Tory titan Ken’s failed Mansfield bid

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He may be more closely associated with the Nottinghamshire area of Rushcliffe, but Conservative stalwart Kenneth Clarke, who announced his retirement from the front benches this week, cut his teeth as a parliamentary candidate in Mansfield.

Mr Clarke (second left), who has stepped aside in PM David Cameron’s reshuffle this week after four years in the Coalition Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, is pictured unsuccessfully contesting the Mansfield seat in 1964.

The cricket-loving and cigar-chomping legal eagle, who studied at Nottingham High School and Cambridge University and later became a QC, failed again to secure the safe Labour seat in 1966.

He was eventually elected to Parliament in 1970 as MP for Rushcliffe and has sat on every Conservative cabinet since 1972.

Speaking about his decision to step down, the Tory titan said he had been ‘demob-happy’ for several weeks and had been enjoying catching up with the cricket.