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Ken Clarke: 'Farage knew he couldn't win Newark'

Nigel Farage decided not to stand in the Newark by-election, as he knew he could not win, according to Conservative Cabinet minister Ken Clarke.

Conservative Cabinet minister Ken Clarke. Credit: Press Association

"I am not really surprised. Whatever else Nigel is, he is not an idiot and I don't think he'd have the faintest chance of winning in Newark," he told the BBC.

Earlier the Ukip leader said: "I don't have any links with the East Midlands, I would just look like an opportunist and I don't think that would work."

But he added: "We will fight the Newark by-election and fight it damned hard and get a good local candidate.

MP calls for independent inquiry into torture claims

A senior Conservative MP has said "it is truly shocking" that Britain helped the United States to kidnap and torture British detainees, as he warned that the Government would come to regret its decision not to allow an independent judge-led inquiry to run its course.

Andrew Tyrie said today's confirmation by Cabinet Office minister Ken Clarke that the investigation would instead be handed over to Parliament's controversial Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) was "a mistake".

It is truly shocking that Britain has facilitated kidnap and torture. And the decision to end, to abandon this judge-led inquiry will, I think, come to be seen as a mistake.

What confidence can the public have in their conclusions when that same body wrongly concluded that Britain was not involved in 2007 only to be flatly contradicted by a High Court written ruling the following year?


Ken Clarke to appear on The Agenda tonight

Conservative Minister Ken Clarke will appear on The Agenda tonight. Credit: PA

Conservative minister Ken Clarke will join ITV News Political Editor Tom Brady on The Agenda tonight.

Former BBC Economics Editor turned JP Morgan strategist Stephanie Flanders, FA director Heather Rabbatts and TV and radio presenter Terry Christian will also be on the panel.

The Agenda with Tom Bradby is on ITV at 10.35pm.

Join in the debate on Twitter using the hashtag #TheAgenda.

Mandelson: Business and security at risk if UK leaves EU

Lord Mandelson served as Trade Commissioner to the EU for four years and was Business Secretary between 2009 and 2010. Credit: PA

Former Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said: "If Britain quit the EU, amongst the losers would be businesses foregoing trade and investment opportunities, their employees whose jobs and workplace rights would be at risk, the police and security agencies who would sacrifice vital collaboration."

"The British people would lose the freedom to travel, live and work as they wish across Europe," he continued.

"In return we would get the dubious satisfaction of standing alone in the world."

Lib Dem minister warns against 'reckless isolationists'

Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander is Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Credit: PA

Treasury minister Danny Alexander said the EU was "one of the central pillars of British prosperity and security".

"Membership of the EU gives market access to British firms, makes us more attractive to overseas investors, and underpins more than three million British jobs," he said.

"EU trade deals with the US, India, Canada and Japan will be worth billions to the UK economy but could not be won by the UK alone."

"Britain must work with our allies for change from within to ensure the EU continues to take reform seriously.

"The isolationists are reckless with our prosperity and security. We cannot let them succeed."

Ken Clarke backs campaign to keep UK in EU

Ken Clarke was Justice Secretary from 2010 to 2012. Since then he has been Minister without Porftolio. Credit: PA

Conservative minister Ken Clarke has joined forces with Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander and Labour's Lord Mandelson to warn that leaving the EU would be an "historical error".

The politicians insisted the UK should work to reform the organisation from within rather than walking away.

Mr Clarke, regarded as the sole Conservative europhile in the Cabinet, said: "David Cameron has already shown what can be achieved in Europe through strong, determined leadership.

"We earn our living in a globalised economy and a world in which nations are interdependent in tackling global and regional problems.

"We can help to promote our own interests best by reinforcing our role as a leading nation in the EU."


Ken Clarke: Tories need to move on and focus

Ken Clarke MP Credit: ITV News

The former chancellor Ken Clarke has told ITV News that the party needs to 'move on and focus on the result of the referendum'.

The Minister without Portfolio said that the draft legislation being bought out by his party 'underlined the commitment that David Cameron was making to holding a referendum'.

He added that the most 'important thing is to make sure we get the right result from a referendum that's held to avoid the catastrophe to the countries economy and our political standing in the world. If we were to be so very very reckless as to leave the European Union.'

Clarke does not believe it's possible to repay benefits

Conservative Cabinet minister Ken Clarke said he does not believe it is possible to return money to the Government after Iain Duncan Smith urged wealthy pensioners to hand their benefits back.

Mr Clarke, 72, refused to say whether he returned the universal benefits he is entitled to.

Cabinet minister Ken Clarke, 72, refused to say whether he turned his universal benefits/ Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Speaking on Sky News' Murnaghan programme, Mr Clarke said, "It is certainly the case when it comes to a bus pass and when it comes to the winter fuel all taxpayers should decide and recipients should decide what to do with it themselves".

"You can't hand it back to the Government. I don't think it is a system for doing that. Every pensioner and retired person like myself has to make up their own mind about whether they really need it and whether they are going to give it to some worthwhile cause", he continued.

"No doubt most pensioners who are reasonably prosperous give quite a lot of money to charity and worthwhile causes in any event".

Backroom dealing before Falklands revealed

Until now the backroom deliberations within the Conservative party over the Falklands have remained largely private but the notes are among those released by the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust as it opens its files from a year which came to define Lady Thatcher's career.

They range from Ken Clarke, then a junior minister, arguing to "blow up a few ships but nothing more" to West Devon MP Peter Mills who warned "my constituents want blood".

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pictured in 1982 Credit: PA/PA Wire

On April 6, four days after the incursion, the Chief Whip, Michael Jopling, prepared a note for the Prime Minister saying: "You may like to have general re-action to events in the Falkland Islands."

Clarke attacks independent Scotland oil forecast

Former chancellor Ken Clarke made his comments in Edinburgh. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Former chancellor Ken Clarke has warned of the dangers of an economy based on oil revenues, as he attacked the SNP's predictions of a post-independence referendum North Sea boom.

Speaking in Edinburgh, Mr Clarke issued advice to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Finance Secretary John Swinney not to "bet the ranch" on figures "pulled from the air".

Mr Clarke, UK Minister without Portfolio, said, "If we were to have an independent Scotland, it is not the case that it would not somehow have to face up to the consequences of economic crisis".

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