Charles Clarke In-Conversation Series - Spring 2015 Charles Clarke In-Conversation Series - Spring 2015

Charles Clarke In-Conversation Series - Spring 2015

School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies


At a time when politics and politicians are generally held in low regard, Charles Clarke will be discussing with a series of senior invited guests why this is, what took them into politics, why they think that politics matters, what they think they have achieved in politics, what needs to change in the way politics is done in Britain and what can be done to improve politics and excite more people in the process.

''We believe that a conversation around these issues has particular significance in light of the May 2014 European Parliament elections and a few months before one of the most uncertain General Elections in recent history. We intend the conversations to address these matters seriously, to get underneath political slogans and to avoid the routine exchanges of adversarial politics." – The Right Honourable Charles Clarke


Where: Thomas Paine Lecture Theatre, University of East Anglia

Time: 6.30pm

Entry: All are welcome. Free to attend.

For more information:

Download: Flyer [PDF]


Date of Event: Thursday 15 January 2015

Guest: Natalie Bennett

About guest: Natalie Bennett is the Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, a post to which she was elected in September 2012. She founded the Green Party Women’s Group and is a trustee of the Fawcett Society, Britain's pre-eminent women's issues group.

Before entering the Green Party Leadership election she won, Natalie was editor of Guardian Weekly from December 2007 – March 2012, and had previously worked as a reporter for the Independent, the Telegraph, and the Times of London, as well as chief foreign sub-editor of the Bangkok Post.

She has an academic background in agricultural science, and has worked as a UN consultant on women's and children's rights.



Date of Event: Thursday 22 January 2015

Guest: Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP

About guest: Harriet Harman QC MP is Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and has served as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party since 2007 and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport since October 2011. She is also Chair of the Labour Party.

Having obtained a degree in Politics from York University, Harriet qualified as a solicitor. Her first job as a solicitor was at Brent Law Centre in 1974. When Labour entered government in 1997, Harriet was appointed Secretary of State for Social Security and Minister for Women. She introduced the Minimum Income Guarantee and the National Childcare Strategy. In 2001, Harriet was appointed Solicitor General and led a drive within Government to make tackling domestic violence a priority. After the 2005 General Election, Harriet was appointed Minister for Justice at the Department for Constitutional Affairs. She also served in Government as Leader of the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Equalities and Minister for Women, where she brought forward the Equality Bill, now the Equality Act.

Prior to her appointment as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport she served as Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. Harriet has represented the diverse inner-city constituency of Camberwell and Peckham in the London Borough of Southwark since 1982.


Date of Event: Thursday 29 January 2015

Guest: Brandon Lewis MP

About guest: Brandon was elected as Member of Parliament by the people of Great Yarmouth in May 2010.  He took the seat from the Labour Party with a swing of 8.7% and holds a majority of 4,276. In September 2012, Brandon was asked by the Prime Minister to take up the role of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government.  In this position, Brandon had responsibility for local councils up and down the country, as well as public houses and fire services.
In July 2014, Brandon became Minister of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government with responsibility for Housing and Planning.

Professionally, Brandon originally qualified as a barrister and has a BSc Economics and LLB Hons (Law) from the University of Buckingham and an LLM in Commercial Law from King’s College London. In 2014, Brandon was elected to the Council of the University of Buckingham.


Date of Event: Thursday 12 February 2015

Guest: Richard Wilson (Lord Wilson of Dinton GCB)

About guest: Richard Wilson entered the Civil Service in 1966 and served in a number of departments including 12 years in the Department of Energy where his responsibilities included energy policy, nuclear power policy and privatising Britoil.

 He worked in the Cabinet Office under Mrs Thatcher from 1987-90 and after two years in the Treasury was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Department of the Environment in 1992.  He became Permanent Under Secretary of the Home Office in 1994 and Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service in January 1998. 

He became Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 2002 and served in that position for ten years.  He has held positions in a number of private sector and charitable bodies including the Ewing Foundation, the Cicely Saunders Institute for Palliative Care and the Cambridge Film Trust as well as being chairman of the Friends of Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge. He is married to Caro and they have two grown-up children, Tom and Amy, and a grandchild, Owen.


Date of Event: Thursday 19 February 2015

Guest: Douglas Carswell MP

About guest: MP for Clacton, UK Independence Party