Tom Clarke (politician)
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Tom Clarke Politician

Tom Clarke

Minister of State for Film and Tourism

4 May 1997 - 29 July 1998
Tony Blair
Nick Hawkins
Janet Anderson
Shadow Minister for Disabled People

19 October 1995 - 4 May 1997
LeaderTony Blair
Barry Sheerman (1994)
Angela Browning
Shadow Minister for Overseas Development

21 October 1993 - 12 October 1994
LeaderJohn Smith
Margaret Beckett (Acting)
Tony Blair
Michael Meacher
Joan Lestor
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland

18 July 1992 - 12 October 1993
LeaderJohn Smith
Donald Dewar
George Robertson
Member of Parliament
for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill
Coatbridge and Chryston (1997-2005)
Monklands West (1983-1997)
Coatbridge and Airdrie (1982-1983)

24 June 1982 - 30 March 2015
James Dempsey
Phil Boswell
Personal details
Born (1941-01-10) 10 January 1941 (age 79)
Coatbridge, United Kingdom
Political partyLabour
Alma materScottish College of Commerce

Thomas Clarke, (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 Philip Boswell of the SNP in the May 2015 general election.

Personal life

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 councillor on 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

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 1975 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]

Career in Parliament

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'.[11]

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.[12] 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][13]

Following the 1997 general election he joined the Privy Council[14] and served as a Minister of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport with responsibility for Film and Tourism. He was reportedly dismissed from the role in a major government reshuffle whilst visiting the film set of Notting Hill.

Clarke was the current Treasurer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Overseas Development[15] 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.[16]

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.[17]

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.[18] 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.[19]

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.[20]


Clarke was awarded a CBE for services to Local Government in 1980.[21]

In 2016 Clarke was awarded with a Papal Knighthood and an audience with Pope Francis for his work on International Development and Disability Rights.[22]


  1. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 July 2011. Retrieved 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Tributes to North Lanarkshire councillor Tony Clarke". BBC News. 23 August 2011. Archived from the original on 2 December 2017. Retrieved 2015.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 October 2010. Retrieved 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Scottish Screen Archive".
  5. ^ a b "WPR - Tom Clarke MP". Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ Brown, Rob (7 July 1997). "At last, a cineaste in Westminster". The Independent. London, UK. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ "WPR - Tom Clarke MP". Archived from the original on 24 July 2012.
  8. ^ Henry. "The Citizens Trust". Archived from the original on 2 May 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  9. ^ "Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill". Archived from the original on 16 August 2011.
  10. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. Retrieved 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ The Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986 (Commencement No. 1) Order 1987 Archived 21 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine, SI 1987/564 (C. 28).
  12. ^ "MPs call for action on ME". BBC News. 12 May 1999. Archived from the original on 11 August 2003. Retrieved 2008.
  13. ^ Davies, P. W.; MacIntyre, D. (20 October 1995). "Blair turns tables in front bench 'clearout'". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 11 November 2012. Retrieved 2013.
  14. ^ "Privy Counsellors". Archived from the original on 21 June 2019. Retrieved 2011.
  15. ^ "Executive - All Party Parliamentary Group on Overseas Development". Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 2011.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "WPR - Tom Clarke MP". Archived from the original on 24 July 2012.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. Retrieved 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ William Turvill (9 July 2014). "Daily Mail in £15k libel payout to MP wrongly implicated in expenses wrongdoing". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  20. ^ George Eaton, "Labour and Lib Dem MPs who voted against gay marriage: full list" Archived 19 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine, New Statesman, 06-02-2013. Last retrieved 26 August 2013.
  21. ^ "The Rt Hon Tom Clarke, CBE, MP Authorised Biography - Debrett's People of Today". Archived from the original on 31 March 2012.
  22. ^ "Papal knighthood for former Labour MP". BBC News. 29 June 2016. Archived from the original on 2 July 2016. Retrieved 2018.

External links


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