Tory minister Simon Clarke resigns from government for 'personal reasons'

8 September 2020, 15:23

Simon Clarke MP has resigned from government citing personal reasons
Simon Clarke MP has resigned from government citing personal reasons. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke MP, has announced his resignation from the government citing “personal reasons”.

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Clarke said his resignation was “prompted by purely personal reasons; like all of us, I have to balance my own life against the demands of office”.

However, the MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland did not expand on what these reasons were.

Mr Clarke was appointed at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in a reshuffle in February 2020, having previously worked as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.

Number 10 announced he is to be replaced by Luke Hall MP, who was previously the Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Communities and Local Government.

As minister for regional growth and local government, Mr Clarke’s responsibilities included working with local authorities on their Covid response and with towns and cities on local growth.

He has been particularly focused on working on devolution settlements with areas in the north as part of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

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In his resignation letter, Mr Clarke thanked the prime minister for his “ambition and generosity” on the government’s regional growth agenda, “from the Towns Fund to freeposts to the further development of devolution.”

Elected as a Conservative MP in the 2017 general election, he held his seat with an increased majority last year.

The MP is an ardent Brexiter and supporter of Mr Johnson, having previously submitted a letter of no confidence in Theresa May’s leadership over her deal.

At the time he said: “I voted to leave. The people of the Tees Valley voted heavily to leave, and my views will be seen through the prism of that.

“We must leave the European Union, we must do it properly and it must be a clean Brexit.”

Leaving open the possibility of a return to the Tory front bench, he wrote: “I hope that in time, I might have the opportunity to serve in your Government again.

“Whatever the future holds, you can be assured of my deepest loyalty, affection and friendship from the backbenches.”