Ken Clarke bags a record £430,000 deal to write his memoirs

Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke CH QC MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer (1993-1997)
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Book may have reference to Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron governments 

Former Tory Cabinet minister Ken Clarke is believed to have been handed a record £430,000 to write his memoirs.

He had served in cabinet governments spanning three decades – serving as Health Secretary under Margaret Thatcher, Chancellor under John Major and Justice Secretary under David Cameron.

Opinion polls had signalled that he was always more popular with the public than with his party, with his pro-EU views and his more liberal, left-wing stance out of sync with the rest of the Conservative party.

The book deal is believed to be the largest sum offered to a politician who did not serve as Prime Minister.

Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke CH QC MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer (1993-1997)
Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke CH QC MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer (1993-1997)

Mr Clarke is said to have confirmed that he was writing the book – titled Kind of Blue, named after one of his jazz heroes, Miles Davis.

Mr Clarke, 75, is the fifth longest-serving Cabinet minister in UK political history and has written more than 100,000 words towards the final book, which will be published by winning bidder Macmillan.

Draft chapters read by a publisher who failed to sign Mr Clarke is said to have compared his writing to American novelist F Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby.

Asked about the deal for his memoirs on Sky News, Mr Clarke had said, ‘I am being bullied by people who used to work for me, very nice people who used to work for me, into putting some of my memories of political decisions onto paper. I haven’t produced the book yet but I gather somebody has told the newspapers that this great work is on the way.”

Mr Clarke stood for Tory leader three times in his 45-year career as an MP but failed on all three occasions in 1997, 2001 and 2005.