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Who are potential caretaker PMs Ken Clarke and Harriet Harman?

The Conservative and Labour veterans have been mooted as candidates to lead an emergency government to block a no-deal Brexit.

Harriet Harman is tipped as a contender to lead an emergency government (Niall Carson/PA)
Harriet Harman is tipped as a contender to lead an emergency government (Niall Carson/PA)

By Sam Blewett, PA Political Correspondent

In an age of division, commanding respect across the political divides is a rarity – but this is a trait Ken Clarke and Harriet Harman are praised for.

It forms part of the reason why they have been suggested as alternatives to Jeremy Corbyn to lead an emergency government to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

They hold the titles of Mother and Father of the House as the longest continually-serving male and female MPs, but what more do we know about the touted contenders?

The Tory grandee has long-held pro-EU beliefs (Danny Lawson/PA)

Ken Clarke

The Conservative grandee earns the Father title having first been elected to Parliament in 1970 in the Nottinghamshire constituency of Rushcliffe.

He has held multiple senior cabinet roles, including chancellor under John Major and health secretary under Margaret Thatcher.

The 79-year-old has made three bids to become Conservative leader, but has failed each time in part because of his pro-EU viewpoint.

But it is this stance that has now seen him tipped as a potential caretaker prime minister to halt a no-deal under Boris Johnson.

However, he is yet to publicly comment on whether he wants the role and said in June that he is “minded” not to stand again in the next general election.

Harriet Harman

A much-liked figure, the solicitor spent eight years as Labour’s deputy leader under Gordon Brown and then Ed Miliband.

The 69-year-old was first elected as Peckham’s MP in 1982.

Under Tony Blair, she went on to become secretary of state for social security, solicitor general and the first ever minister for women.

She also twice became acting leader of her party, first following Mr Brown’s resignation in 2010 and then after Mr Miliband’s in 2015.

But Ms Harman is also yet to announce whether she would take on the role of caretaker PM.



From Belfast Telegraph