Tom Clarke (politician)

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The Right Honourable
Tom Clarke
Minister of State for Film and Tourism
In office
4 May 1997 – 29 July 1998
Leader Tony Blair
Preceded by Nick Hawkins
Succeeded by Janet Anderson
Shadow Minister for Disabled People
In office
19 October 1995 – 4 May 1997
Leader Tony Blair
Preceded by Barry Sheerman (1994)
Succeeded by Angela Browning
Shadow Minister for Overseas Development
In office
21 October 1993 – 12 October 1994
Leader John Smith
Margaret Beckett (Acting)
Tony Blair
Preceded by Michael Meacher
Succeeded by Joan Lestor
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
In office
18 July 1992 – 12 October 1993
Leader John Smith
Preceded by Donald Dewar
Succeeded by George Robertson
Member of Parliament
for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill
Coatbridge and Chryston (1997–2005)
Monklands West (1983–1997)
Coatbridge and Airdrie (1982–1983)
In office
24 June 1982 – 30 March 2015
Preceded by James Dempsey
Succeeded by Phil Boswell
Personal details
Born (1941-01-10) 10 January 1941 (age 74)
Coatbridge, United Kingdom
Political party Labour
Alma mater Scottish College of Commerce
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Official website

Thomas Clarke, CBE, JP (born 10 January 1941) is a British Labour Party politician who was a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1982 until 2015, representing Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill from 2005 until losing his seat to the SNP in the May 2015 general election.

Personal life[edit]

Clarke was born in Coatbridge and was educated at All Saints Primary School in Airdrie and St Columba High School in Coatbridge, followed by the Scottish College of Commerce in Glasgow.[1] His brother, Tony, later become a councilor for North Lanarkshire Council.[2]

Clarke has long been a strong supporter of British film making and was an Assistant Director of the Scottish Council for Education Technology and was also the President of the British Amateur Cinematographers Central Council in 1971.[3] He then became a Deputy Director of the Scottish Film Council [4] and was the organiser of the Scottish International Amateur Film Festival in 1971.[5]

In 1973 Clarke submitted his short film, "Give Us a Goal" to the amateur section of the Cannes Film Festival.[6] He is a member of the GMB and British Film Institute[7] as well as being the chairman of The Citizens Trust.[8]

Career in Local Government[edit]

Clarke's political career began at the age of 18 when he was the election agent for the Labour MP James Dempsey.[9] Aged 22 he then served as a councillor on the Coatbridge Town Council from 1964 and he became a Justice of the Peace for the Lanark area in 1972.[10] The Coatbridge Town Council was replaced with the Monklands District Council in 1974 where Clarke continued to serve Coatbridge. He then served as the Monklands Provost (Mayor) for three consecutive terms from 1974 until 1982.[1] He served as the Vice President of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities from 1976 until 1978 and served as President of the Convention from 1978 until 1980.[5]

He was awarded a CBE for services to Local Government in 1980.[11]

Career in Parliament[edit]

Clarke was selected to contest the 1982 Coatbridge and Airdrie by-election caused by the death of the sitting Labour MP James Dempsey. He won the by-election on 24 June 1982 with a majority of 10,090. Clarke became known quite quickly in parliament for his work on issues surrounding disabled people and in 1986 he sponsored the 'Disabled Persons (Services, Representation and Consultation) Act'.[12]

After the 1987 general election, Neil Kinnock appointed him Shadow Minister for Personal Social Services from 1987, in which role he served until 1992.[10] Clarke then became a member of the Shadow Cabinet of John Smith as Shadow Scottish Secretary. Clarke was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome in 1992 but has since recovered.[13] He then became the Shadow Minister for Overseas Development in 1993. Clarke left the Shadow Cabinet in 1994 and returned in 1995 to serve as Shadow Minister for the Disabled until 1997 under the leadership of Tony Blair.[10][14]

Following the 1997 general election he joined the Privy Council[15] and served as a Minister of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport with responsibility for Film and Tourism.

Clarke is the current Treasurer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Overseas Development[16] and authored the International Development (Reporting and Transparency) Act 2006, which ensures that the Secretary of State for International Development reports on what the Department for International Development spends in total on international aid and is categorised into what proportion is spent upon low-income countries, the effectiveness of current spending and the level of transparency of international aid. The Act is also used as a guide to establish the current progress upon United Nations Millennium Development Goals.[17]

He served as the Treasurer of the All Party Group on Carers from 2005 until 2010 and is the current Chair of the All Party Group on Learning Disabilities.[18]

Clarke served on the Administration Committee from 2008 until 2010. In the following parliament he was a member of the Standards and Privileges Committee and the Joint Committee reviewing the draft bill on Reform of the House of Lords.[19] In 2014 Clarke received £15,000 in damages for defamation in the Daily Mail which incorrectly claimed he was involved in the decision to reduce the amount of expenses that MP Maria Miller should repay, motivated by his own expenses claims.[20]

Whilst Clarke voted for the Civil Partnership Act, which gave same sex couples identical civil law rights that married couples have, he voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which eventually was passed with cross-party support.[21]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ "Tributes to North Lanarkshire councillor Tony Clarke". BBC News. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Scottish Screen Archive". 
  5. ^ a b "WPR - Tom Clarke MP". Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Brown, Rob (7 July 1997). "At last, a cineaste in Westminster". The Independent (London, UK). 
  7. ^ "WPR - Tom Clarke MP". 
  8. ^ Henry. "The Citizens Trust". Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill". 
  10. ^ a b c
  11. ^ "The Rt Hon Tom Clarke, CBE, MP Authorised Biography - Debrett's People of Today". 
  12. ^ The Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986 (Commencement No. 1) Order 1987, SI 1987/564 (C. 28).
  13. ^ "MPs call for action on ME". BBC News. 12 May 1999. Retrieved 12 December 2008. 
  14. ^ Davies, P. W.; MacIntyre, D. (20 October 1995). "Blair turns tables in front bench 'clearout'". The Independent (London). Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Privy Counsellors". 
  16. ^ "Executive - All Party Parliamentary Group on Overseas Development". 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "WPR - Tom Clarke MP". 
  19. ^
  20. ^ William Turvill (9 July 2014). "Daily Mail in £15k libel payout to MP wrongly implicated in expenses wrongdoing". Press Gazette. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  21. ^ George Eaton, "Labour and Lib Dem MPs who voted against gay marriage: full list", New Statesman, 06-02-2013. Last retrieved 26 August 2013.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Dempsey
Member of Parliament
for Coatbridge and Airdrie

Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament
for Monklands West

Member of Parliament
for Coatbridge and Chryston

Member of Parliament
for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill

Succeeded by
Phil Boswell
Political offices
Preceded by
Donald Dewar
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
Succeeded by
George Robertson
Preceded by
Michael Meacher
Shadow Minister for Overseas Development
Succeeded by
Joan Lestor
Title last held by
Barry Sheerman
Shadow Minister for Disabled People
Succeeded by
Angela Browning
Preceded by
Nick Hawkins
Minister of State for Film and Tourism
Succeeded by
Janet Anderson