in the Commonwealth Secretariat.[5][6]

Kwarteng attended Colet Court[7] and then Eton College,[1] where he was a King's Scholar and was awarded the prestigious Newcastle Scholarship prize, before going to the University of Cambridge where he read classics and history at Trinity College, Cambridge.[8] 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][9] He attended Harvard University on a Kennedy Scholarship, and then earned a PhD in economic history from the University of Cambridge in 2000.[10]


Before 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.[11]

Political career[edit]

Considered "a rising star on the right of the party",[12] 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.[13] 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".[14] 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.[12]

In 2014, War and Gold: A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, Adventures and Debt appeared. It is a history of capital and the enduring ability of money, when combined with speculation, to ruin societies.[15] The book has been translated into Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. In 2015, Thatcher's Trial: Six Months That Defined a Leader was published.

Kwarteng was re-elected on 7 May 2015 with an increased majority.[16]

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.[17]

Kwarteng backed the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union in the 2016 referendum.[18]

Following the 2017 general election, Kwarteng was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.

On 16 November 2018, Kwarteng replaced Suella Braverman as a Minister in the Department for Exiting the EU.[19]

On 25 July 2019 Kwarteng was appointed Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy along with Jo Johnson, brother of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.[20] He was appointed to the Privy Council on the same day.[21]

In September 2019, Kwarteng was criticised for saying "many people believe judges are biased" after a Scottish court ruled that Boris Johnson's prorogation of parliament was illegal.[22]

In 2008, he received financial assistance from the secret group Le Cercle to attend a conference in Washington, DC[23] and in 2019 he was funded by the same group to attend a meeting in Bahrain.[24]


  • Ghosts of Empire: Britain's Legacies in the Modern World. Bloomsbury London. 2011. ISBN 9781408822906.
  • In collaboration with Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Liz Truss (2011). After the Coalition. Biteback, London. ISBN 9781849542128.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  • In collaboration with Jonathan Dupont (2011). Gridlock Nation. Biteback, London. ISBN 9781849541121.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  • In collaboration with Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Liz Truss (2012). Britannia Unchained: Global Lessons for Growth and Prosperity. Palgrave Macmillan, London. ISBN 9781137032232.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  • War and Gold: A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, Adventures and Debt. Bloomsbury, London. 2014. ISBN 9781408831687.
  • Thatcher's Trial: Six Months That Defined a Leader. Bloomsbury, London. 2015. ISBN 9781408859179.


  1. ^ a b c Anon (2017). "Kwarteng, Dr Kwasi Alfred Addo". Who's Who. (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U251073. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  2. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8745.
  3. ^ "Kwasi Kwarteng MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC News. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Tories adopt 'black Boris' as candidate", Staines News, 25 January 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d "Biography". Archived from the original on 10 May 2010. Archived at 10 July 2010.
  6. ^ Katwala, Sunder (31 July 2011). "Kwasi Kwarteng: The rising star of politics and letters". The Observer.
  7. ^ Kinchen, Rosie (4 May 2014). "Kwasi Kwarteng: Big brain, big mouth, big Tory future on hold". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  8. ^ " political database". Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  9. ^ "Trinity on University Challenge". Sean Blanchflower.
  10. ^ Kwarteng, Kwasi Alfred Addo. The political thought of the recoinage crisis of 1695-7. (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 894597679. EThOS Retrieved 25 March 2018. Free to read
  11. ^ Poole, Steven (7 October 2011). "Et cetera: Steven Poole's non-fiction choice – reviews". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Turn benefits into repayable loan, says Tory group". BBC News. 11 June 2015. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Power couple behind the new Tory throne", The Times, 26 March 2006.
  14. ^ "Tackle 'lazy' Britain, fellow Tories tell David Cameron". London Evening Standard. 17 August 2012.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "Spelthorne Parliamentary constituency results (2015 General Election)". BBC News.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Stuart Reid (10 July 2016). "A Brexiteer's Celebration – a conversation with Kwasi Kwarteng". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  19. ^ "Stephen Barclay named new Brexit Secretary". BBC News. 16 November 2018.
  20. ^ Heather Stewart, Rowena Mason, Jessica Elgot, Peter Walker (25 July 2019). "Who's who in Boris Johnson's first cabinet". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2019.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  22. ^ "Minister criticised for 'biased judges' comment". 12 September 2019. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  23. ^ McKeon, Christopher (8 February 2019). "Here's how Surrey's MPs top up their £77,000 parliamentary salary". getsurrey. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  24. ^ "House of Commons - The Register of Members' Financial Interests (2 September 2019: Kwarteng, Kwasi )". Retrieved 2 November 2019.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Wilshire
Member of Parliament for Spelthorne
Political offices
Preceded by
Suella Braverman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union
Position abolished
Preceded by
Claire Perry O'Neill
Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth