Who is James Cleverly and what is his stance on Brexit?

JAMES Cleverly will be among the panellists on tonight’s episode of Question Time, the BBC’s flagship political debate show.

But who is he, what is his stance on Brexit, and how long has he been the Tory party chairman?

 James Cleverly will be among the panellists on tonight's episode of Question Time


James Cleverly will be among the panellists on tonight’s episode of Question TimeCredit: Reuters

Who is James Cleverly?

James Cleverly, 49, is the member of parliament for the Essex constituency of Braintree and incumbent chairman of the Conservative Party.

He is originally from Lewisham, South East London.

He has previously served as deputy chairman and as parliamentary under-secretary for Exiting the European Union.

He first became an MP at the 2015 election, having served since 2007 as a member of the London Assembly.

Before becoming an MP, he worked in magazine and online publishing, and since 1991 has also served in the Territorial Army, currently holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

He has a wife named Susannah Janet Temple Cleverly and they have two sons, Freddy and Rupert.

Asked in 2015 who should succeed David Cameron as leader of the Conservatives, he replied: “Me.”

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He briefly joined the race to replace Theresa May earlier this year.

Why did James Cleverly withdraw from the Tory leadership race?

On May 28, Cleverly put his hat on the ring to succeed Theresa May as leader of the Conservative party and prime minister, but on June 4 withdrew from the race.

Tweeting at the time, he wrote: “While I got some fantastic support from @TeamCleverly, members of the @Conservatives party and MPs, it become clear I was unlikely to get the numbers I needed to progress to the final two candidates.”

Cleverly told about his change of heart in a letter to his constituents: “Last week I let you know first that I intended to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party and as Prime Minister.

“I felt that we needed to deliver Brexit and then quickly move the conversation on to other important issues that face the country.

“I had hoped that the Conservative parliamentary party would support me to be the face and voice of that conversation.

“To do this I asked them to make a leap of faith, skip a generation and vote for a relatively new MP.”

Cleverly added: “It is clear that despite much support, particularly from our party’s grassroots, MPs weren’t comfortable with such a move and it has become clear that it is highly unlikely that I would progress to be the final two candidates.

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“For this reason I have withdrawn from the process of selecting a new leader and will not be submitting nomination papers.”

What are Mr Cleverly’s views on Brexit?

Cleverly is a long-time backer of Brexit, though has previously acknowledged that it could be a difficult process.

“I believe the case for Brexit is still valid, and I have not wavered in that belief”, he said.

“But I have never been blind to the complexities of the process and I have always been uncomfortable with those who offer artificially simple solutions.”

He has previously said that not delivering Brexit would be “significantly more damaging” than leaving the EU without a deal.

His comments were made on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on May 29.

He added that a No Deal Brexit was “not my preferred outcome”.

On the possibility of no deal, he insisted it would bring “uncertainty” and difficulty”, but would not be the end of the world.

He has also said the Tory party’s “political reputation would be damaged” if Brexit was not delivered, adding: “The idea that we revert to a pre-referendum reality [if it does not happen] is for the birds.”

 James Cleverly put his name forward to replace Theresa May on May 28, but backed out on June 4


James Cleverly put his name forward to replace Theresa May on May 28, but backed out on June 4Credit: PA:Press Association
New Question Time host Fiona Bruce gets off to confident start mocking Tory James Cleverly’s defence of government’s ‘control’ of Brexit process

View more information: https://www.the-sun.com/news/58074/who-is-james-cleverly-what-is-his-stance-on-brexit-and-how-long-has-he-been-the-tory-party-chairman/

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